Dracula - What was the last book you read?
Did Dracula answer you?
I read Dracula a number of years ago, and found it (not surprisingly, given where and when it was written) very Edwardian in some respects. There's the whole "fallen woman because she's woman" angle--as though Mina was somehow the guilty party when Dracula bit her; and there's the inevitable conclusion with matrimony and a parcel of kids, symbol not merely of hearth and home, but of forgiveness for the Evils of Eve. Dracula himself never seemed to come to life--excuse the pun--for me, but seemed to operate often from a distance, like many criminal masterminds in contemporary media. (Doyle's Moriarity comes to mind, but there were many others, such as the extremely popular, newfangled films and that inventor of serial thrillers, Louis Feuillade--whose best know work included the criminal Fantomas, and in another one, a criminal gang that went by the name of Les Vampires. Then there was Fritz Lang's Dr. Mabuse, raising the whole thing into an artform--but I'm getting away from the subject.) The plotting is excellent, and the writing very tight, but the foreign backgrounds are cardboard, in my opinion, and the dialog sometimes as phony-sounding as a three dollar bill. I think most of what seems tinny and wrong-noted today were simply part of the culture of the time, and invisible to those who read the book. I can't speak for anybody else, but I don't believe it's so much Stoker's Dracula that's had an influence through Dracula, however, as Bela Lugosi bringing a whole heaping of charisma to Stoker's stiff, vampiric nobleman. And media producers generations later riding the wave to money of the doomed hero syndrome. Also the bad boy who needs redemption syndrome. And the no one's being hurt or kiilled anywhere else so I need a make believe fix of terror and horror syndrome.
What have I been reading? Lately, I've been re-reading European Music: 1520-1640, twenty-six essays by a variety of authors on the period's music in England, France, the Italian and German States, edited by James Haar. But I may pick up Gore Vidal's Julian and restart that. I got about one-quarter of the way through on plane a while back, then never returned to it, and I think it's pretty damn good. Of course, each to their own.