One hundred and twenty five years ago today, on 26th May 1897, Bram Stoker’s seminal novel ‘DRACULA’ was published by Archibald Constable and Company. Since that date, the book has never been out of print – and now that it is out of copyright, new editions are regularly produced.
Those familiar with the subsequent incarnations of the vampire Count – most notably, through the excellent Hammer films which brought Dracula to the attention of the masses – might be surprised at just how good the novel, which provides the original source material, really is.
Written in an ‘epistolatory’ form, there is not the usual flowing narrative found in most books, as though one person is telling the story to the reader. Rather, the book is composed of various accounts which are ‘written’ by the characters within the book – most often, through diary and journal entires, but also through newspaper cuttings and other forms.
And so the story contained within the book is recounted from the perspectives of the characters themselves, and in a very effective and readable manner.
The character of Dracula is – quite unlike the various depictions which followed later – very much a monster in the true sense of the word. Dracula is utter evil, whose reign has spanned several centuries.
The later adaptations of the character and of the book itself often captured many elements of the story – but none managed to capture it in it’s entirely and complexity.
From my early years, I became a huge fan of the horror genre – and Dracula was the reason for this.
Perhaps not surprisingly, then, the Stoker novel is my favourite book.
If it is a book you have not already read – I would urge you to leave aside (for the moment, at least) all your memories of the famous horror films and get a copy of this book and read it. It is very highly recommended.