Nov 26, 2015

Dracula - Bram Stoker

The terrifying story of the most famous vampire of all time, and the most representative work of Dark literature. Dracula tells us about the macabre intentions of the Count to hold Mina prisoner and keep her for his own at any price; and the obstinate struggle undertaken by Jonathan (Mina’s fiancé and later husband) and his friends to take her away and save her from a demonic existence.

Written by Irish Bram Stoker in 1897, this is a new edition of 2012.

My score:

The novel of which many movies have been based on and so many other stories have been inspired by; has won us all over with its style for decades. The plot sparked my curiosity and I wanted to read the original work and get to know in what terms and manner was written by the author.

No doubt the book was beautifully written and the author spares no epithets to describe every scene and the surrounding events. The temper of each character is clearly defined and the plot introduces the European Society of XIX century, its manners and customs. Take it literally, because... before starting this enterprise it’s necessary to keep in mind these characteristics and consider that the story was written for 1800s audience. Hence, some major changes have been carried out when portraying our desirable vampire on the screen, with the purpose of adapting the argument and plot to the new generations’ expectations.

I think it is important to clear this up because it was pretty much that what happened to me while reading this book. Being as influenced as I am by my own generation with vampires such as Lestat and Louis (of Anne Rice’s stories) for instance, I simply screwed the whole thing up in my mind.

Vampires as we know them today are well-groomed individuals with dark hair, fair skin and red lips. Plus the irresistible charm that they exert on their victims who readily agree to accompany them wherever they go; it frankly turns them into fascinating chavaliers errants. And this was exactly what I expected to find in the original work of Bram Stoker, some kind of Interview with the Vampire type of thing. 

But, guess what... nothing could have been further from that idyllic concept than this. Mr. Stoker in his work  introduces a very different character that actually has little or nothing to do with the role played by Gary Oldman sort of vampire; instead we find a character that completely lacks the power of captivating his preys and make them obediently cooperate with his devilish demands. Here we have a nasty man with a very poor appearance, like the prominent bird profile, and above all, stinky breath coming out of his mouth (yuck!). Consequently he has no other option than obliging his victims and take them by force since they are not naturally whatsoever willing to be taken away. Such a disappointment from my point of view.

In the encounter with Mina, or should I say the assault to Mina, such a brutal attack is described, that can only be compared to a sexual assault. Where is that internal struggle the victim is usually subjected to and aware of the fact that they shouldn’t give in they actually want it?

Regarding the discourse, it could sound rather over affected and exaggerated nowadays; in fact, it reminded me of the formality that is obstinately resorted to in Romeo and Juliet. The excessive diplomacy characters habitually address one another, turns the dialogue into an artificial dissertation lacking the spontaneity we’re used to.

On the other hand though, I found Beatriz Martín Vidal’s illustrations quite impressive. In my opinion, the pictures constitute the most catching element of this edition. Gothic drawings in which red and black (and some sepphia) predominate; they fully harmonize with the ordinary perception we have of vampires today.

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