My recent trip to Manchester was followed by a few days in the sweet seaside town of Whitby. On the surface, Whitby seems like a strange place for a random visit: it’s a small seaside village on the east coast of Britain, and it’s not exactly the easiest place to get to. But Whitby did have one very attractive claim to fame that drew me there, despite a Megabus journey from Manchester and a two-hour, bumpy local bus ride: it’s reputed to be the birthplace of Bram Stoker’s late-Victorian ode to typewriters and phonographs (also it has a few vampires in it). I’m talking, of course, about Dracula. Continue reading →
Warning! It is highly recommended that potential viewers of Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 version of Dracula are fully equipped with a few necessary items. These include: (1) the ability to follow an incredibly confusing plotline; (2) a sketchy knowledge of Bram Stoker’s novel; and (3) a plentiful supply of cold water (buckets or cold showers both acceptable). Also, this review contains spoilers.
The fact that Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula is littered with eroticism and religious imagery is nothing new. It’s informed the way we write and perform the vampire myth over the course of an entire century. But in Coppola’s 1992 adaptation of the book (‘adaptation’ is here used in the loosest possible sense) this is taken to a whole new level.
This seems an obvious place to start, but the way that Coppola chooses to present his film to audiences is interesting. The film’s full title is Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but readers of the book may find themselves a touch perplexed; apart from the characters the film seems to have little in common with Stoker’s story. A case of postmodern irony, or just a marketing strategy? I leave it for you to decide. The opening shots present viewers with Dracula’s (Gary Oldman) backstory, something which Stoker only hints at in the novel. Continue reading →
I vant to suck your blood… and varn you about ze spoilers ahead! (And also tell you zis book is #56 on my Classics Club list, bleh bleh).
On a dark and stormy night, in a castle in Transylvania, an English clerk named Jonathan Harker discovers a terrible secret about his host. It leads to an epic chase across the whole of Europe, from East to West, and back again. It’s the plot of Dracula, one of the most recognisable literary villains in history. Decades of literary criticism have shown us just how much there is to uncover in a book like Dracula. There’s no way I can possibly cover everything there is to find in a book like this, so I thought I’d start with some of the things which really caught my attention while I was reading.
Men Writing About Women Writing About Men (And Why It Always Makes Me Laugh)
In Dracula, women are everywhere. The plot revolves around two women in particular: Lucy Westenra and Mina Harker, the wife of Jonathan. In his characterisation of them, Stoker articulates anxieties about a range of issues, from Victorian sexuality to the fear of foreign invasion.* Continue reading →
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt from The Broke and the Bookish is a freebie, and seeing as I’ve recently come to the UK for a year of study, I thought I’d use this opportunity to share my list of top literary places I’d like to visit while I’m here. Whether I’ll be able to visit all (or any) of these remains to be seen; but like all travelling bookworms, I dream big.
Top Ten Literary Places I’d Like to Visit (in the UK)
Merry Christmas, my fellow book lovers! Now that the Festive Season is drawing to a slow, quiet end, I thought I’d share some more from my trip. I’ve spent the last few days in Europe visiting family. I’ve been without internet, which can be both liberating and stressful. If you’re the sort of person who checks the weather intermittently on their phone (as though by checking it every five minutes you can somehow control it), or can’t keep track of their spending without firing up a Google Doc, you’ll understand why I use the word ‘stressful’.
But that’s not why I’m here today. I want to talk about my last day in Dublin, which was actually much more than a week ago (but let’s pretend I’m more organised than that and I wrote this up sooner). We managed to get quite a few exciting literary-themed activities into the day. Our two main writers for the day were James Joyce and W.B. Yeats.
In the morning we set off for the north part of Dublin and a nondescript little row house which claimed to be The James Joyce Centre. The sign outside promised a veritable feast of activities: Continue reading →