written by: Bram Stoker
|Dracula (1897) is a novel by Irish author Bram Stoker and the name of the world's most famous vampire character . Dracula has been attributed to many literary genres including horror fiction, the gothic novel and invasion literature. Structurally it is an epistolary novel, that is, told as a series of diary entries and letters. Literary critics have examined many themes in the novel, such as the role of women in Victorian culture, sexuality, immigration and folklore. Although Stoker did not invent the vampire, the novel's influence on the popularity of vampires has been singularly responsible for scores of theatrical and movie interpretations throughout the 20th century.|
written by: Elizabeth Kostova
If your pulse flutters at the thought of castle ruins and descents into crypts by moonlight, you will savor every creepy page of Elizabeth Kostova's long but beautifully structured thriller The Historian. The story opens in Amsterdam in 1972, when a teenage girl discovers a medieval book and a cache of yellowed letters in her diplomat father's library. The pages of the book are empty except for a woodcut of a dragon. The letters are addressed to: "My dear and unfortunate successor." When the girl confronts her father, he reluctantly confesses an unsettling story: his involvement, twenty years earlier, in a search for his graduate school mentor, who disappeared from his office only moments after confiding to Paul his certainty that Dracula–Vlad the Impaler, an inventively cruel ruler of Wallachia in the mid-15th century–was still alive. The story turns out to concern our narrator directly because Paul's collaborator in the search was a fellow student named Helen Rossi (the unacknowledged daughter of his mentor) and our narrator's long-dead mother, about whom she knows almost nothing. And then her father, leaving just a note, disappears also.
As well as numerous settings, both in and out of the East Bloc, Kostova has three basic story lines to keep straight–one from 1930, when Professor Bartolomew Rossi begins his dangerous research into Dracula, one from 1950, when Professor Rossi's student Paul takes up the scent, and the main narrative from 1972. The criss-crossing story lines mirror the political advances, retreats, triumphs, and losses that shaped Dracula's beleaguered homeland–sometimes with the Byzantines on top, sometimes the Ottomans sometimes the rag-tag local tribes, or the Orthodox church, and sometimes a fresh conqueror like the Soviet Union.
Although the book is appropriately suspenseful and a delight to read–even the minor characters are distinctive and vividly seen–its most powerful moments are those that describe real horrors. Our narrator recalls that after reading descriptions of Vlad burning young boys or impaling "a large family," she tried to forget the words: "For all his attention to my historical education, my father had neglected to tell me this: history's terrible moments were real. I understand now, decades later, that he could never have told me. Only history itself can convince you of such a truth." The reader, although given a satisfying ending, gets a strong enough dose of European history to temper the usual comforts of the closing words. – Regina Marle
3. Interview with the Vampire
written by: Anne Rice
Interview with the Vampire is a novel by Anne Rice written in 1973 and published in 1976 by Alfred A. Knopf. The book centers on themes of immortality, loss, sexuality, and power. It quickly became a cult success, with a huge influence on present Goth culture. It was followed by several sequels, collectively known as The Vampire Chronicles.
The novel was set apart from its predecessors of the vampire genre by its confessional tone from the vampire's perspective, touching on existential despair and the sheer boredom of lifeless immortality.
4. Vlad Dracula: The Dragon Prince
written by: Michael Augustyn
Most of the vast audience attracted to the subject of Dracula know him only in his fictional, one-dimensional form: vampire! Yet the truth behind the historical character–voevode, warlord–of 15th C. Romania is at least as equally fascinating as any contrived account of his supernatural persona.
Vlad Dracula faithfully follows his life story as hostage, fugitive, prince, and prisoner. His principality of Wallachia was caught between two voracious predators: the kingdom of Hungary and the Ottoman empire. They tried to break Dracula with overwhelming force and terror. But Dracula turned their own tactics against them, and against criminals and factions in his own land, earning the name Tepes-The Impaler-in the process.
He was a strange mix of husband, father, soldier, statesman, and berserker. He annihilated 50,000 people–one-tenth of his own population. Cursed by his native Orthodox Christian Church, he indeed evolved into a legend. But even today he is Romania's Robin Hood.
5. Salem's Lot
written by: Stephen King
|Stephen King's second novel, Salem's Lot, is the story of a mundane town under siege from the forces of darkness. Considered one of the most terrifying vampire novels ever written, it cunningly probes the shadows of the human heart — and the insular evils of small-town America.|
6. In Search of Dracula : The History of Dracula and Vampires
written by: Radu Florescu, Raymond T. McNally
|The true story behind the legend of Dracula – a biography of Prince Vlad of Transylvania, better known as Vlad the Impaler. This revised edition now includes entries from Bram Stoker's recently discovered diaries, the amazing tale of Nicolae Ceausescu's attempt to make Vlad a national hero, and an examination of recent adaptations in fiction, stage and screen.|
7. Bram Stoker: A Biography of the Author of Dracula
written by: Barbara Belford
The first full-scale biography of the complex man known today as the author of Dracula, but who was famous in his own time as the innovative manager of London's Lyceum Theatre, home of the greatest English actors of the day, Henry Irving and Ellen Terry.
Barbara Belford tells the story of Stoker the hidden man. On the surface: the very model of Victorian modesty, reserve, and duty, the devoted husband and father. In actuality: a man whose emotional and working energies were in large part expended on the care and cultivation of the flamboyant, mesmerizing genius of the stage, Henry Irving.
We see Stoker the writer of novels and stories that were imbued with sexuality, violence, and the celebration of death — works at opposite poles from the decorum he presented in society. And Barbara Belford shows us in Dracula a mirror of the undercurrents of Stoker's own life, as well as a masked exploration of subjects utterly forbidden in his time — seduction, rape, necrophilia, incest, voyeurism — universal taboos dramatized with such a myth-making edge that the novel remains resonant and unsettling almost one hundred years later.
We follow Stoker from his sickly childhood -entertained by his mother's twice-told tales of Irish hobgoblins and banshees — to his years as a Dublin undergraduate and newspaperman, when he first wrote to his idol Wait Whitman, spilling out his innermost thoughts and beginning a lifelong correspondence that culminated in their meeting when Stoker traveled to America on tour with Irving and Ellen Terry. We see Stoker's childhood friendship with Oscar Wilde, and watch as the two young men compete for the hand of the beautiful Florence Balcombe, who became Stoker's wife. And we see Stoker in the literary and theatrical circles of Victorian London among such figures as Mark Twain, Arthur Conan Doyle, James Whistler, Lord Tennyson, and George Bernard Shaw.
Belford gives us a vivid picture of the man, his time, his London — the domestic and theatrical worlds he lived in — and the dark imaginary realms that were the wellspring of all his writings, especially of his enduring and enduringly fascinating Dracula.
8. I Am Dracula
written by: C. Andersson
|An incredible theory of the life/undeath of Dracula, but so much more than that. A theory of the world we live in, the powers that be. The views given of God and Satan are disturbingly probable.|
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