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Old 1 Week Ago   #1
Spiral
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Opinions on Dracula by Bram Stoker?

I started Dracula a few months ago but I'm not getting engaged with it really and I'm kind of stuck, now in the part where the Demeter arrives, wanting to read other things (Marked to Die particularly and maybe Melmoth The Wanderer, despite it being long). I like the idea of the novel and some descriptions but I'm not sure I want to keep reading it and it feels very long (I love some long books but they have to engage me quite a bit), but I feel as a horror fan it's kind of a duty to read it and I am looking forward to a few things that should happen later from what I gather.

Would you recommend I keep up with it in your opinion? would I be "missing out" if I didn't finish it? maybe I could keep reading it at a glacial pace.

What are your opinions on this novel and it's importance on horror/weird fiction?
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Old 1 Week Ago   #2
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Re: Opinions on Dracula by Bram Stoker?

I attempted it several times but never finished, mostly because I was distracted by other books.

I say go for it. In any case, it's one more book under your belt.

This is my life. This is my damnation. This is my only regret--that I ever was born.

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Old 1 Week Ago   #3
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Re: Opinions on Dracula by Bram Stoker?

It suffers from bloat, but otherwise I think it's a good example of an epistolary narrative and an effective gothic chiller. Perhaps not as original or deep as Frankenstein is, but it's a worthy read.

Really though, I don't recommend forcing yourself to finish anything if you're not enjoying it.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 1 Week Ago   #4
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Re: Opinions on Dracula by Bram Stoker?

Legions of readers have given up around the point where you are right now, Spiral. The opening chapters telling of Jonathan Harker's harrowing experience in Dracula's castle generally hold people's attention, but then once the novel leaves that and settles down into its more slow-paced epistolary format, which is where it stays until the end, many people bail.

With the others here, I'd say don't force yourself to keep going if it ends up being nothing but a pure slog driven only by force of will. That's no way to read Dracula or any other book.

On the other hand, maybe you can give it another thirty or fifty pages or so, and deliberately see if you can attune your affect and expectations to the book's internal rhythm and tempo. Consider reading along with an audio book for several pages, or better yet, read it aloud to yourself, in order to really infuse its vibe into your sensibility. It may be that the current problem is just the result of a mismatch between your present readerly sensibility and the one to which the book tries to speak. If you can let it form that sensibility within you, then I think you'll find there's a great deal to enjoy and admire in it. You'll also probably find that some other novels that would formerly have been inaccessible to you are now accessible.

As for me, I tried to read Dracula three times -- twice in my youth and once not long after college -- before finally succeeding some years after that. For those failed attempts, I always ended up getting just a little farther into the book than you presently are right now before I threw in the towel. But when I finally read it through, I absolutely loved it. During the interim something had changed in the intellectual and affective equipment that I brought to the book, and now I found it a thoroughly gripping and worthwhile literary experience.

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Old 1 Week Ago   #5
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Re: Opinions on Dracula by Bram Stoker?

Mr. Cardin, while making a few observations about your specific case, Spiral, has also very eloquently described how reading can ( in )form your sensibilities if you let it. You will not only have read a book, you have come a little closer to understanding ( or at least experiencing, in a way ) a moment in history. Like the phonographic recordings by dr. Seward, a voice will have spoken to you across time.

It is also a very sly, meticulously constructed tale that questions its own telling in the closing paragraphs. I would say it's quite modern in that regard, were it not for the fact that this device is so quintessentially Gothic that the truth is that modernism is quite Gothic in this regard.

"What can a thing do with a thing, when it is a thing?"
-Shaykh Ibn Al 'Arabi
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Old 1 Week Ago   #6
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Re: Opinions on Dracula by Bram Stoker?

Strange that so many people seem to struggle with it, from my point of view anyway. I read it for the first (so far only) time six years ago, when I was twenty, and I absolutely raced through the book. I genuinely loved the epic sweep of the narrative, so much of which has stuck with me ever since.

The only sections of the book I personally struggled through were the extended periods of 'local' dialect. I did however manage to plough through those sections by reading them whilst sat on the very same bench which the characters were sitting on. I'd purchased the book in Whitby, during the Goth weekend, so was able to read those sections on location, as it were. I remember very clearly having a glorious view of the harbour whilst reading about the arrival of the Demeter.

Actually, this may well be the reason why the story has stayed with me ever since.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #7
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Re: Opinions on Dracula by Bram Stoker?

Yeah, it took me two tries to be honest. First time I tried to read it (forget how old I was, maybe 30?) I dropped it around chapter 6. However, I believe that if one considers oneself a student of a certain literary genre, it remains one's moral and honorary duty to try to read as many of the classics of the genre as one can. And seeing as I fashion myself as a student of the horror genre, I felt obliged to read it (also, seeing as how, when it comes to classic monsters, I've long been a vampire guy, it seemed essential that I read it). So I picked it up again in October of 2013 (when I was 33) and finished it for good then. I'm not sure I'd rank it in my top 50 novels ever list (hell, maybe not even my top 100 novel list), but it does have a certain charm that's hard to define, and I'm glad I read it. But yeah, like James says, Frankenstein is (in my opinion) a better written and intellectually deeper book. It certainly is a book that needs to be taken on its own terms... one of those texts you kind of have to submit to.

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Old 1 Week Ago   #8
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Re: Opinions on Dracula by Bram Stoker?

I've never cared for Frankenstein in the least. It
was a plodding piece of work from Go.

Dracula is the finest Gothic work I know although it was a high-tech thriller in its day. Blood transfusions, Seward's "mechanical diary," even the Bowie Knife as a symbol of the technology that won the West...wonderful stuff.

I'm always amazed at what the movies left out: Renfield, hardly a Dwight Fry character, almost succeeding in snapping Dracula's spine; the madman's obsession with devouring Life; Quincy Morris severing that great head with his Bowie blade...many, many nice touches.

A fine and (in modern times) a vastly underrated classic. Shelley hit one pleasing note (for some): but Stoker created a symphony.

Freudian reductionism and cries of antisemitism have hurt the novels reputation for now. It will survive.

Last edited by Druidic; 1 Week Ago at 09:20 PM..
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Old 1 Week Ago   #9
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Re: Opinions on Dracula by Bram Stoker?

I suggest the audio when the going gets rough.



I have been tempted to read this pirated version.



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Old 1 Week Ago   #10
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Re: Opinions on Dracula by Bram Stoker?

Quote Originally Posted by Druidic View Post
A fine and (in modern times) a vastly underrated classic..
Dracula is a genuine household name. I wouldn't call it underrated. It's one of the most famous stories ever told by the species, and I think practically everybody agrees it's a classic, despite certain flaws.

An underrated classic would be something like Walter de la Mare's Memoirs of a Midget.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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