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Dracula

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Restored Thread

 

#1 18th November 2006, 10:02 AM

Hazel

 

I finished reading this yesterday and thought I would give it a mention. As we all know this tale follows Jonathan and Mina Harker and their fight to escape the clutches of Count Dracula, ably helped by Arthur, Quincey, John, and Van Helsing.

 

I first read this when I was about 14, and remember finding it a little scary and quite a dense book to get through, but I did enjoy it. I had to reread it this winter for uni next year and looked forward to seeing if I read it differently. While I still enjoyed it, the adult Hazel, couldn't help but feel saddened by some of the mawkishness.

 

Unfortunately this is a book that has suffered due to its success. When published the anti-vampire tools such as garlic, running water, invitation, stake through the heart, cutting off the head, bats etc etc would have been fascinating, exotic and thrilling. Now, having seen these kinds of things played to death, they just seem cliched and detract from the story. I tried hard to remove my modern perceptions and remember when this was written.

 

I found some of Mina's dialogue a little saccharine sweet - but that may just be a sociocultural thing.

 

It's still a fabulous read and the characters are engaging and believable, especially John Seward who is the voice of reason. He has aged much better than the rest of the gang. I did very much enjoy this books again, despite my previous moans - it's just unfortunate that it was the blueprint, a precursor to the vampire myths that came after. And the myths we have gotten so used to are such a diluted and comical version of what Stoker set out to create.

 

#2 18th November 2006, 11:27 AM

Claire

 

I started reading Dracula when I was about 18, but I found it really, really scary and stopped before I got half way through!

 

Might be tempted to give it another ago, as you have obviously survived the experience. Now did I keep my copy.....or did I get rid of it as quickly as I could, as I was too freaked out to have it on the shelf in my bedroom...

 

#3 18th November 2006, 07:39 PM

Hazel

 

It's really not at all scary now that I am an adult - so don't worry and give it a go!

 

#4 19th November 2006, 01:47 PM

Claire

It's really not at all scary now that I am an adult - so don't worry and give it a go!

Hmmmm, am I significantly braver now than I was at the age of 18???? Braver about somethings, and less brave about others, I suspect..... Now which category is Dracula likely to fall into?

 

(Might give it a try on Listen Again as Meg suggest, at least for the first five minutes, and see how it goes)

 

#5 19th November 2006, 09:05 PM

megustaleer

 

Oh my!

 

I have just listened to last night's episode of Dracula.

 

I have got to read the book!

 

#6 20th November 2006, 09:16 AM

Hazel

Oh my!

 

I have just listened to last night's episode of Dracula.

 

I have got to read the book!

Well, I recommend it highly. You may cringe at some of the dialogue but for atmosphere and physical spaces, you can't beat it!

 

#7 19th November 2006, 11:48 AM

Mungus

Now, having seen these kinds of things played to death, they just seem cliched and detract from the story. I tried hard to remove my modern perceptions and remember when this was written.

I've never read Dracula and would avoid it for the reasons I've quoted from Hazel. It's one of life's inevitables that you can never understand the impact a 'classic' makes on its first appearance.

 

On the same lines, I'm always a little sad that I can never know what effect The Beatles had when they first appeared. By the time I heard them, they sounded just like everyone else. Except what I didn't know was that everyone else sounded like them (or tried to). Same with a good story or writing style, it gets copied, re-interpreted and generally filters into our every day vernacular.

 

#8 19th November 2006, 01:05 PM

megustaleer

 

As I've mentioned before, I often fall asleep with the radio on and wake in the small hours to find that Radio4 has morphed into the World Service.

 

Last night I woke to find myself listening to a dramatisation of Dracula**. I had missed about half of part 1, and the concluding part is next Saturday/Sunday.

From the quarter hour or so that I listened it was definitely scary

 

I'm going to have to find it online to 'Listen Again' not only to hear the beginning that I missed, but also to hear the second half in the daylight!

 

** That is, a dramatisation of Bram Stoker's book, not some other version of a vampirical horror story, (it has been adapted by Liz Lochhead)

 

#9 22nd November 2006, 05:00 PM

chuntzy

 

Another 'best-seller' using Dracula

 

Haven't read it but tried Elizabeth Kostova's [The Historian] in which there's a search for the mystery of Count Dracula, hidden texts about him etc. Couldn't get beyond page 200. Kostova had her eye on film rights I think. different European location in nearly every chapter. No characterisation. 'International best seller' it says. Humph!.

 

#10 22nd November 2006, 06:42 PM

Hazel

Haven't read it but tried Elizabeth Kostova's [The Historian] in which there's a search for the mystery of Count Dracula, hidden texts about him etc. Couldn't get beyond page 200. Kostova had her eye on film rights I think. different European location in nearly every chapter. No characterisation. 'International best seller' it says. Humph!.

Funnily enough, I remember when a few people on BGO tried The Historian, no one liked it. Didn't it win the R&J best read? I didn't enjoy it but like you I only read the first 100 odd pages and gave up.

 

If you were tempted to read that - why don't you give Dracula a go? It is really rather good, despite suffering from it's success and popularity.

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#11 22nd November 2006, 10:56 PM

Seraphina

If you were tempted to read that - why don't you give Dracula a go? It is really rather good, despite suffering from it's success and popularity.

I think you make a good point Hazel. I was disappointed in Dracula, reading it for the first time 3 years ago. I read it thinking this isn't scary at all, how on earth did this book get such a reputation? However looking back with a more informed or sophisticated viewpoint I can see that I was wrong, because for its time it was indeed scary, and not as cliched as it seems to modern readers. I made the same mistake reading Poe for the first time. This thread has prompted me to put it on my TBR pile for another go!

 

#12 23rd November 2006, 05:27 AM

SlowRain

 

I read it in high school and enjoyed it for what it was. It is the first, and only, epistolary style novel that I've read, so I think that made it more interesting for me as well. I agree with what others have said: it's not scary.

 

#13 23rd November 2006, 03:32 PM

chuntzy

why don't you give Dracula a go? It is really rather good, despite suffering from it's success and popularity.

Alright, I'll give it a try, but son in Oz says it's very stodgy. Will let you know

 

#14 24th November 2006, 10:20 AM

Hazel

Alright, I'll give it a try, but son in Oz says it's very stodgy. Will let you know.

"Stodgy" - what agreat word and yes I see what he means but it is perfect winter night reading. So if you try it soon, you are trying it at the perfect time of year!

 

megustaleer 15th December 2006 04:14 PM

 

Coming soon on BBC1, with Burn Gorman as Count Dracula!

Saw a trailer for it this lunchtime

 

Claire 15th December 2006 07:34 PM

 

Is he the guy who plays Owen on Torchwood? The name sounds very familiar. If so, it could be a fantastic piece of casting, there's something more than a little disturbing about him.

 

megustaleer 15th December 2006 08:05 PM

 

...and Guppy in Bleak House.

There was only a brief glimpse of him in the trailer, but he looked appropriately sinister as The Count.

I'm quite looking forward to this production, especially having so recently heard it on the radio. The book is sitting on my TBR pile, too.

 

Mungus 15th December 2006 08:37 PM

 

Oooh! That's exciting news! Is it a lavish production? Has that Andy Davies chap done the adaptation? I think the casting sounds promising too, he's a great actor.

 

megustaleer 15th December 2006 09:31 PM

 

Oh Dear, i've got you all excited for nothing...or at least for the wrong actor.

:o

I said I only got a glimpse of the Count, and i'm afraid i mis-identified the actor! Not Burn Gorman at all, but Marc Warren

 

My apologies, will check my facts before posting.another time.

 

I'm still looking forward to it, 'though.

 

Hazel 16th December 2006 09:09 AM

 

The Radio Times Xmas ed says that it isnt a faithful adaptation but a reworked version. It has Lucy married to Holmwood, and apparently there are going to be more erotic scenes. Not entirely convinced this will be good.

 

megustaleer 16th December 2006 09:16 AM

The Radio Times Xmas ed says that it isnt a faithful adaptation but a reworked version. It has Lucy married to Holmwood, and apparently there are going to be more erotic scenes. Not entirely convinced this will be good.

 

Hmm, I'm rapidly losing my initial enthusiasm :(

 

Hazel 16th December 2006 04:12 PM

Hmm, I'm rapidly losing my initial enthusiasm :(

I feel the same but with so little on over the festive period I may have to indulge. The only thing other than Dracula that caught my eye is the drama on BBC1 on Sunday night, Born Equal. Is it worth though getting so irritated by a reworked adaptation just to watch something good?

 

Hazel 28th December 2006 11:00 PM

 

Just finished watching the Dracula adaptation on Beeb 1. Anyone else catch it? I am so sorry if you did. It was the biggest pile of steaming poo I have ever had the misfortune to watch. The Beeb and anyone involved it should be embarrassed they agreed to go ahead with it. Lucy married to Holmwood? Holmwood has syphillis and orchestrates Dracula's coming to England? The Brotherhood of the Undead? Jonathan dead? Mina a wimpering, simpering pile of wet rags? And what was all that with Van Helsing in the cellar? I am sorry my licence fee (well, hubby pays) went to that. And where was Quincey? Arrrrggghhhhhhh I should have trusted my instincts and not bothered.

 

megustaleer 29th December 2006 09:55 AM

 

I was driven to bed early by a cold/throat infection last night, so videoed it. From your 'review' I think it was a wise choice, as I can avoid watching it now.

 

Grammath 29th December 2006 01:23 PM

 

I also watched it, although I haven't read the novel (its on the TBR pile). I found it adequate entertainment after a tedious day at work and a pile of ironing, but have seen much better adaptations of the story and this didn't seem to add anything.

 

Also, and this might just be me, but David Suchet 'phoned in his performance as Van Helsing - simply a somewhat addled Poirot with a beard, no?

 

#31 29th December 2006, 02:23 PM

Hazel

Also, and this might just be me, but David Suchet 'phoned in his performance as Van Helsing - simply a somewhat addled Poirot with a beard, no?

Mais, oui.

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Reading through this thread to put it back together I noticed

I said I only got a glimpse of the Count, and i'm afraid i mis-identified the actor! Not Burn Gorman at all, but Marc Warren .

This must be a common mistake. Staying with some friends in December we briefly visited their relatives, who were watching Sky's adaptation of Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather. As the actor playing Mr Teatime came on, my friend's wife declared, "Ooooh, that's the chap off Torchwood, isn't it?" He looked carefully, "You're right, Mr Guppy!"

 

Except, of course, it was that doppelganger Marc Warren again.

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Well done for restoring this thread, you beat me to it. It was next on my list.

 

This is a book that's been on my wishlist for a while

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I recently read Dracula and absolutely loved it - though I did find it scary at times! It's a classic adventure story with all the essential ingredients of suspense, adventure, romance etc. Which brings me to my point - it's a classic, and if you're going to read the classics you have to expect a good amount of cliches.

The thing that I enjoy about the classics is that these 'cliches' (the garlic, stakes through the heart etc) weren't cliches at the time - it's interesting to see where they originated.

If you read the classics and judge them using today's standard's you will encounter nothing but frustration.

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This book falls into my long list of 'read it once for myself, and then later for school' books, but that doesn't make me love it any less. I was never really scared by it, but it's very suspenseful nonetheless. The character Renfield is one of my all time favorites.

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Jsummarizing the boring bits to save us the bother of reading them

 

Blasphemy! Wash your mouth out Broos.

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Jan Needle edited a version of it a few years ago. It was <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Bram-Stokers-Dracula-Jan-Needle/dp/0744586534">a handsome edition</a>, with illustrations, and Needle made a valiant job of summarizing the boring bits to save us the bother of reading them, but it was a slog and I gave it up about halfway through.

 

Wish someone would do this with Passage to India.

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Guest Broos
Wish someone would do this with Passage to India.

 

That reminds me of an old joke:

 

Kid: Hey, Pop! I saved a quarter this morning by walking instead of taking the bus!

 

Pop: Tomorrow, save five bucks by not taking a taxi instead.

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I began this yesterday. I don't think I have read it before. I thought I had but think now that I can't have. I might have mixed it up in my head with Frankenstein! :D I *have* read that! It's not my sort of book at all, I don't think, but I'm willing to have my horizons broadened. We'll see...

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Goodness, I'm only on about page fifty but the character of Dracula is so chilling. I thought I would know more of the plot and characters because *everyone* has heard of Dracula, but I find I have no idea what is going to happen and the suspense is just awful! *shudder* I usually read the book for my current essay by day and the current read from my list of course books to get ahead of myself in bed at night but I'm finding it's not really bedtime reading. I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to scary books. :rolleyes: Such a well written character though, so polite and gentlemanly in some ways but utterly horrifying in others. And written through a journal format, the unfolding plot seems so immediate and 'true'.

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Glad you are enjoying it Hilary. The journals from Dr. Seward at the asylum are my favourite parts. There is something about asylums and 19thC literature that just make perfect bed-fellows.

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Finished this over the weekend and enjoyed it, though I have some reservations.

 

The first part of the book seems very long in comparison to the second, so it felt to me like the last part was rushed. There were things I wanted explained in more detail. In some ways it felt like two separate stories to me also.

 

I read this on the recommendation of a friend who said it was a love story more than anything else. While in one sense this is true, I didn't feel that it was in the sense in which she meant it:

 

she meant a love story between Dracula and Mina, or that Dracula loved Mina. If he did it wasn't detailed enough for me.

I also expected Dracula to be in it more. I don't know why I expected that, but I did.

 

Van Helsing, though a great character, was quite difficult to understand, so I'm sure I missed a lot of what he was saying about vampires, which probably led to my wanting more explanation or detail.

 

Also the construction of femininity as either entirely pure or entirely deviant interested me, as did all the faith in God contrasted with

 

the view of the innocent Mina as unclean after she drank Dracula's blood. I would have liked that to be questioned more.

I'm glad I read it, but I don't think I would again.

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I have to agree with you - Van Helsing began to irritate me very early on simply because it was such an effort to understand what he was saying.

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I finally read Dracula quite recently, and really wished I hadn't bothered... I enjoyed the first part, and the visit to the castle, and then I just found all the bits set in England rather tedious... Maybe having been truly terrified by things like Hitchcock's Psycho I just found it all a bit tame... but I'm sure it didn't strike contemporary readers as tame in the slightest.

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Whitby is one of my very favourite places, and I was disappointed that it really didn't feature in Stoker's novel at all... apart from being the place where Dracula arrived in England...

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I have been to the ruin of Old Slaines Castle in Aberdeen where Stoker supposedly stayed which inspired Castle Dracula and while the castle itself is much like any other, the site, right on top, at the very edge of a steep sea-cliff is quite awe-inspiring.

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Whitby is one of my very favourite places, and I was disappointed that it really didn't feature in Stoker's novel at all... apart from being the place where Dracula in England...

 

I love Whitby too, it has a really Victorian spooky atmosphere doesn't it?

 

THe house we were staying in had a view over the cliffs to the see, and with the sound of the storm and the darkness I was really quite spooked!

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I love this story! I particularly like the opening chapters where Jonathan harker does not know what is going to happen and how he describes the locals anxiousness when they realise where he is going, it all adds to the tension building of the story, because you know exactly why they were so worried and yet he is almost dismissing their concerns as he doesn't understand what he is walking into.

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I'm not sure that the point of Dracula was to be scary (in the way that 18th century gothic was). For me it was much more about the ancient versus the modern world (there is a lot of modern technology in the book), and the rational against the irrational, in a rather more Victorian way than earlier fiction: forthright and honest folk against evil.

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I'm not sure that the point of Dracula was to be scary (in the way that 18th century gothic was). For me it was much more about the ancient versus the modern world (there is a lot of modern technology in the book), and the rational against the irrational, in a rather more Victorian way than earlier fiction: forthright and honest folk against evil.

 

I'm a Class A coward. :D

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