Reading Dracula Again, for the First Time

Pot-boiler (pot-boil’ ur) n. a piece of writing or the like, usually inferior and

uninspired, done quickly for money.
 
—Webster’s New World Dictionary (2nd College Edition)—
 
 
The most frightening aspect of Bram Stoker’s Dracula has little to do with the famous figure of that pale, nocturnal, blood-sucking, un-Dead fiend with whom we’ve all become so fondly familiar. Far more frightening is the fact that, even after a century of steady international publication, Dracula, generally regarded a “potboiler” by the scholars-that-be, (“one of the most successful pot-boilers ever written”), is rarely included in the canon of English Literature — Yes! Literature with a capital “L”. Dracula, therefore, is a classic, yet not even close to a Classic for those literary legions who’ve deemed it a clumsy, inconsistent, overcomplicated assemblage of documents ostensibly written, rewritten, collected and then recollected by “flat, underdeveloped characters” with neither common sense nor, apparently, any writing skills to boot — as evidenced by their use of “painful” puns, their overuse of exclamation marks, and their splitting of infinitives like there’s no tomorrow (Maude Ellmann vii).
    
Yikes! Now that’s scary. (And suddenly the claim that Keats was not killed by disease, but was murdered rather by the critics of his work seems far more plausible).
    
Oh. But that’s not even the scariest part.
    
The scariest part is the simple fact that even the most avid readers today — even the biggest, most devoted fans of the legendary Count Dracula (and, perhaps, Horror writers and Horror fans themselves) — have never actually taken the time to read Stoker’s classic-but-not-Classic novel. They’ve seen the movies and watched the TV shows, and think they know the story, but they haven’t actually read it. Ironically then, Dracula remains forever un-Dead (as whipping boy) to its un-Alive critics and their bloodthirsty breed of twice-shy student-slaves who still have to read it to get out of college.
    
With this injustice in mind, perhaps it’s time, with all due reverence, to finally consider (split infinitive) the story behind that toothy, tan-less Transylvanian who, for over a century now, has thrived in the very bloodstream of our culture!!! (Exclamation marks).
 
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