03 April 2012
Dracula, by Bram Stoker
I actually finished this weeks ago and never got around to writing about it, but there's one aspect that keeps coming back to me and seems worth recording here. There are a lot of interesting things about this book - it's one of those texts that could be used to introduce students to critical theory, because it will yield fruitful results to almost any approach. It's also a really fun read. What impressed me about it this time though, was how skillfully the formal presentation of it is handled. The book is a collage of testimony; various people's letters and diaries, newspaper clippings, etc. Jennifer Wicke has written a really interesting piece about that aspect and the idea of technologies of writing, but on a basic level, what makes the novel work so well is the mass of stuff in it that is totally unrelated to Count Dracula - its chattiness. The characters have all kinds of thoughts about a variety of topics, some intellectual, others wholly superficial, but all lively and full of spirit. Reading it is actually like reading a well-written diary. I was really struck by how well Stoker managed to captures variety of voices and make them both engaging and believable. It's not an aspect of the book that gets much attention, but I think it's really central to its continuing appeal.