Let’s start with the review of the forefather of the gothic horror novel, a book that has influenced the following literature and on which several movies have been based on: Dracula. Still read all over the world, the first publication dates back to 1896.
The thing that has amazed me the most about this book is that the place where the majority of the actions happen is not the well-known Dracula’s castle in Transylvania, but London in the Nineteenth Century. It’s like a circle in a way. In fact, the initial place of action is really the castle, where the young English solecitor Jonathan Harker have to go to provide legal support for a real estate transaction, and here we get to know for the first time the Count Dracula. Hereafter, the action moves over to England, to turn back to the castle at the end of the entire book, where everything begun.
The story is told through diary pieces, personal letters and journal articles, in which we explore the inner states of the characters, and consequently all their actions. However, the surprising fact is that the entire story is told only from the human point of view; the narrative procedure used by Stoker, in fact, doesn’t allow the reader to enter into Dracula’s mind when he’s attacking the victims.
Several critics have seen into this book the battle between The Good and The Evil, but I think that the vampire here represents various aspects of The Human. In fact, sometimes he is represented as a cruel and keen figure, sometimes lonely and quiet, oppressed by the protagonists.
If I have to choose between all the characters, I think my favourite would be Doctor Van Helsing, because he is like a guide for everybody, and he has a good soul, always ready to help the neighbor and fighting until the end by his friends.
However, I’ve had always the feeling reading the book that at a certain point a final surprise would arrive, something capable of totally change the plot of the entire book. Actually, the conclusion of the novel reflects somehow the story.
Nevertheless, I found this book being easy to read and well structured. Stoker has made several historical and folkloristic researches to create the character of Dracula, and some critics have recently discovered that probably the author writing this story was inspired by real facts, documented in the city of Exeter
Highly recommended to everyone who loves gothic novels.
Have you appreciated this book? What’s your favourite character?