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At the Circulating Library

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

Title: Dracula

Author and Title: Bram Stoker. Dracula

First Edition: London: Archibald Constable, 1897. 1 volume, cr. 8vo., 6s.

Summary: One of the most popular horror novels ever written. The story is composed, like the sensation novels of Wilkie Collins, of a collection of documents by the various characters. A young lawyer Jonathan Harker goes to Transylvania to visit a client Count Dracula at his isolated and gothic castle. Dracula plans to buy an estate and immigrate to England. Harker witnesses a number of mysterious events while there including the lack of servants, the absence of Dracula's reflection, and his confinement to a set of rooms. In his investigations, he meets three voluptuous women who attempt to seduce him until he is rescued by Dracula, and he later sees Dracula exit the castle by climbing down the walls. By this point, Harker fears for his life. He scales down the wall and discovers Dracula's crypt. Harker's narrative ends with his decision to escape the castle. Back in England, the novel introduces Dr. John Seward the head of a lunatic asylum and his strange "zoophagous" patient Renfield; Mina Murray the fiance of Jonathan Harker; and Lucy Westenra and her admirers the American Quincey Morris and the Hon. Arthur Holmwood. Lucy receives three proposals in one day from Seward, Morris, and Holmwood and accepts the latter man for her husband. Mina and Lucy take a vacation to Whitby. While there, a sudden and powerful storm beaches a Russian ship: everyone on the ship has disappeared save the captain lashed to the wheel. The ship's log records the doomed ship's history, its cargo of fifty boxes of earth, and the mysterious presence of an evil force on the ship. Shortly after, Lucy takes to sleepwalking: on one occasion, Mina finds Lucy in the graveyard. Back in London, Lucy wastes away. Seward calls in his teacher Professor Abraham Van Helsing to consult on the case. Van Helsing immediately deduces the cause of her illness (which for the time he conceals) and begins a series of blood transfusions (in turn, Seward, Van Helsing, Morris, and Holmwood). Despite their efforts, Lucy dies. Soon after, the newspapers report a "bloofer lady" attacking children. Seward and Van Helsing investigate and find Lucy is the culprit. Van Helsing explains to the men that Lucy is un-dead, a vampire, and she must be destroyed. They put a stake through her heart, cut off her head, and re-seal her tomb. Meantime, Mina hears that Jonathan has arrived in Budapest gravely ill. She rushes to his side, nurses him, and marries him. Jonathan entrusts his journal to Mina (who dutifully types copies). When they return to London, the couple joins Van Helsing and the others to destroy Dracula. Systematically, the group sanctify Dracula's boxes of earth (necessary for his rest) at his estate, a house in Pall Mall, and two locations in the East End. Dracula, not to be beaten, attacks Mina and she begins to transform into a vampire. Thwarted, Dracula flees with his last box back to his castle. The group run him down near sunset in sight of his castle. Harker and Morris kill Dracula. Morris dies from wounds received and Mina recovers fully from her curse. (TJB)

Title Tags:

References: BL; EC; Sutherland


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