This is a reread for me and I so glad that my Masters degree has a Vampire module. I think this is a fantastic book and truly deserves to be a classic. There was so much more to get from it on a second reading, especially since I researched the time and culture when Stoker wrote the book. Without knowing more about fin de siecle society I wouldn’t have understood the themes explored by Stoker e.g. the fear of immigration, anti-semitism, the New Woman, new technology and medical practices, as well as a good chunk of folklore and gothic chills.
I must admit the Francis Ford Coppola Dracula film was always in my mind when I was reading the book, but I reckon that is a compliment to the film, as it was so well done; in the same way that David Suchet will always be Poirot to me. The film stayed true to the book and it is interesting to see how the characters were interpreted.
One thing I had forgotten was how much Stoker reinforces the Victorian Stereotype that all women are weak and feeble; this time it really stood out. It’s annoying and you want to be angry with him in a very feminist contemporary mindset but I also wonder if he’s doing this to contrast his characters effectively. The delicate, chaste, male-dependant woman was the ideal in Victorian society and he uses this to good effect to show a significant contrast with the stronger, erotically depicted female vampires. He also highlights the more subtle differences between Lucy and Mina. Lucy is portrayed as a New Woman and is therefore flirtatious and morally questionable, whereas Mina is the perfect wife and ‘Angel in the Home’.
If you haven’t yet read this classic then I really would recommend it and do a little background reading, it will give you much more of an insight to the book and its themes.