I’m just one chapter ahead of schedule, but I think I’m going to speed it up a little to finish it before October 31st. I’m planning on watching some vampire films that day based on some of the recommendations given at the forums. Coppola’s Dracula is definitely on the list and Nosferatu, the silent and the Herznog remake as well.
The edition I’m reading is not annotated, but I’ve been getting more context by following the Infinite Summer blog and the forums. There’s some great info on many things like the Victorian setting, the Christian allegories, and other bits that have made the reading a richer experience.
Like many have pointed out, it’s a little hard to be surprised by a story we’re very familiar with. I followed the suggestion of Infinite Summer’s intro post by Elizabeth Miller to forget about every preconceived notion one may have of Dracula and vampires in general, though that’s not been as easy. It’s been hard for example to not visualize Jonathan Harker as Keanu Reeves’ detached California dude. However, in terms of details, some things have caught me by surprise, beginning with the fact that Dracula (at first) is not the suave looking man portrayed in films.
While is not as complex a story as Infinite Jest, I find the use of non-fiction style narrative through journals, letters, and news clips very clever and entertaining. Told through the individual characters point of view and not having an all seeing, all knowing narrator voice gives it more realism. Today we’re desensitized of course and vampires stopped being scary a long time ago, but I can imagine how horrific this novel was when it came out at the end of the 19th century. Just take Lucy Westenra’s story and instead of turning her into a vampire, think of her as being possessed by the devil and you’ll see how it’s very reminiscent of The Exorcist.
Ad Hoc Observations
- Maybe I missed it, but there hasn’t been any mention of fangs… yet. We assume that there are fangs because of the two tiny bite marks in people’s throats. But the “three brides”, Dracula, and Lucy are described as having sharp white teeth. Dracula as having crooked and sharp teeth.
- Dr Seward and Professor Van Helsing are the Mulder and Scully of this novel.
- It’s silly, but I couldn’t help to laugh out loud when Van Helsing said to Mina, “Oh, you so clever woman!” You so clever, me so horny, me love you one time.
Ad Hoc Video of Dracula Through Films