Thursday, November 8, 2012

Happy Birthday Bram Stoker!

Check out the Google Doodle for today:
Today is Bram Stoker's 165th birthday! Celebrate his birthday by sinking your teeth into his most famous work, Dracula.
Dracula is one of my 'all-time' favorite novels, and if you have not read it, I suggest giving it a try. While popular culture seems to spit out a new vampire novel every month, none of them have the depth that this novel possesses. It was not the first vampire novel, however it remains the foundation for a great deal of vampyric myth. Beyond the monster legend, Dracula is a book about colonialism, post-colonialism, immigration, and the role of women in Victorian Society. It is interesting to think about the fact that Stoker, an Irishman, wrote Dracula, a book about an outside force invading England and literally bleeding it dry, shortly after the Irish Potato famine. There was an immense amount of hostility toward England, as they continued to export goods out of Ireland during the worst times of the potato blight, essentially bleeding Ireland dry. Much of Irish literature has been explained as pre or post famine, and this novel is very interesting to read knowing it is post-famine.
In the novel Dracula starts out as the colonized when an Englishman named Jonathan Harker travels to his home in the Carpathian Mountains to purchase the estate. While Harker is trapped in the estate of Dracula, Dracula travels to England and preys upon the Victorian women. The colonizer (England), becomes the colonized when Dracula turns a few of the English characters in the book into vampires. I have a great deal more to say about this book, but I am afraid I have already given so much of the plot away! Check out the book youself and stop by the Reference Desk sometime and let me (Jason) know what you thought!

Books on Stoker and Dracula
The new annotated Dracula
The essential Dracula

Further Information:
Dracula : between tradition and modernism by Senf, Carol

Potato Famine:
The great Irish potato famine by Donnelly, James S. Jr

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