Friday, November 10, 2006

Guardian Unlimited: Homage to Transylvania

Homage to Transylvania

Alfred Hickling, Elena Seymenliyska and Laura Wilson on Dracula's Guest and Other Weird Stories Incidences Midnight Cactus Big Breasts and Wide Hips Gagged & Bound Saturday November 11, 2006The Guardian

Dracula's Guest and Other Weird Stories by Bram Stoker (Penguin, £8.99)

Bram Stoker did not just write Dracula: there were also 13 other novels, a couple of biographies, two plays, a civil service manual and this volume of posthumously published stories; though you'd have to be a pretty dedicated fan of the undead to want to read them. There have been no end of spin-offs from Stoker's creation: Son of Dracula and Bride of Dracula were particularly dreadful, and here we find Draft of Dracula - a cancelled episode which may have been the novel's original opening chapter, in which a lone traveller has a narrow escape with a hell-hound on a mountain passage shrouded in "misty vagueness". The rest of the collection suggests that misty vagueness was what Stoker did best, though he could be quite exquisitely inept: "'I mean this,' said the doctor, 'that possibly - nay probably - we shall hear the great alarm bell sound tonight!' and he made about as effective an exit as could be thought of." Best of all is a chambermaid in a haunted bedroom who "flees incontinently". Connoisseurs of bad gothic fiction may find themselves damp with mirth. Alfred Hickling

http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,1944638,00.html

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