Who wrote this book and when?
Bram Stoker wrote this book in 1897. (Didn’t think it was that old, didja?)
Has there been a movie made of it?
Hello. Where have you been? The most famous of the Dracula movies is the 1931 version starring Bela Lugosi, but actually the first version of Dracula on film was in 1922 – a silent film called “Nosferatu the Vampire.” Now – according to Wikipedia and the Internet Movie Database – there are over 160 films which feature Dracula as a major character, and 649 films which include a major reference to Dracula. Not to mention the thousands of television shows which reference vampires or Dracula himself, including my personal favorites – “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (she tries but doesn’t actually kill Dracula), and “Angel.”
Who are the main characters?
Jonathan Harker – a British solicitor (a type of lawyer) who goes to visit Count Dracula concerning some property the count has just purchased.
Wilhelmina “Mina” Harker – Peter Harker’s fiancee then wife. She lives in Britain and is very intelligent. She assists in the quest to destroy Dracula.
Lucy Westenra – Mina’s best friend.
Dr. Seward – a man who runs a mental institute near the Westenra estate
Dr. Abraham Van Helsing – Seward’s former teacher and an expert on vampiric forces. (No, he’s NOT employed by the Vatican to use fancy shmancy devices to defeat supernatural villains, nor is he sexy like Hugh Jackman. He’s old.)
Renfield – a patient at Dr Seward’s asylum who has an obsession with “collecting life.”
Quincy Morris – a former suitor of Lucy’s from America. He helps in the pursuit of Dracula.
Lord Godalming – Lucy’s fiance. He assists in pursuing Dracula.
and finally…*blare trumpets*
Count Dracula – a very very VERY old vampire, whose speciality is seducing and turning young women.
What is it about?
Jonathan Harker is trapped in Castle Dracula by the vampire Count Dracula. He discovers Dracula’s plan to move to and then “infect” Britain’s inhabitants.
A group of people including a Lord, a doctor of the supernatural arts, an insane asylum director, a cowboy, and a newlywed couple fight to thwart Dracula’s plans and rid the world of his influence. Telling you more than that would ruin the story.
Why is this book a classic?
The only novel which could rival “Dracula” in its swath of influence over the fantasy and horror genres is “Frankenstein.” The legend of the vampire will pop up in almost any culture around the world, its terror is universal. And despite this book being over 100 years old, it doesn’t read like a “classic” novel. It is still interesting and frightening at the same time.
Why should I read it?
Because of its timeless nature. This book would appeal to anyone. It’s not hard to get through and is interesting and descriptive. You come to relate to the characters and the book’s perspective changes enough to keep you in suspense as to what will happen next. Plus, there’s always a thrill knowing a horror story is based on real life people. Trust me, you’ll enjoy it.
Has it won any awards?
I think being one of the most influential horror stories in the history of the modern novel is award enough.
If you’re too lazy to check it out from your friendly local library or buy it, you can read it online in its entirety, courtesy of literature.org at this address. And if you’re into herbology – there’s an orchid named the Dracula.
My personal thoughts:
This has definitely hit my “all time favorites” list. I wasnt’ excited to read it, except I’d just taken a break from the classics list to read “The Historian” and seeing it was about vampires…namely Dracula…my attention was piqued. So if you enjoy “Dracula,” try reading “The Historian” as a follow up.