Home » Fiction & Literature » Clive Leatherdale » Dracula: The Novel and the Legend - A Study of Bram Stoker's Gothic Masterpiece

April 24 , 2010

Dracula: The Novel and the Legend - A Study of Bram Stoker's Gothic Masterpiece


The resonant and awesome figure of Count Dracula. his Transylvanian lair, and his powers of supernatural evil, have imprinted themselves on the popular imagination, largely through the medium of the cinema. And yet, until now, no one has undertaken a detailed analysis of the source of our preconceptions about the greatest vampire of them all - "Dracula", by Bram Stoker, first published in 1897. This is the first in-depth critical study of Stoker's many-faceted novel, which has some claim to be one of the most influential books, at the level of popular culture, of the last hundred years. Dr Leatherdale begins by considering the folkloric and historical background of the novel and describes the development of the vampire legend in Europe and the life of the historical Dracula - the infamous Vlad the Impaler. He also provides a biographical account of Stoker himself and discusses the genesis of his most famous book. The main part of the study offers five interpretative perspectives, beginning with the pervasive and powerful sexual symbolism of the novel. Stoker's text is then analysed in terms of its Freudian overtones, its religious themes, its relationship to occult and literary myths, and its significance as a political and social allegory. For the student and general reader alike this is the ideal companion to what the authur argues is the cultural myth of the twentieth century. Reviews: "Leatherdale is thorough on picking up Dracula's many sexual symbols and echoes." (Times Literary Supplement). "This study should find itself on the shelves of all students of popular culture and literature." (British Book News). "The ever-intriguing, dark drama of Dracula never loses its hypnotic appeal under Leatherdale's direction." (Gothic). Leatherdale's exegesis of the Dracula phenomenon is absorbing." (Folklore).
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