Note: The purpose of this post is more analytical than evaluative. Therefore it assumes familiarity with the plot of the novel and includes a reasonable amount of spoilers. The Coppola movie keeps quite close to the original story, so if you have seen it you can consider yourself immunized against spoilers.
There have been more than enough reviews of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, this post is not yet another one. Rather, in it I want to focus on some textual aspects of the novel that captured my attention and convinced me in its greatness. Yes, Dracula fully deserves its place among the classics, not merely for having spawned a whole genre of writing, but for its literary merits. Who would want to read a book about vampires that is over a century old, some might ask, it surely must be so old-fashioned. Well it is and there is so much beauty in that. Dracula is an epistolary novel and thanks to that it has preserved its appeal over the decades. While narrative structure, authorial function and point-of-view techniques have evolved tremendously in the last century, a letter or a diary entry from 1897 will always be authentic and a fictional document from the period will always retain the same amount of verisimilitude. So yes, Dracula is old-fashioned but in a very good, window-into-another-time kind of way. Continue reading