Dracula by Bram Stoker

Dracula

You can find an alternative cover edition for this ISBN here and here.A rich selection of background and source materials is provided in three areas: Contexts includes probable inspirations for Dracula in the earlier works of James Malcolm Rymer and Emily Gerard. Also included are a discussion of Stoker's working notes for the novel and "Dracula's Guest," the original open...

Title:Dracula
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0393970124
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:488 pages

Dracula Reviews

  • Martine

    'Welcome to my house. Come freely. Go safely. And leave something of the happiness you bring!'

    These are pretty much the first words spoken to Jonathan Harker, one of the heroes of Bram Stoker's

    , upon his arrival at Count Dracula's castle in Transylvania, just minutes after a nightmare journey through the landscape of gothic horror: darkness, howling wolves, flames erupting out of the blue, frightened horses. Within a few days of his arrival, Harker will find himself talking of the Count'

    'Welcome to my house. Come freely. Go safely. And leave something of the happiness you bring!'

    These are pretty much the first words spoken to Jonathan Harker, one of the heroes of Bram Stoker's

    , upon his arrival at Count Dracula's castle in Transylvania, just minutes after a nightmare journey through the landscape of gothic horror: darkness, howling wolves, flames erupting out of the blue, frightened horses. Within a few days of his arrival, Harker will find himself talking of the Count's 'wickedly blazing eyes' and 'new schemes of villainy' and have some hair-raising encounters with the man who is now the world's most famous vampire: 'The last I saw of Count Dracula was his kissing his hand to me, with a red light of triumph in his eyes, and with a smile that Judas in hell might be proud of.' Several adventures involving sharp teeth, mirrors, garlic, crucifixes, bloody-mouthed corpses and big stakes will ensue.

    The above quotations should make it abundantly clear what kind of book

    is. It's sensation fiction, written nearly half a century after the heyday of that genre. It's a cross between an epistolary novel, a detective novel and a save-my-wife story, and it's full of scares, horror and disgust, all described in a lurid tone that befits the subject: the living dead. Or the Un-Dead, as the book's other hero, my countryman Van Helsing, calls them.

    Sadly, Van Helsing is one of my main problems with the book. While I love his heroism, his 'Let's-do-it' attitude and his unceasing struggle for Mina's soul, I find him entirely unconvincing as a Dutchman. I wish to God (with a crucifix and everything!) that I could switch off my inner linguist and appreciate the story for its narrative qualities rather than its linguistic aspects, but Stoker has Van Helsing indulge in so many linguistic improbabilities ('Are you of belief now, friend John?') that it quite took me out of the story, again and again and again. I'm aware this is not a problem that will bother many readers, but I for one dearly wish Stoker had listened to some actual Dutchmen before making the hero of his story one. Then perhaps he also would have refrained from making the poor man mutter German whenever he is supposed to speak his mother tongue. ('Mein Gott' is

    , Mr Stoker. I mean,

    .)

    Linguistic inaccuracies aside (there are many in the book),

    has a few more problems. For one thing, the bad guy doesn't make enough appearances. Whenever Stoker focuses on Dracula, the story comes alive -- menace drips off the pages, and the reader finds himself alternately shivering with excitement and recoiling in horror. However, when Dracula is not around (which is most of the second half of the book), the story loses power, to the point where the second half of the book is actually quite dull. In addition, the story seems a little random and unfocused. Remember the 1992 film, in which Dracula obsesses about Mina Harker (Jonathan's wife) because she is his long-lost wife reincarnated? That conceit had grandeur, romance, passion, tragedy. And what was more, it made sense. It explained why Dracula comes all the way from Transylvania to England to find Mina, and why he wants to make her his bride despite the fact that she is being protected by people who clearly want him dead. In the book, however, Mina is merely Jonathan's wife (no reincarnation involved), a random lady Dracula has sunk his teeth into, and while this entitles her to some sympathy, it lacks the grand romantic quality the film had. I guess it's unfair to blame an author for not thinking of an improvement film-makers later made to his story, but I think Stoker rather missed an opportunity there.

    And then there's the fact that Stoker seems to be an early proponent of the Robert Jordan School of Writing, meaning he takes an awful lot of time setting the scene, only to end the book on a whimper. The ending to

    is so anticlimactic it's rather baffling. Did Stoker run out of paper and ink? Did he want to finish the story before Dracula's brides came and got him? I guess we'll never know.

    Still, despite its many flaws

    is an exciting read (well, the first half is, anyway), and Stoker undeniably left a legacy that will last for centuries to come. In that respect,

    deserves all the praise that has been heaped on it. I still think it could have been better, though. Much better.

  •  Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)

    I highly recommend reading this to any fans of the vampire genre. It is a commitment and investment for the reader, but it is worthwhile. While Dracula is not the 1st vampire novel/story, it has firmly established many of the conventions of the vampire genre. I must say that no movie version I have watched does this justice. Bram Stoker's Dracula might have been a somewhat faithful rendition, but it took unforgivable liberties with the relationship between Mina and Dracula, and downplayed the de

    I highly recommend reading this to any fans of the vampire genre. It is a commitment and investment for the reader, but it is worthwhile. While Dracula is not the 1st vampire novel/story, it has firmly established many of the conventions of the vampire genre. I must say that no movie version I have watched does this justice. Bram Stoker's Dracula might have been a somewhat faithful rendition, but it took unforgivable liberties with the relationship between Mina and Dracula, and downplayed the deep, abiding love between Mina and Jonathan. In addition, it portrayed Dracula as a seductive, lovelorn and sympathetic character. He is none of these. Dracula is a complete and utter fiend. He is unrelenting evil, and I spent this whole book waiting for him to get what he deserved.

    I love the use of letters and correspondence to tell the story. It added an authenticity to this story by revealing the narrative through written details of events. One would think that this would create a distance between the reader and the story, but strangely it does not. Instead it infuses the story with a human element, as we see things unfold through the eyes of the humans who witnessed everything. In addition, the diary entries from Jonathan Harker, Mina Murray (soon to be Harker), Lucy Westenra, and John Seward show the emotional impact of the characters to the horror of Dracula.

    Dracula is very much a Victorian work. It is clear what the mores were at that time in reading this story. It is also evident how society is changing as time speeds towards the 20th Century (this book was published in 1896). The attitudes towards women as sweet, beloved creatures who should be loved and adored is very much in evidence. However, Mr. Stoker took the time to show that Mina has a powerful role and usefulness beyond what was expected of her as a woman of her times. In fact, she plays a very pivotal role in this story. Because of the connection between Dracula and herself, she cannot be relegated to a second class citizen in this story. In addition, her view of the situation shows much about how Dracula managed to wreak his reign of terror over poor Lucy and how devastated Jonathan was from his early encounter with Dracula. Mina turns out to be a real heroine in this story. She is very resourceful, and her methods are a great help in the process of understanding what Dracula is, and tracking him down. I felt for her when she was under his thrall, because her love for Jonathan was true, as well as her abhorrence of the evil of Dracula and how it had affected her. Those scenes added a psychological component to the horror element in this book.

    This book is not a thrill a minute book. It might be a horror story, but it's also a crime novel, in that the group composed of Drs. Van Helsing and Seward, Jonathan and Mina Harker, Quincy Morris, and Arthur Holmwood spend much time trying to track and defeat their prey, Dracula. Readers should approach this story with this in mind. There are some moments that are truly unnerving and scary, all the same, but they are used with good effect. I would be reading right along, and then something really scary would happen all of a sudden. When my heart rate went back to normal and I fell back into the procedural-type narrative, another creepy moment would occur. Thus, my investment of diligent reading paid off, for those scary moments were quite suspenseful.

    Readers should also be aware that the characters tend to be along sentimental lines. They are good, decent people. They cry and feel sorrow. The men might be brave, but they are not afraid to break down and sob out their anguish. I admired each of the protagonists that I was supposed to admire: Mina, Jonathan, John/Jack Seward, Van Helsing, Arthur, Quincy, and the poor, unfortunate Lucy. Each of them invest their heart and life into tracking and destroying the beast. This might strike a modern reader as being too good to be true. But in the historical context, I didn't have trouble with it. I might expect different characterizations for a modern vampire novel.

    I found that issues that I had with the recent movie adaptations of Dracula did not exist in this novel. Mina is not played as the good, innocent foil for the sexually adventurous and slightly wanton Lucy. Lucy is a sweet girl who was preyed on and destroyed by Dracula. Mina is not a fickle woman who would abandon her true love for the seductive wiles of the vampire Dracula. That always bothered me about the movies. I didn't see why poor Lucy was deserving of what happened to her. Even if she had been a wanton, I couldn't say she deserved her demise at Dracula's hands. Reading about her decline, death and resurgence as a vampire was extremely difficult, not to mention the effect it had on the loved ones she left behind. Additionally, I dislike how throwaway the love that Mina had for Jonathan is portrayed in the movies. I'm glad it was not this way in the book.

    Renfield is a character who has been played for laughs in many of the Dracula adaptations and knockoffs. In the original novel, he is a character to be pitied. He was seduced by Dracula, subsequently losing his reason. There are glimpses of his formerly formidable intellect and sanity, as well as a sense of right and wrong that shone through, causing me to feel sorry for him. Particularly when he warns Seward not to keep him in the Asylum. If only Seward had listened.

    Drs. Seward and Van Helsing are physicians and men of science with profound respect for each other, but who tend to look at situations differently. Dr. Seward is very much a rationalist. He tries to approach Lucy's strange illness from a completely scientific perspective, yet Dr. Van Helsing is a learned man who is trained in modern medical science (as well as a pioneer in medicine), but gives credence toward the ancient beliefs, and whose knowledge is shored up by his faith in God. The struggle that Seward faces in having to accept that Lucy's demise is due to a powerful supernatural entity is evident as we read his journal entries. Van Helsing is seen through the descriptions of the diary entries of Mina, Jonathan, and Seward. I found Van Helsing quite the character. Without a doubt, he's my favorite in this book, although I found some of his lines hard to read because of the fact that it is written as though English was his second language (which it was). He is a man of compassion, although with a tendency towards bluntness. I like that he's able to think his way out of difficult situations, but also relies on faith against his demonic enemy.

    The movies tend to emasculate Jonathan, but he is a very strong character to have survived his imprisionment in Dracula's castle, with his body and his sanity intact. His conviction to protect Mina at all costs, despite knowing the depths of the power of his enemy speaks to me. He might not be a he-man, but he is definitely a worthy man mate for Mina.

    Arthur Holmwood is a noble, yet he is not protrayed as a prig. He is very down to earth, and willing to do his part to destroy Dracula and to see justice done for his beloved Lucy. I admit I tended to picture Cary Elwes (an old crush of mine who played Holmwood in Bram Stoker's Dracula) about 50% of the time. He definitely rose to the occasion, despite the seemingly insane ravings of Van Helsing about Un-dead creatures, and the need to drive a stake through the heart and cut off the head of his beloved.

    Quincy Morris embodies the Texan spirit in the very best of ways. His devotion to Lucy and later Mina causes him to risk his life in the struggle against Dracula.

    Don't look for a sexy creature of the night in this book. Dracula is a horrid, evil beast. When he meets his demise, I didn't feel one iota of sympathy. I was cheering instead. It's refreshing to read about evil vamps without any charisma for once (and this from a paranormal romance fanatic).

    This book is a delicious work to have read. I'm glad I attempted it when I could fully appreciate its genius. I freely admit when I read it in high school, I wasn't ready for it. It took me the better part of the week, but I found myself eager to keep reading, despite the somewhat antiquated language. I wanted to see how things would unfold. You might think, "Well Dracula is old hat. I've seen many vampire movies. It's all the same." I'd tell you, not so. You should read this book if you're a vampire fan. You will find a resonance that is lacking in most of the modern vampire fare, with its classic setting, genuine characters, and the tangible essence of the unearthly evil of the vampire. And to think that Stoker wasn't quite as glutted on the rich milk of the vampire legends as us modern vamp fans are. Maybe that's why this book felt so authentic to me.

  • Mike (the Paladin)

    I believe this may be the edition I read "first". This is an amazing book. I've read reviews by those who disagree and reviews by those who hated the format. But I was swept up in it the first time I read it as a teen and have been every time since.

    My advice is don't worry about all the psychological baggage that has been tacked on over the years...and please don't confuse the movie "Bram Stoker's Dracula" with the actual plot, story, and characters in the book. It doesn't remotely resemble the

    I believe this may be the edition I read "first". This is an amazing book. I've read reviews by those who disagree and reviews by those who hated the format. But I was swept up in it the first time I read it as a teen and have been every time since.

    My advice is don't worry about all the psychological baggage that has been tacked on over the years...and please don't confuse the movie "Bram Stoker's Dracula" with the actual plot, story, and characters in the book. It doesn't remotely resemble the book and the title has galled me since that movie came out. The book is far, far better.

    I believe it's worth noting that a lot of the psychological baggage that has been attached to this volume probably tells you more about the ones attaching it than the book.

    This book creates a horror atmosphere that has been copied constantly over the years but never quite captured again. You'll be experiencing with Harker the castle and what he faces there. Battling the Count in England...and the terror of the ship's crew that carried his earth boxes across the sea, all will stay with you. Again let me urge you no matter how well any movie has been done, if the movie Dracula is the only one you know, you haven't met the proto-vampire who resides in this book. He/it still walks through literature and even more in the dark fears that lurk in the back of our minds when we're alone on a stormy night or we have to walk alone past that old rundown graveyard (not cemetery) where the city has never gotten around to installing those street lights.

    This isn't Twilight, nor is it Buffy the vampire Slayer, there aren't any friendly, helpful, romantic vampires here. (None sparkle either) There is quite probably a reason (or maybe more than one) why we wish so badly to laugh at this book. It does what it does very, very well...and that's be frightening.

    This book is a classic that has been around for over a hundred years..there's a reason for that.

    "We" just read this in the Supernatural Readers group...and I still like it. LOL

  • Jonathan

    Dracula: the very name instantly brings to mind visions of vampires, stakes, garlic and crucifixes. But when one bothers to read the novel they may realise how twisted modern vampire fiction has become.

    Vampires are not meant to exist as heroes. Go back a few hundred years and men believed truly that the vampire was a real immortal, cursed to quench his undying thirst with a living mortal’s blood. The very idea of a blood drinker inspires the very image of a villain to the mind. And that is what

    Dracula: the very name instantly brings to mind visions of vampires, stakes, garlic and crucifixes. But when one bothers to read the novel they may realise how twisted modern vampire fiction has become.

    Vampires are not meant to exist as heroes. Go back a few hundred years and men believed truly that the vampire was a real immortal, cursed to quench his undying thirst with a living mortal’s blood. The very idea of a blood drinker inspires the very image of a villain to the mind. And that is what the titular character of this novel is.

    The word novel is not used lightly, but one could also write that this is a collaboration of journals, letters and papers. For that is how Bram Stoker chose to fashion his famous novel (in epistolary form). And the different viewpoints through each journal serve to create suspense which suits the gothic tone of the novel perfectly.

    In all it is a macabre novel that serves to make the reader reflect upon good and evil. The vampire to me is nothing more than an indication of man’s own cursed nature and that unless he is delivered he must suck life from others around him. Ultimately only the righteous can destroy the darkness that serves to drain life.

    The Rest of this Review has been moved to my new site:

    . Visit my site to read the remainder of the review and any new reviews.

  • Bookdragon Sean

    is, of course, one of the most renowned horror stories, and the most well-known vampire novel. Bram Stoker set the ground rules for what a vampire should be, and set the benchmark for all other writers of the vampire afterwards. Indeed, if tyrannical villains are a necessity of Gothic fiction then Count Dracula is the father of all gothic villains, in spite of it being one of the last Gothic fiction novels to be written. It’s a work of genius that his presence is felt so strongly in the

    is, of course, one of the most renowned horror stories, and the most well-known vampire novel. Bram Stoker set the ground rules for what a vampire should be, and set the benchmark for all other writers of the vampire afterwards. Indeed, if tyrannical villains are a necessity of Gothic fiction then Count Dracula is the father of all gothic villains, in spite of it being one of the last Gothic fiction novels to be written. It’s a work of genius that his presence is felt so strongly in the novel with him appearing in the flesh so rarely.

    The atmosphere of the novel is unmistakably gothic. It is impossible to talk about

    without mentioning the Gothic; the two are one and the same. The decaying castle in which the book begins is testimony to the eeriness that follows. The "damsel in distress" motif appears quite often in Gothic literature, and none so much as

    . Mina and Lucy are both damsels at some point, and even Harker himself can be seen as one at the start when he is rescued by his wife that has a “man’s brain.” It’s quite a subversion of the standard gender roles, at this point, and quite funny really.

    On initial inspection the plot of the book can be summed up in a few short sentences: Dracula wishes to create more vampires in Victorian London; his attempts are thwarted and he and his kind are exterminated. But, the novel is so much more than that. It represents Victorian fears and fancies; it is a comment on women’s position in society and underpins their sexual desires (and perhaps fears.) It suggests a struggle between modernity and science with religion and superstition. It harbours the effect of Darwinian thought on man as Dracula himself represent the idea of “survival of the fittest.” The undertones of sexuality and disease that occur so frequently symbolise the time in which it was written. Each one of these has been a topic for commentaries on Dracula, and academic essays.

    Indeed, the extrinsic value of this novel is incredibly high. Bram Stoker also explores the theme of sanity with many of his characters, not just Renfield. At some point, every character wonders whether their dealings with the Count are born from some mental deficiency rather than a paranormal encountering with the villain. This clashes the Victorian realism view with the paranormal events that occur in the novel. There are also issues of identity, and how this is affected by transgression. It can further be seen as an allegory for religious redemption and a comment on colonisation.

    I think I’ve said enough; if I say anything else I will break my “500 words a review” rule. As you can probably tell I’m quite passionate about this book: it is brilliant; at this point, I can honestly say that Dracula is one of my favourite novels of all time: I just love it. I might even write my dissertation on it and Gothic Literature.

    Dracula rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Catriona (LittleBookOwl)

    Managed to finish this :) Second time studying, but first successful read-through.

    I enjoyed it more this time around, mainly because I actually read the last quarter or so of the book, which was the most enjoyable in my opinion.

  • Sarah Actually

    Here are some thoughts on this book.

    1. I would have been all OVER this in 1897.

    2. I would like Van Helsing to be quiet.

    3. I can suspend disbelief for the vampires but not for the blood transfusions

    4. I know it was 1897 and blood types weren't discovered until 1901 (according to my very in depth research) (wikipedia) but I still cannot get past it

    5. The Texan would go outside and just randomly shoot things for fun, including things sitting on windowsills of windows in rooms where live people are

    Here are some thoughts on this book.

    1. I would have been all OVER this in 1897.

    2. I would like Van Helsing to be quiet.

    3. I can suspend disbelief for the vampires but not for the blood transfusions

    4. I know it was 1897 and blood types weren't discovered until 1901 (according to my very in depth research) (wikipedia) but I still cannot get past it

    5. The Texan would go outside and just randomly shoot things for fun, including things sitting on windowsills of windows in rooms where live people are hanging out, so he was clearly the most realistic character

    6. VAN HELSING. SHUT UP.

    7. Oh cool, another chapter from Mina's POV finally - oh nope it's just Van Helsing talking to her the whole time

    8. This book is called "Dracula" but it should have been called "Dracula Lite" because he was barely in it after the hilarious first few chapters where Jonathan is complaining about his bad breath

    9. Why can Dracula control wolves?????????????? Someone explain this to me

    10. I want a book about Dracula's sister wives

    11. I'm pretty sure I can still hear Van Helsing rambling about something off in the distance

    12. The men in this book were 1000 times more dramatic and emotional than the women which was amazing

    13. For real Jonathan was crying and groaning all over the place and Mina would just look at him like "...ok."

    14. Mina is a boss

    15. THAT'S NOT HOW BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS WORK. IS SHE A UNIVERSAL RECIPIENT???? YOU DON'T KNOW!!!! OMG.

    EDIT, JULY 2, 2017: Hello there! Thank you for reading my review of the book, DRACULA (Paperback) by Bram Stoker, which I posted on this website, good reads dot com, two years ago when I read this book and still remembered things about it. It is now 2017, and all I remember at this point in my life is that in this book there is a guy named Van Helsing who talks very much, and sometimes there's a vampire named Dracula who has bad breath. I can only assume that is why everybody hated him so much.

    If you feel the urge to leave me any type of comment about what I said two years ago about the blood transfusions, please take a quick moment to check if your "well, actually" mansplaination re: this series of jokes has already been posted by someone else. I have received many of these already, and I would not want you to waste your valuable time repeating someone else's very helpful and insightful comment!

    If your comment is something like, "you are stupid for thinking wikipedia is reliable," I greatly appreciate you informing me of this. I definitely included that thing about wikipedia as a sarcastic joke about how little research I did on this topic, but it is still nice to be reminded that the people who read my good reads dot com reviews are so very, very smart, so much smarter than me, and so extremely helpful, and definitely understand my sense of humor.

    In conclusion, thank you for reading my review of the book Dracula on good reads dot com!

  • Ana

    4.5 Bloodsucking Stars!

    I’m not a big scary book fan, but I have been known to read some spooky stuff. Two books that I found most terrifying were Peter Straub's 'Ghost Story,' which is also one of my all-time favorites, and Stephen King's 'Different Seasons.' Ok the last one isn't that scary but it's my favorite Stephen K

    4.5 Bloodsucking Stars!

    I’m not a big scary book fan, but I have been known to read some spooky stuff. Two books that I found most terrifying were Peter Straub's 'Ghost Story,' which is also one of my all-time favorites, and Stephen King's 'Different Seasons.' Ok the last one isn't that scary but it's my favorite Stephen King book and I had to mention it.

    I can now claim to have finally read Dracula! It has always shamed me that I never read it but called myself a book lover and so I decided I would finally give it a try.

    I half expected Count Dracula to sparkle in the sun. But then I remembered this isn't Twilight.

    Vampires. They're everywhere, you know. They can be found in the folklore of virtually every culture in the world. There have been countless books, movies, television series and fanfiction on vampire phenomenon, yet we just can't seem to get enough of them.

    Bram Stoker's Dracula has some of the darkest characters and plot lines I've ever read. The world he has created is at the same time unique and spell-binding.

    I dare you to find me a vampire more badass than this guy-

    He is a fascinating character full of contradictions.

    Dracula is a complete monster, yet I couldn't help but feel sorry for him. His fall is tragic and wrenching, but it draws you in and makes you want to root for him even when he’s doing horrible things.

    Gary Oldman will always and I mean ALWAYS, be my number one favorite Count Dracula. It is also my favorite Dracula movie. Simply because it's directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and Gary Oldman is fantastic.

    For those who haven't yet read it... why not??


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