Ghost Stories from the Archives: Dracula not likely to leave room for imitators

Ghost Stories from the ArchivesGhost Stories from the Archives
Ghost Stories from the Archives

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The Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail published this 1897 review of the new book Dracula which is astonishing in hindsight.

Most people are familiar with the stories of the awful doings in the Dark Ages of the werewolf and the Vampires; those strange beings from the other world which took human form and sucked away the lives of unwary men, women, and children they slept in their beds.

But the creatures were of German origin, for even in the old days their habitat was the out-of-the-world corners of Transylvania.

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Mr. Bram Stoker, in his new book Dracula (Archibald Constable and Co., Westminster, 6s.), treats vampires, however, as present-day troubles, and not merely as pests of gone ages.

They are introduced to the reader in London, and are fully up-to-date with nineteenth century civilisation.

The Vampires are indeed horrible, repulsive beings, according to Mr. Bram Stoker. They have human bodies, often of fascinating attractiveness, and yet there is in them a spectral character, being so shadowy that they are not reflected in a looking-glass.

They generally dwell in the graves to which they were consigned in the regular way when they first assumed the semblance of death (or in specially prepared receptacles wherein they can fulfil the essentials of vampire life), but in the night time they roam about in search of throats from which to suck the blood which is essential to their awful existence, even as it is to the life of the great vampire bat of South America.

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Altogether “Dracula” may be fairly described as the sensation of the period. It is full of horrors, which make one’s blood curdle to read them, but unfortunately when he has done with his nineteenth century vampires or werewolves, Mr. Bram Stoker consigns them to their original dust, and there let us hope they will remain.

The impossibilities of the subject are bandied with such fertility and ingeunity that Dracula is not likely leave room for imitators and Mr. Stoker’s vampire will remain unique amongst the tenors which paralyse our nerves at bedtime.

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