Book Beginnings: Dracula by Bram Stoker

JONATHAN HARKER’S JOURNAL

(Kept in shorthand)

3 May. Bistritz. – Left Munich at 8.35 pm on 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6.46, but the train was an hour late. Buda-Pesth seems a wonderful place, from the glimpse which I got of it from the train and the little I could walk through the streets. I feared to go very far from the station, as we had arrived late and would start as near the correct time as possible. The impression I got was that we were leaving the West and entering the East; the most Western part of splendid bridges over the Danube, which is here of noble width and depth, took us among the traditions of Turkish rule.

With such an ordinary straight forward paragraph Bram Stoker begins his Gothic novel of the tale of Count Dracula and the Un-Dead.

I have no interest whatsoever in the modern vampire books, but for a while now I have been thinking about reading Dracula and now in the middle of Carl’s RIP Challenge I decided the time had come.

The opening surprised me a little, so matter-of-fact and such attention to detail. So I knew from the start that this was going to be a meticulously detailed book and that the character of Jonathan Harker was going to be that of a reliable narrator. I also guessed that after such a factual start Jonathan’s Journal would reveal more startling and scary events – well, this is Dracula! And it’s not long before he is on his way to Castle Dracula, his journey accompanied by queer dreams and warnings to go no further. As he approaches the castle he ‘felt a sort of paralysis of fear.’

I’m reading a hard-back copy of Dracula. There are many editions available and the link above is to the Kindle original and unabridged version.

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Katy at A Few More Pages.

6 thoughts on “Book Beginnings: Dracula by Bram Stoker

  1. Margaret – I agree with you about the modern vampire stories; I’m really not much for them. But this is a classic and I hope you’ll enjoy it.

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  2. I love Dracula! Wonderfully atmospheric book, and I like the way that it’s told by different narrators to try and convince the reader of the truth of what happened. And there are all those undertones of the ‘foreign’ contaminating the English – truly fascinating. Plus… is he really dead at the end? Enjoy!

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