“Dracula” by Bram Stoker (1897)

Cons :

_According to Florence Stoker’s own admission, if her husband had lived longer, he would have reworked his text a little. Shame…

_Van Helsing’s speeches are sometimes a bit heavy.

_Classic tips. The poor characters (the Harker couple) become rich with the wave of a magic wand. Speaking of wealth or prestige, each character must have some… So we have some prestigious jobs like : teachers (Van Helsing and Steward), a Lord (Arthur), a notary (Jonathan). Only Quincey Morris remains a humble, joyful and determined adventurer (but rich too, even if it is said only once).

Neutral points :

_The original book is very different from all the movie versions. So the messages are… blurred…

_This is a novel that goes near by the realm of the horror. A bit of a detective novel too.

_Dracula, here, although during his lifetime, was a hero, is portrayed here as a real bastard. And yet, it is he who gives its name to the novel. A bit like in the novels about Fantomas, Arsène Lupin and Hannibal Lecter. Here it is the anti-hero who serves as the driving force of the story. A need undoubtedly for transgression, on the part of the author and of the reader, to break stifling archetypes ? Which can make the work a looking like a psychoanalytic tale.

_Male characters are classic archetypes.
*Van Helsing is the archetypal father.
*Reinfield is the archetypal fool.
*Quincey Morris is the archetypal adventurer (the most interesting male character in my opinion).
*Doctor John Steward is the archetype… Of the kind doctor…
*Arthur Holmwood is the archetype of the rich fiancé (in fact, he becomes Lord Goldaming during the story).
*And Jonathan Harker is seen as the archetype of the novice lawyer (at the beginning of the work in any case). Then he become more tough.

Pros :

_Saint Mary is mentioned several times via the name of a church.

_The story of Vlad Tépès is clearly mentioned by Stoker. Thank you Sir.

_The book is written during the era of Queen Victoria (1837-1901). A legendary era who gave the Victorian style in fashion.

_The female characters are very interesting. Lucy and Mina are very different but are great. Mina even has things in common with Saint Mary.

_Quincey Morris is (in my opinion) the most interesting male character in the book. We find him in the guise of Tom Sawyer in the movie “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” (2003). Vigorous. Adventurer. Happy. Optimistic. Refreshing.

_Van Helsing is portrayed as an energetic doctor. Voluntary. Able to go beyond the taboos of science in order to save people.

_Jonathan Harker turns out to be much more heroic than we could have guessed. He is not the typical support character (the idiot on duty who makes others shine).

_The theme of hunting is mentioned several times. This theme is found in the TV show “Hannibal”. Coincidence ?

_The work has had a considerable influence on all of Western culture. Particularly on the characters of Batman and the Shadow.

Conclusion :

A book that must be read. Because it is a pillar of our culture. Even if it has been extremely reinterpreted.

Alpha Centauri