When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula purchase a London house he makes horrifying and unbelievable discoveries in his client's castle. In the ensuing battle of wits between the sinister Count and a determined group of adversaries, Bram Stoker presents a classic gothic... read more
The story is mainly composed of journal entries and letters written by several narrators who also serve as the novel's main protagonists; Stoker supplemented the story with occasional newspaper clippings to relate events not directly witnessed by the story's characters. The tale begins with... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
The story is mainly composed of journal entries and letters written by several narrators who also serve as the novel's main protagonists; Stoker supplemented the story with occasional newspaper clippings to relate events not directly witnessed by the story's characters. The tale begins with Jonathan Harker, a newly qualified English solicitor, journeying by train and carriage from England to Count Dracula's crumbling, remote castle (situated in the Carpathian Mountains on the border of Transylvania, Bukovina and Moldavia). The purpose of his mission is to provide legal support to Dracula for a real estate transaction overseen by Harker's employer, Peter Hawkins, of Exeter in England. At first enticed by Dracula's gracious manner, Harker soon discovers that he has become a prisoner in the castle. He also begins to see disquieting facets of Dracula's nocturnal life. One night while searching for a way out of the castle, and against Dracula's strict admonition not to venture outside his room at night, Harker falls under the spell of three wanton female vampires, the Brides of Dracula. He is saved at the last second by the Count, because he wants to keep Harker alive just long enough to obtain needed legal advice and teachings about England and London (Dracula's planned travel destination was to be among the "teeming millions"). Harker barely escapes from the castle with his life. Not long afterward, a Russian ship, the Demeter, having weighed anchor at Varna, runs aground on the shores of Whitby, England, during a fierce tempest. All of the crew are missing and presumed dead, and only one body is found, that of the captain tied to the ship's helm. The captain's log is recovered and tells of strange events that had taken place during the ship's journey. These events led to the gradual disappearance of the entire crew apparently owing to a malevolent presence on board the ill-fated ship. An animal described as a large dog is seen on the ship leaping ashore. The ship's cargo is described as silver sand and boxes of "mould", or earth, from Transylvania.
Soon Dracula is tracking Harker's devoted fiancée, Wilhelmina "Mina" Murray, and her friend, Lucy Westenra. Lucy receives three marriage proposals in one day, from Dr. John Seward; Quincey Morris; and the Hon. Arthur Holmwood (later Lord Godalming). Lucy accepts Holmwood's proposal while turning down Seward and Morris, but all remain friends. There is a notable encounter between Dracula and Seward's patient Renfield, an insane man who means to consume insects, spiders, birds, and other creatures — in ascending order of size — in order to absorb their "life force". Renfield acts as a motion sensor, detecting Dracula's proximity and supplying clues accordingly.
Lucy begins to waste away suspiciously. All her suitors fret, and Seward calls in his old teacher, Professor Abraham Van Helsing from Amsterdam. Van Helsing immediately determines the cause of Lucy's condition but refuses to disclose it, knowing that Seward's faith in him will be shaken if he starts to speak of vampires. Van Helsing tries multiple blood transfusions, but they are clearly losing ground. On a night when Van Helsing must return to Amsterdam (and his message to Seward asking him to watch the Westenra household is accidentally sent to the wrong address), Lucy and her mother are attacked by a wolf. Mrs Westenra, who has a heart condition, dies of fright, and Lucy apparently dies soon after.
Lucy is buried, but soon afterward the newspapers report children being stalked in the night by a "bloofer lady" (as they describe it), i.e. "beautiful lady". Van Helsing, knowing that this means Lucy has become a vampire, confides in Seward, Lord Godalming and Morris. The suitors and Van Helsing track her down, and after a disturbing confrontation between her vampiric self and Arthur, they stake her heart, behead her, and fill her mouth with garlic.
Around the same time, Jonathan Harker arrives home from recuperation in Budapest (where Mina joined and married him after his escape from the castle); he and Mina also join the coalition, who turn their attentions to dealing with Dracula.
After Dracula learns of Van Helsing and the others' plot against him, he takes revenge by visiting—and biting— Mina at least three times. Dracula also feeds Mina his blood, creating a spiritual bond between them to control her. The only way to forestall this is to kill Dracula first. Mina slowly succumbs to the blood of the vampire that flows through her veins, switching back and forth from a state of consciousness to a state of semi-trance during which she is telepathically connected with Dracula. It is this connection that they start to use to deduce Dracula's movements. It is only possible to detect Dracula's surroundings when Mina is put under hypnosis by Van Helsing. This ability gradually gets weaker as the group makes their way to Dracula's castle.
Dracula flees back to his castle in Transylvania, followed by Van Helsing's group, who manage to track him down just before sundown and destroy him by shearing "through the throat" with a knife and stabbing him in the heart also with a knife. Dracula crumbles to dust, his spell is lifted; yet Mina's marks do not yet disappear. Quincey Morris is killed in the final battle, stabbed by Gypsies who had been charged with returning Dracula to his castle; only then does the curse lift from Mina. The survivors return to England.
The book closes with a note about Mina and Jonathan's married life and the birth of their first-born son, whom they name after all four members of the party, but refer to only as Quincey in remembrance of their American friend.
Whilst reading this book for the fifth or sixth time, I couldn't help but marvel how efficient the Postal and the Telegraph Services were back in the days of my great-grandparents. Not to mention the fact that the trains actually ran on time!
“All I could do now was to be patient, and to wait the coming of the morning.”Jonathan Harker
“The further east you go the more unpunctual are the trains.”Jonathan Harker
“Judge Moneybag will settle this case, I think!”Jonathan Harker
“Being proposed to is all very nice and all that sort of thing, but it isn’t at all a happy thing when you have to see a poor fellow, whom you know loves you honestly, going away and looking all broken-hearted, and to know that, no matter what he may say at the moment, you are passing quite out of his life.”Lucy
“Ah, we men and women are like ropes drawn tight with strain that pulls us different ways. Then tears come; and, like the rain on the ropes, they brace us up, until perhaps the strain become too great, and we break. But King Laugh he come like the sunshine, and he ease off the strain again; and we bear to go on with our labour, what it may be.”Van Helsing
“I suppose a cry does us all good at times – clears the air as other rain does.”
“We women have something of the mother in us that makes us rise above smaller matters when the mother-spirit is invoked; I felt this big, sorrowing man’s head resting on me, as though it were that of the baby that some day may lie on my bosom, and I stroked his hair as though he were my own child. I never thought at the time how strange it all was.”Mina
“A brave man’s hand can speak for itself; it does not even need a woman’s love to hear its music.”
“I don't want to talk to you: you don't count now; the Master is at hand.”Mr. Renfield
“The blood is the life!”Mr. Renfield
“My revenge has just begun! I spread it over centuries and time is on my side.”
“We learn from failure, not from success!”Van Helsing
“Alone with the dead! I dare not go out, for I can hear the low howl of the wolf through the broken window”Lucy Westenra
“I saw... Count Dracula... with red light of triumph in his eyes, and with a smile that Judas in hell might be proud of.”Jonathan Harker
“No man knows till he experiences it, what it is like to feel his own life-blood drawn away into the woman he loves.”
“Whether it is the old lady's fear, or the many ghostly traditions of this place, or the crucifix itself, I do not know, but I am not feeling nearly as easy in mind as usual.”Jonathan Harker
“What manner of man is this, or what manner of creature, is it in the semblance of man? I feel the dread of this horrible place overpowering me. I am in fear, in awful fear, and there is no escape for me. I am encompassed about with terrors that I dare not think of.”Jonathan Harker
“I have learned not to think little of any one’s belief, no matter how strange it be. I have tried to keep an open mind; and it is not the ordinary things of life that could close it, but the strange things, the extraordinary things. The things that make one doubt if they be mad or sane.”Van Helsing
“You reason well, and your wit is bold; but you are too prejudiced. You do not let your eyes see nor your ears hear, and that which is outside your daily life is not of account to you. Do you not think that there are things which you cannot understand, and yet which are; that some people see things that others cannot? But there are things old and new which must not be contemplate by men’s eyes, because they know – or think they know – some things which other men have told them. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain. But yet we see around us every day the growth of new beliefs, which think themselves new; and which are yet but the old, which pretend to be young – like the fine ladies at the opera.”Van Helsing
“I suppose there is something in a woman's nature that makes a man free to break down before her and express his feelings on the tender or emotional side without feeling it derogatory to his manhood.”
“But we are face to face with duty, and in such case must we shrink?”Van Helsing
“Listen to te children of the night. What sweet music they make!”Vlad Dracul in our tounge
Chapter I Jonathan Harker's Journal
Chapter II Jonathan Harker's Journal
Chapter III Jonathan Harker's Journal
Chapter IV Jonathan Harker's Journal
Chapter V Letter from Miss Mina Murray to Miss Lucy Westenra
Chapter VI Mina Murray's Journal
Chapter VII Cutting from the Dailygraph, 8 August
Chapter VIII Mina Murray's Journal
Chapter IX Letter, Mina Harker to Lucy Westenra
Chapter X Letter, Dr Seward to the Hon. Arthur Holmwood
Chapter XI Lucy Westenra's Diary
Chapter XII Dr Seward's Diary
Chapter XIII Dr Seward's Diary
Chapter XIV Mina Harker's Journal
Chapter XV Dr Seward's Diary
Chapter XVI Dr Seward's Diary
Chapter XVII Dr Seward's Diary
Chapter XVIII Dr Seward's Diary
Chapter XIX Jonathan Harker's Journal
Chapter XX Jonathan Harker's Journal
Chapter XXI Dr Seward's Diary
Chapter XXII Jonathan Harker's Journal
Chapter XXIII Dr Seward's Diary
Chapter XXIV Dr Seward's Phonograph Diary, spoken by Van Helsing
Chapter XXV Dr Seward's Diary
Chapter XXVI Dr Seward's Diary
Chapter XXVII Mina Harker's Journal
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