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Old 1 Week Ago   #11
Hidden X
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Re: Opinions on Dracula by Bram Stoker?

Quote Originally Posted by Druidic View Post
Freudian reductionism and cries of antisemitism have hurt the novels reputation for now. It will survive.
Meh, Stoker's repressed sexuality and fear of immigration are at the core of the novel, but being aware of that only enhances the experience rather than damaging its value as a horror novel. There is no sense in trying to ignore those aspects of the work.

It is much like, for example, Freud's interpretation of E. T. A. Hoffmann that revived interest in his work and encouraged people to find more depths in them without damaging their surface value.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #12
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Re: Opinions on Dracula by Bram Stoker?

I have never read Dracula, Frankenstein, or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the most famous household names for horror among common people. (I may have finished Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as a child, for it was in my bookcase, but I don't remember clearly.)

Perhaps I should feel ashamed over that. And perhaps I am also missing out on some great bits. But I never read weird and horror fiction from an educational perspective or motivation. I only picked what I felt passionate about wanting to read. And I generally desired to seek out more obscure authors (hopefully rejected by the common crowd) and to avoid household names (partly because I always disliked and despised the establishment voice and having blindly accepted authority forced upon me).

But on the other hand, I have read Beckford, Poe, Le Fanu, Blackwood, Machen, Hodgson, Dunsany, M. R. James, de la Mare, ... . Perhaps that also by itself can be regarded as a worthwhile groundwork "education" in supernatural fiction?
I also feel, that if you want to build up a store of supernatural weird fiction experience, as basis to create your own stuff from, your sources should not be too immediately recognizable, but preferably well hidden and brewed into a completely new alchemy, so that typical famous structures are not repeated over and over. (The most horrendous example of this, is Hollywood, where nothing new is created, but the same safe formulas are repeated over and over by new clone directors, who all have been nurtured by the same things.)

I have much enjoyed the vampire myth through various films. I really prefer the non-verbal grunting ghoulish Kurt Barlow, and Nosferatu, to well-mannered Dracula.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #13
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Re: Opinions on Dracula by Bram Stoker?

Quote Originally Posted by Hidden X View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Druidic View Post
Freudian reductionism and cries of antisemitism have hurt the novels reputation for now. It will survive.
Meh, Stoker's repressed sexuality and fear of immigration are at the core of the novel, but being aware of that only enhances the experience rather than damaging its value as a horror novel. There is no sense in trying to ignore those aspects of the work.
While it's true that those aspects of Dracula are there for the seeing, and that recognizing them can open up valuable avenues of understanding, it's also true that the orthodox critical/scholarly viewpoint that sees the novel as being only about those things is patently foolish and shallow, not to mention ideologically motivated. That it has become the orthodox consensus at all says more about the critics and scholars, and about the specific ideological and intellectual culture they represent (and have helped to create), than it does about Stoker and Dracula.

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Old 1 Week Ago   #14
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Re: Opinions on Dracula by Bram Stoker?

The Icelandic "translation" is quite interesting in this context. It dwells much more on the scenes of Harker in Dracula's castle and reduces the rest of the book to an astonishingly short précis.


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Old 1 Week Ago   #15
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Re: Opinions on Dracula by Bram Stoker?

"Repressed sexuality" always makes for good art. The artist, after all, must sublimate.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 1 Week Ago   #16
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Re: Opinions on Dracula by Bram Stoker?

I do have half an eye on one day reading both the Icelandic and Turkish versions of the book. Both sound as though they put an interesting cultural spin on the original work.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #17
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Re: Opinions on Dracula by Bram Stoker?

Quote Originally Posted by matt cardin View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Hidden X View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Druidic View Post
Freudian reductionism and cries of antisemitism have hurt the novels reputation for now. It will survive.
Meh, Stoker's repressed sexuality and fear of immigration are at the core of the novel, but being aware of that only enhances the experience rather than damaging its value as a horror novel. There is no sense in trying to ignore those aspects of the work.
While it's true that those aspects of Dracula are there for the seeing, and that recognizing them can open up valuable avenues of understanding, it's also true that the orthodox critical/scholarly viewpoint that sees the novel as being only about those things is patently foolish and shallow, not to mention ideologically motivated. That it has become the orthodox consensus at all says more about the critics and scholars, and about the specific ideological and intellectual culture they represent (and have helped to create), than it does about Stoker and Dracula.
The author constitutes the critic, not the other way around. It's a virtue to approach an author with humility, something most contemporary critics have lost sight of. That's not to say HiddenX is entirely wrong.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 1 Week Ago   #18
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Re: Opinions on Dracula by Bram Stoker?

Incidentally, does anyone know why 'Dracula in Istanbul' appears to have been removed from Amazon UK? It was on my wish list, but now seems to have disappeared.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #19
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Re: Opinions on Dracula by Bram Stoker?

For those wishing to develop proper understanding and appreciation of Dracula, David J. Skal's recent mammoth biography of Stoker makes for some great reading:


(as long as you have a fair amount of free time to spare, that is)
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Old 1 Week Ago   #20
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Re: Opinions on Dracula by Bram Stoker?

Quote Originally Posted by Knygathin View Post
I have never read Dracula, Frankenstein, or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the most famous household names for horror among common people. (I may have finished Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as a child, for it was in my bookcase, but I don't remember clearly.)

Perhaps I should feel ashamed over that. And perhaps I am also missing out on some great bits. But I never read weird and horror fiction from an educational perspective or motivation. I only picked what I felt passionate about wanting to read. And I generally desired to seek out more obscure authors (hopefully rejected by the common crowd) and to avoid household names (partly because I always disliked and despised the establishment voice and having blindly accepted authority forced upon me).

But on the other hand, I have read Beckford, Poe, Le Fanu, Blackwood, Machen, Hodgson, Dunsany, M. R. James, de la Mare, ... . Perhaps that also by itself can be regarded as a worthwhile groundwork "education" in supernatural fiction?
I also feel, that if you want to build up a store of supernatural weird fiction experience, as basis to create your own stuff from, your sources should not be too immediately recognizable, but preferably well hidden and brewed into a completely new alchemy, so that typical famous structures are not repeated over and over. (The most horrendous example of this, is Hollywood, where nothing new is created, but the same safe formulas are repeated over and over by new clone directors, who all have been nurtured by the same things.)

I have much enjoyed the vampire myth through various films. I really prefer the non-verbal grunting ghoulish Kurt Barlow, and Nosferatu, to well-mannered Dracula.
Well, in my initial post on the subject I should have added that, in relation to my comment "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," that this is purely a personal obligation, and I certainly don't hold anyone else to the same standard (for the record, I've never read "Dr. Jekyll" either).

"The Outsider must find a direction and commit himself to it, not lie moping about the meaninglessness of the world."
-Colin Wilson, Religion and the Rebel
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