“Oh, the terrible struggle that I have had against sleep so often of late; the pain of the sleeplessness, or the pain of the fear of sleep, and with such unknown horror as it has for me! How blessed are some people, whose lives have no fears, no dreads; to whom sleep is a blessing that comes nightly, and brings nothing but sweet dreams.”
― Bram Stoker, Dracula
The term vampire derives from the lean “vampyr”, from the Lithuanian word “wempti”, which means “to drink”, from the Turkish “uber”, “to be diabolical”, and from the Slavic root “pi”, “sorcerer. The mythology of the undead who, by infernal concession, can continue to live by feeding on the blood of the living, plants its oldest roots in the religiosity of the Slavic peoples, strongly linked to the cult of the dead.
Vampire literature (“Interview with the vampire” – “Twilight” – “The nights of Salem” – “The Disciple”) and cinematography (“From sunset to sunrise” – “Lost boys” – “30 days of darkness” – “Nosferatu”) are full, and for about ten years blood eaters – traditional or vegetarian – have also made their way into television series (“Angel” – “True Blood” – “The vampire diaries” – “AHS Hotel “-” The originals “), but perhaps not everyone knows that none of these products could have ever come to light without the progenitor: the first, fabulous, frightening, very long and demanding Bram Stoker epistolary novel” DRACULA “.
“It is a strange world, a sad world, a world full of miseries, and woes, and troubles. And yet when King Laugh come, he makes them all dance to the tune he plays. Bleeding hearts, and dry bones of the churchyard, and tears that burn as they fall, all dance together to the music that he makes with that smileless mouth of him. Ah, we men and women are like ropes drawn tight with strain that pull us different ways. Then tears come, and like the rain on the ropes, they brace us up, until perhaps the strain become too great, and we break. But King Laugh he come like the sunshine, and he ease off the strain again, and we bear to go on with our labor, what it may be.”
― Bram Stoker, Dracula
I LOVE vampires, they are perhaps – together with the witches – the supernatural beings that most fascinate me, even if I cannot explain why, perhaps because they are always elegant and composed, and pale like me. Yes, maybe it’s because I already look a little bit like these creatures that I identify myself with them.
If the vampire mythology is very ancient, its evolution is relatively recent and we owe it all to this imaginative writer who, having grown up in the theatre, made imagination his best weapon, giving us what almost immediately became “the classic Gothic” for excellence! Since the 1950s, the texts dedicated to this plot in red have not been counted, since popular culture has become the object of study and analysis.
Dracula is a mysterious and fascinating figure, despite being presented as an old hoary, the collective imagination seems to have always focused on the part where thanks to the blood of the living he can return to taking on young and beautiful appearances.
Despite the bad look, the hungry mouth, crowds of women have fallen in love with this character. And if the motivation is partly due to the directorial choices of the film versions, I will explain it less to those who have read the novel. His mental powers allow him to hit the night, in the time when dreams open the door to desire, which can quickly take on the colours of the nightmare.
Personally, I must admit that the reading of “Dracula“ was one of the most difficult as regards to the classics, for its epistolary form almost completely foreign to me. And for a complexity in the description so meticulously detailed which led me to the distraction more than once. But after the impact with the genre, the story captured me so much that I read it in one breath, looking forward to the battle, the hunt, supporting the strategies and sorrowing the losses.
I can’t tell you which side I leaned on, the charm of immortality is powerful, despite the high price to pay …
and the dear old dilemma about what is right and what is wrong, the fine line between good and evil, hung in the balance of doubt.
If there was a real possibility of becoming a Creature of the Night, would we go for it?
Here’s what we wonder at the end of this novel.
And we will be surprised at how not obvious the answer is.
Dracula must be read because it is the Prince of every vampire, of every transposition, invention, change. Although some writers or producers have tried alternative routes (from glittery vampires to those who cry blood from their eyes), there is always a bit of Stoker, a reference to the origins, to tradition.
Lovers of the horror genre cannot dodge this reading; it would be a very serious mistake.
“For life be, after all, only a waitin’ for somethin’ else than what we’re doin’; and death be all that we can rightly depend on.”
― Bram Stoker, Dracula
And then, it takes us to such enchanting places, never thought of, like Romania – in particular Transylvania, but also a hidden and mythological London.
I would like to resume the novel and read it between a train and an airplane – I certainly wouldn’ do it in a carriage – retracing its places, eating what they used to eat and listening to music that, as always in this genre of novels, is an important part of narrative climax.
It is not excluded that one day, backpacker, I will do it, for now, I continue to look for any – well done – derivation of this extraordinary Gothic novel.