Friday, September 13, 2013

In The Footsteps Of Dracula, Part One

When I got almost to the top I could see the seat and the white figure, for I was now close enough to distinguish it even through the spells of shadow.  There was undoubtedly something, long and black, bending over the half-reclining white figure.  I called in fright, “Lucy! Lucy!” and something raised a head, and from where I was I could see a white face and red, gleaming eyes.

-Bram Stoker, Dracula



            Written by Bram Stoker in 1897, Dracula has become without a doubt one of my most beloved books.  In my youth, I had always shyed away from stories which touted the more frightening topics, recognizing that my own mind had the tendency to carry my imagination far beyond the words on the page.  Eventually, I convinced myself that it probably wouldn’t be overly frightening, having been written so long ago.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.

When reading old literature, it helps to understand the times that the author lived in.  In childhood, Bram learned about blood sucking fairies through his mother’s bedtime stories.  I could never imagine telling my children something as horrific as that, be it day or night.  My shock propelled me to further investigation.

            My love of history took over and as best as I could, I attempted to take my self out of my own times.  Dracula was written in the Victorian era when human mortality was very high, especially for children.  I believe that Bram Stoker used vampires as a way to explain the constant companion that death was to their everyday lives.  So why would a mother tell a child something as frightening as that?  Death was such a common reality, that there was probably no need to state the obvious.  And like any society in history, stories have a way of moving deeper into the human condition, transforming the obvious into fantasy.

            I always loved fantasy and science fiction but admittedly, I had not read any classic horror novels.  My reading of fantasy had been restricted, as white fangs salivated with immortal desire to penetrate my imagination further.  My imagination was indeed awakened to new depths, and presently I have read this book numerous times.  Of course, I prefer to read it during in the day and when I read it at night, I keep the hallway light on!

            Dracula was the beginning of vampire legends, inspiring many after it.  Imagination is endless in its immortality.  In this way, one never ages, never truly dies, and the human condition of death is free to move beyond the decay of this world, even beyond the grave.  In a wakening of consciousness, I did not see drops of blood flowing down my neck after the fangs struck, but drops of blackened ink as my mind shot open into boundless immortal fantasy.

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