Thursday, November 8, 2012

Happy Birthday, Bram.

 Today, November 8, 2012 is author Bram Stoker's 165th birthday. A day which has brought us a quite thoughtful Google doodle, and-- to my welcomed surprise-- a popular interest in Stoker's life and work online and in social media. 

Stoker has always been one of my favorite writers, even though I have read so little of his work other than "Dracula." As a man, Bram lived an incredibly interesting life-- one that would take many blog posts to get into, and one I am always looking to read more about. (I currently have an appealing and large biography of him sitting on one of my many bookshelves.)

 In looking through clips and passages and images to mark this post for Stoker's birthday, one comes up with a lot. Few other novels have been capable of creating a character which becomes larger than the book itself-- larger than the other books written because of it, than the movies made based on it, and so on. Although the legend and mythology of the vampire predated Stoker's work, Count Dracula has become synonomous with vampires, and certainly stands as the father of all modern appearances of vampires in popular culture-- as well as the father, in many regards, of modern horror in general. Devices that appear revolutionary in modern horror such as the pseudo-documentary that claims to be real evidence (for instance, the film "The Blair Witch Project") was done years ago with "Dracula" a novel written as all first hand accounts and diary/journal entires. At once, Stoker's novel is atmospheric, truly perfect Gothic horror tale; and, a very worthy piece of serious literature. I've written a bit about readings of "Dracula"-- there is so much in the novel; social commentary on what it means to fear the other (nationally, ethinically, sexually, religiously) abounds, but never hinders the effect the novel has at being such a successful horror story.

 I have many copies of "Dracula," and often can't resist buying new ones I see because I like a cover or a design. Perhaps my favorite copy (other than the worn paperback I devoured in grammar school when I first read it) is this hardback copy featuring the Edward Gorey illustrations. For all the wonderful movies spawned from "Dracula," all the pop-culture art and so on, there is nothing that has ever come up to the experience of reading the book. "3 May. Bistritz. - Left Munich at 8.35..."

 Happy Birthday, Bram.

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