Is Bram Stoker's Dracula really that good?

Hero in a half shell

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DoPo said:
Wrath said:
I haven't heard anyone compare this to twillight and to be honest i don't see why one would do such a thing since (personal oppinions aside)they only have vampires in common.
Funnily, that's how they are being compared. Usually people point at Dracula as the way show vampires "right". And they are completely hilarious when they fail

?Yes, he is a vampire. Vampires, as they should be, are hideous predators that only seek to feed on humanity. The so called vegetarianism? that is present in Twilight offers no sustenance to a vampire. Also, when they go out in the daylight, they burn, not take a bath in a vat of rhinestones.?
(emphasis mine)
This is taken from NotAlwaysRight [http://notalwaysright.com/the-twilight-of-our-literacy-part-12/25052] and I just hope it was put on the website as a making fun of on both the girl and the guy who said this. In case other people read this and don't know what I'm talking about - Dracula does not burn in sunlight. This has never been any part of him (well, maybe in a movie, dunno - not the book though) - he is weakened in sunlight, yes, but that's about it - no actual harm sustained. For some reason, variants of this are too often repeated in Twilight discussions. It makes me sad.
One of the best things about Bram Stokers Dracula when I first read it was discovering all the ways Dracula actually differed from our modern ideas of a vampire. The whole ability to shapeshift, not just into a bat, but other animals like dogs and even a glimmer of moonlight (who said real vampires don't sparkle?!?) The way changing a person into a vampire required feeding off them for a long period of time to slowly drain them, and it was surprising the strength of the whole idea of sexual perversion in vampires, with the heavy hints that Dracula's harem were actually closely related to him, and the sense of attraction the men had when looking at a female vampire, to the point that the sexual attraction made it almost impossible to resist them.

For that alone I found the book fascinating, it wasn't scary or action packed, there was some suspense at times but in other places it dragged (I can't even remember the second half of the book) But it was written in a way that was easy to understand and digest, and the story flowed well enough to keep my attention.
 

AngloDoom

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PieBrotherTB said:
It's interesting enough, but certainly shows its age; much of the language seems abstract for its own sake, and you'll be reaching for the footnotes quite a few times, especially because Stoker writes northern/working class English accents in hilarious exaggerated phonetics and uses a lot of references to other works for no real reason.

That and it's a little light on motivation or characterisation, but I suppose taken at the time it was written, it might have been perhaps as straightforward as it's written.
Much better description than I could I have come up with. It's a good book, but not something I really enjoy. I've read practically every classic 'monster book' I could for an essay regarding the depiction of monsters throughout time and I considered Dracula to be the most dull.
 

DoPo

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Jan 30, 2012
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Wrath said:
I don't think i really need to go into much detail but i can easily say that i've heard it (and seen it for that matter)being praised as one of the books everyone should read on several occasions as well as being praised for being an excellent read something i find odd.Now i wouldn't say that going into a book with these expectations gives it much of a chance but if a book has been getting so much praise as to be called a Must Read then one might expect something out of it and that would only be natural.
1. If you're going to believe what absolutely anybody (who could very well be a nobody) tells you, may I have your credit card details? I'm a prince from...Zimbabwe here to tell you you won the lottery. Newsflash everything has people claiming it's "he best thing evar!". Even Twilight. In fact, it's even more pronounced with Twilight. I'm pretty sure if someone managed to copy an actual piece of shit into written form, or straight into video, there would be people to praise it.

How many people have said it? Two? I don't know, you make no mention. What exactly did they say? "OMG, liek it iz goooooooooooooood!!!111!!"? Because that might be an indication it isn't. You're being very vague all the time here, I'm thinking you probably saw it half a dozen times and then decided it must be true.

2. A "must read" does not mean good. I myself would say Dracula is a must read if you like vampires. I would not call it good, though - that's not the reason I'd suggest it at all. First of all, it's to give a glimpse of a more traditional vampires - before Hollywood. Second, because it does have some interesting nuggets there not often found in vampire fiction lately. Third, to actually get people to know anything about Dracula and not talk out of their asses (quote for that in my previous post).

I consider many things worth a read/listen/watch/etc - they don't qualify by being good but by having something to contribute. You can learn much from a bad book/game/whatever. You can also learn stuff from an average one, too. Dark Messiah of Might and Magic is by no means in my top games. It's not in my top worst games either. It's a big "meh" overall. And yet, it's still worth playing and if you're into RPG games, I'd recommend it - among other things, it breaks the "you learn about the world by poking living things with a sword" mentality many people don't realise they are stuck in. Similarly, Dracula breaks many conventions thoroughly present in a lot of modern media - helps bring a different perspective.

I'm becoming more and more convinced you set your expectations way high for no apparent reason. And now you're trying to blame whatever else that is not yourself for it. With all the vagueness and weaselling of words that's going on, I can't really help it.
 

anonymity88

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bastardofmelbourne said:
It's an epistolary novel, which is a style that has fallen waaaay out of fashion in modern times. It also suffers from early installment weirdness, because it predates the vast canon of vampire fiction.

As a book, I never thought terribly much of it. I think the basis of its popularity is that it has long since fallen into the public domain - nobody needs to license anything to make a Dracula movie or write a Dracula book. Same with Sherlock Holmes.

Really, the whole thing is a thinly veiled metaphor for foreign people coming and seducing our frigid Victorian wives to turn them into bloodlusty sluts. Kind of tasteless, really.
Agere with this post, the other argument is that its a thinly veiled message about sexually transmitted illnesses. All in all I found it an ok story badly written. I could offer some insightful criticism but it's late and I'm tired.
 

KEM10

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For people saying, "It was scary then you have just been desensitized because of modern culture, so give it some credit."

Poe wrote his novels and short stories before Dracula was published and they have held up better.

Dracula is dull and a rip off of even older Celtic legends (the scenery described isn't Germanic but North Irish), but is scarier because he modernized it and had you following a few people around in hopes you would get attached to them. Poe's descriptions and tone can still give people chills because you can almost feel the insanity and dread as they befall the protagonist (Cask of Amontillado and Tell-Tale Heart are two great examples).

Short version: Dracula is alright I guess, but there are better.
 

Johnny Novgorod

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I think this is another case of Seinfeld Is Unfunny.

[link]http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SeinfeldIsUnfunny[/link]

TvTropes to the rescue, OT!
 

Wrath

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1. If you're going to believe what absolutely anybody (who could very well be a nobody) tells you, may I have your credit card details? I'm a prince from...Zimbabwe here to tell you you won the lottery. Newsflash everything has people claiming it's "he best thing evar!". Even Twilight. In fact, it's even more pronounced with Twilight. I'm pretty sure if someone managed to copy an actual piece of shit into written form, or straight into video, there would be people to praise it.

How many people have said it? Two? I don't know, you make no mention. What exactly did they say? "OMG, liek it iz goooooooooooooood!!!111!!"? Because that might be an indication it isn't. You're being very vague all the time here, I'm thinking you probably saw it half a dozen times and then decided it must be true.

2. A "must read" does not mean good. I myself would say Dracula is a must read if you like vampires. I would not call it good, though - that's not the reason I'd suggest it at all. First of all, it's to give a glimpse of a more traditional vampires - before Hollywood. Second, because it does have some interesting nuggets there not often found in vampire fiction lately. Third, to actually get people to know anything about Dracula and not talk out of their asses (quote for that in my previous post).

I consider many things worth a read/listen/watch/etc - they don't qualify by being good but by having something to contribute. You can learn much from a bad book/game/whatever. You can also learn stuff from an average one, too. Dark Messiah of Might and Magic is by no means in my top games. It's not in my top worst games either. It's a big "meh" overall. And yet, it's still worth playing and if you're into RPG games, I'd recommend it - among other things, it breaks the "you learn about the world by poking living things with a sword" mentality many people don't realise they are stuck in. Similarly, Dracula breaks many conventions thoroughly present in a lot of modern media - helps bring a different perspective.

I'm becoming more and more convinced you set your expectations way high for no apparent reason. And now you're trying to blame whatever else that is not yourself for it. With all the vagueness and weaselling of words that's going on, I can't really help it.
So you're telling me that A) i shouldn't trust people's oppinions on subject that are being praised.B)That almost everything gets praised nowadays C)i should provide evidence and D)that there are good things for other reasons other than you know,being conventionally good.

Well :
A)If one doesn't use other people's oppinions as a basis on what is good and what isn't then it is easy to miss great things just because of that mentality.

B)Not everything gets praised;I mean sure,many things have a set audience and a set ammount of fans but not everything gets recognition and that works for both good and bad items on the list.

C)It is hard to find something i have found a couple of months ago on the internet and actually keeping documents on what people say isn't necessary.I guess you'll have to take my word for the fact that i've seen this book being presented as good.

D)You are outright wrong here.Though to an extent things can be used as means to teach something even if they aren't that good,you need to have at least a good product in a media that is primarily used to entertain.Also i don't see how you can make the "it's something different in this era where everything is the same" arguement while saying that one shouldn't compare it to the things of today.
Really your reasoning (and this is turning into an arguement so i'll end it here but feel free to comment if you want)is flawed and tbh i don't see why.You agreed that it is an influential book and that it isn't very good.
Undoubtedly i did go into this book with some expectations as i mentioned but we are still talking about a book that influenced a great part of our culture and still does to this day so any form of expectation,even great ones,aren't really enough to outweigh all the content for which this book is responsible.
 

Little Woodsman

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A couple of quick points:

Much of the horror in the original Dracula stemmed from the commonly held beliefs of souls, damnation, and redemption.
Most readers of the time considered their souls of utmost importance--after all whatever affected the soul would conceivably last for eternity, while anything of this world would pass away. In their belief system, even if a person
screwed up royally during their lifetime, they could repent still avoid being damned. Much of the horror of the
original Dracula stemmed from the idea that you could lose your eternal soul/be damned *because something BIT you*.
Even if a person didn't suffer eternal torment from the bite, their soul would be in torment for as long as their
vampire self existed. This is also what lends tension to the final race to intercept Dracula before he reaches his
castle, the heroes are trying to prevent her eternal torment.
Now if you don't believe in souls or they don't have a big presence in your consciousness, those parts won't affect
you much.

Dracula was one of the first novels (that I am aware of anyway) to have an establishment of canon within it--that is,
Professor Van Helsing shows up and explains/exposits "Our enemy is a Vampire. This is what vampires can do. This is
what they can't do. This is how they can be killed."
Variations of this are so common today that we don't even notice them, but at the time it was one of the few stories
where people had the rules of the game laid out for them, so that they knew what the protagonists were trying to deal
with.

Finally, we live in times that would scare the feces out of people from the time when the book was written.
Jack the Ripper--still talked about today--only killed six people. Nowadays that wouldn't even earn him his
psycho-bastard starter kit. Not to mention we live in a world where entire cities can be wiped out with the
press of a button. Imagine how a Victorian/Edwardian Londoner would have reacted to that idea.
(Interesting side note--when it was first released in Japan, the original Godzilla was considered a horror film,
when you think about it, that makes a lot of sense.)
 

DoPo

"You're not cleared for that."
Jan 30, 2012
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Wrath said:
So you're telling me that A) i shouldn't trust people's oppinions on subject that are being praised.
No, you shouldn't be as trusting as you seem to be about opinions of other people. Double check, at least, from different sources. And since you yourself don't even know where or how you came by that knowledge, I'd hazard a guess it wasn't that reputable to begin with. You took somebody's words for granted and now are complaining when it's not true. Well, gee, maybe I'm the one wrong here and maybe you should trust everything everybody says. Oh wait, that's what got you to this stage to begin with...hmm...

Wrath said:
B)That almost everything gets praised nowadays
Yes. You will find people praising whatever. Kind of undermines the entire concept of praising but there you go. It feeds into the previous point - don't take every praise for a worthy one.

Wrath said:
C)i should provide evidence
No, feel free to continue throwing "people" and "others" and vague statements about what "they" told you and so on. Sure, that makes your claims about "them" way more credible.

Wrath said:
D)that there are good things for other reasons other than you know,being conventionally good.
There are...what? No...and yes. There are works that are not good yet merit attention. You went and twisted my words there - these two things are different.

Recently I read Proverbial Monsters - it's a supplement for a roleplaying game (the World of Darkness, actually. Anyway) which is...quite underwhelming so to say. It's probably going to be even more so for people not into the WoD. However, there are elements I took from there which are quite interesting. As a supplement, it's sub par at best - I wouldn't recommend it. As something you can learn - yeah, although it's not exactly worth the 5 dollars, I'd say. I've played Spells of Gold - the game is around average at best, probably below by now, not to mention it had the most annoying feature (or lack of) in the face of not ever telling you how to get any spells. It's in the friggin' title, and a third of the character progression is based on that, yet there was no mention in or out of the game (the manual) as to how to actually get them (you actually had to press Tab in the temple - yeah, I got that from a review I read after I finished it). But the game offers an interesting mechanic - the player can gain levels in three different disciplines - combat, magic and trading. That's certainly a novel idea there and has other gimmicks like gods to worship and some more. It's something very few RPGs have actually done. Well, none I can think of, really - except Spells of Gold. I don't like Extra Credits - a lot of their advice is sort of wishy washy and not expanded to in sufficient detail, I find. Yet, it does bring up interesting topics and even if it glosses over them, it's worth hearing about.

These three are bad[footnote]Except EC, perhaps - it's just not for my taste, that one[/footnote] - not appallingly bad but below average and probably not worth at face value. What they actually offer, though, is under the surface and not really intended, I believe. Still, they are not good - they do, however, have valuable elements one can take out. That's the distinction you chose to ignore and twist there.