Kindling (III): Dracula

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating.  One of the great thing about getting a Kindle is that I’ve had an opportunity to read books I never could hanging out at the late, lamented Borders or Barnes and Nobles.  This ranges from reading the unjustly obscure classic The Ghost Pirates (well worth hunting down) to the adventurers of Fu Manchu (which probably should be more obscure, despite being a decent enough read.)  I’ve also been blessed with the opportunity to reread stuff I’d never thought I’d see again.  And stuff I’d never thought I’d finish.

Bram Stoker (1847-1912)
The man himself

For the next couple of days or so I intend to talk a little about three of such works.  All three stem from the oeuvre of Bram Stoker and thus roughly a hundred years old.  So a spoiler warning might be, shall we say, a little out of date.  However, if you haven’t read Dracula (today’s subject), Lair of the White Worm, or The Jewel of the Seven Stars yet, I’m hereby giving notice of Spoilers. Not in-depth, just grazing, but so you have been warned.

Don’t care?  Well let’s go.

The last time I discussed Dracula on this site was in connection with Kindle, too.  While I stated at the time that I’d begun rereading it and was enjoying it,  I also made the following declaration:

[…]I’ve been known to say that the ideal reading conditions for [Dracula] are being trapped in the middle of an airplane flying for hours with no one else to talk to and nothing else to read.  For while I finished Stoker’s masterpiece and did indeed enjoy it, I haven’t been able to finish it since.

So why read it again?  Free.  On Kindle.

Never said it was a good reason.

After making that comment and posting that post, I went back to the book and promptly devoured the damn thing.  I’m not kidding.  Straight through.  I didn’t even need to be near an airport.

What’s the change?  Beats me.  Only I think it might be the delivery system.  All my previous attempts have been dead tree; this one was on a device that hid from me just how many pages were left to go.  That helped immensely.

You know what also helped?  Dracula is also a damn good book.  I can understand why a modern reader might have troubles forging through, especially with the epistolary structure.  Still, they’re missing out on one of the greatest adventure stories of all time, if not one of the best Horror novels.  Finishing it I could see why it’s stood the test of time.

  • General Thought #1: Towards the end of the novel, there is a noticeable increase in “Praise God!” cheer-leading type stuff.  To the point where even I as a believer had to raise an eyebrow at.  Of course, when belief in God is about the only thing keeping you from being bled white, you might tend towards expressing your faith a little more than most folks.
  • General Thought #2: I am shocked and more than a little appalled that there hasn’t been a sort of feminist style re-imagining of this book.  Mina Murray/Harker is clearly the protagonist.  She’s the one who suffers the most, in losing her best friend Lucy and almost losing her immortal soul.  While the boys in the group do a great deal of heavy lifting killing the other vampires, it’s only possible through her.  Why am I the only one to notice this?
  • General Thought #3: Along the same lines, I can not see how anyone can read this novel and think a Mina/Dracula pairing makes sense.  There’s absolutely nothing in their one scene together that even remotely suggest romance.  In fact, it’s a between-the-lines rape.  It’s one of the nastiest sequences in the novel.  Seeing it any other way suggests someone needs to retake some reading comprehension classes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s