Dracula tells the tale of a sinister Transylvanian aristocrat who seeks to retain his youth and strength by feeding off human blood. The author, Bram Stoker, a young Victorian theater professional, was probably inspired by the strange epidemic of vampirism that occurred in remote parts of Eastern Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. These stories were recounted by travelers who later arrived in England and other parts of Western Europe. Stoker initially meant the tale to be written as a play in which he wanted Sir Henry Irving, a leading Victorian actor, to play the role of the malevolent Count Dracula. However, as circumstances would have it, Irving never played the part and Stoker's story finally took the form of a novel. The book, published in 1897, is constructed in a very interesting format. The story is told via a set of letters, diary entries, ship's logs and newspaper reports. It begins with the journey of a young lawyer, Jonathan Harker, who is traveling to Transylvania on his legal firm's business, to finalize the transfer of a property in England to an East European aristocrat, Count Dracula. Harker is initially charmed by the suave and debonair count's hospitality, but gradually comes to realize Dracula's malevolent intentions. The plot takes up the tale of various other people in the story – Harker's fiancée Mina, her friend Lucy, a former suitor Dr Seward and his teacher, Professor Van Helsing. A host of other characters adds to the twists and turns in the narrative. Dracula represents the dawn of Gothic horror fiction in the contemporary era and its earliest reviews called it “blood-curdling” though it didn't receive much commercial success. However, it really caught the public imagination with its American publication in 1899, and in the 20th century, when film and television versions began to appear. Today, Dracula-theme tours are one of the hottest attractions in countries like Romania in Eastern Europe and studies have uncovered the historical figures who actually existed behind the fictional character of the evil count. A great read for a dark and gloomy night. Just make sure your windows are tightly shut!
Jonathan Harker, a newly qualified English solicitor, visits Count Dracula at his castle in the Carpathian Mountains to help the Count purchase a house near London. Ignoring the Count's warning, Harker wanders the castle and encounters three vampire women; Dracula rescues him, and Harker realises that he is a vampire, too. Soon after, Dracula leaves the castle, abandoning Harker to the women; Harker escapes with his life and ends up delirious in a Budapest hospital. Dracula takes a ship for England, with boxes of earth from his castle. The captain's log narrates the crew's disappearance, until he alone remains, bound to the helm to maintain course. An animal resembling a large dog is seen leaping ashore when the ship runs aground at Whitby.
Lucy Westenra's letter to her best friend, Harker's fiancée Mina Murray, describes her marriage proposals from Dr. John Seward, Quincey Morris, and Arthur Holmwood. Lucy accepts Holmwood's, but all remain friends. Mina joins her friend Lucy on holiday in Whitby. Lucy begins sleepwalking. After his ship lands there, Dracula stalks Lucy. Mina receives a letter about her missing fiancé's illness, and goes to Budapest to nurse him. Lucy becomes very ill. Seward's old teacher, Professor Abraham Van Helsing, determines the nature of Lucy's condition, but refuses to disclose it. He diagnoses her with acute blood-loss. Van Helsing places garlic flowers around her room and makes her a necklace of them.
Lucy's mother removes the garlic flowers, not knowing they repel vampires. While Seward and Van Helsing are absent, Lucy and her mother are terrified by a wolf and Mrs. Westenra dies of a heart attack. Lucy dies shortly thereafter. After her burial, newspapers report children being stalked in the night by a beautiful lady, and Van Helsing deduces it is her. The four go to her tomb and see that she is a vampire. They stake her heart, behead her, and fill her mouth with garlic. Jonathan Harker and his now-wife Mina have returned, and they join the campaign against Dracula.
Abraham "Bram" Stoker (8 November 1847 – 20 April 1912) was an Irish author, best known today for his 1897 Gothic horror novel Dracula. During his lifetime, he was better known as the personal a...More about Bram Stoker
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