Observations about the universe, life, Lausanne and me

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The New Annotated Dracula

While waiting for my new iPhone to arrive (what, you expect me to have a life without my favourite electronic toy?), I pass the time by reading Leslie S. Klinger's "New Annotated Dracula". And when it says annotated, it means annotated: for every page of the original, there are two to three pages of annotation, describing the end of the 19th century, expounding on places mentioned by Stoker, etc.

Klinger does something I was first leery of, but which really pays off: He pretends, that Dracula was real, and that he forced Stoker to change parts of the story to protect his identity. This plot device allows Klinger to go on meandering asides over the nature of vampires, the real location of Draculas castle, etc. without compromising the information you get about the times and Stokers writing process (here, it is pretended that he assembled 'Dracula' from Harker's notes).

"The New Annotated Dracula" is not a book you devour in one sitting, and I wouldn't recommend it to readers new to Bram Stoker's Dracula. But it is an excellent book if you are interested in the times, something to peruse for half an hour or so at a time. Also, it is amazingly satisfying to read a big, heavy hardcover book again. I do have one serious complaint about it, though: the publisher really should have included on of those built-in string bookmarks. All my other "serious" hardcovers are making fun of it over it's lack.

4 comments:

  1. I hate it when my hardcovers mock some of the less fortunate (although my hardcovers all seem to lack the automatic bookmark). What an interesting idea for a classic. Did they add illustrations, too?

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  2. Oh yes, there are many illustrations - anything from contemporary paintings to photos by the author of the countryside in Transylvania.
    There is a "New Annotated Sherlock Holmes" by the same author as well (using the same 'it really happened' premise), which I just might buy after I've finished Dracula!

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  3. I have interacted with the writer over email (since WebLiterature believes him to be a great authority of Dracula), and he is a really nice man too. He deserves all the laurels.

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