30 September 2009

What's it about?

What's Dracula really about?  Every time I have read it, I seem to have read a different book.  The last time I read Dracula was about 5 years ago, and I was floored by the sexual subtext.  About that time I saw a stage production of the novel which positively dwelled on Mina and Lucy's sexual awakening, and I became convinced Stoker's book was designed to be warn Victorian women about the dangers of promiscuity, or even orgasm.  I began to question my whole beloved vampire genre.   As much as I adore vampire movies (oh, and I do love them), I've never seen an adaptation of Dracula that doesn't make the sexual overtones common by simply making the Count sexy. It's so obvious- and lazy. The steamy sex story that I thought framed the novel is about the heroine and her libido, not her falling for the accent and piercing gaze of some Frank Langella hottie. Only the incredible "Nosferatu" has any of the kinky intention I read in Bram Stoker's story. (Watch the whole film below!)
But of course I first read Dracula in 7th grade- and I didn't see the sex then- it was just a delicious aura around the castles, haunted ships, and ghosts of a great dismal yarn. I read it about the same time I read Wuthering Heights, and innumerable treacly Victorian romances, and it all created for me a nostalgic miasma of darkness and love and despair and sighs.  When I reread Dracula in my early twenties I was shocked at how much I had forgotten or just never noticed, so much weirdness, and the romance so...blah.  Boring, even.  Then came my overly critical early thirties reading.
And here I am, at 36, rereading it again for Infinite Summer, for the month of October.  I am so excited to revisit my old friends.

-- Posted from my iPhone