Sunday, 1 June 2014

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Jonathan Harker's Journal

3 May. Bistritz. __Left Munich at 8:35 P. M, on 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6:46, but train was an hour late.

So the only conflict we have in the opening from this great novel is a late train. As this is presented as a journal, it's not really reasonable to expect the journal writer to begin with something like: I felt the fangs in my neck.

On the plus side, there is a character and some context and set up with the mention of a journey. But today's reader needs more than this to hook them, though who knows, Twilight is worse than this and it did well, so maybe all it takes to hook today is a reader mental meltdown.

The rest of the first paragraph:

Buda-Pesth seems a wonderful place, from the glimpse which I got of it from the train and the little I could walk through the streets. I feared to go very far from the station, as we had arrived late and would start as near the correct time as possible. The impression I had was that we were leaving the West and entering the East; the most western of splendid bridges over the Danube, which is here of noble width and depth, took us among the traditions of Turkish rule.

Having been to Buda-Pesth and Transylvania, I think I have an idea of what this narrator is going through. But anyone who hasn't been there may not, though the description is not bad, sprinkled with a few facts.

First thing said:

"The Herr Englishman?"

This is part of the series: the top 100 novels from Daniel S. Burt's book called Novel 100, the top 100 novels of all time. There is debate of course as to what should be on that list, but his opinions are as good as any. Dracula draws in at number 97.

Verdict: Fail

Theodore Moracht

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