In his first work since his best-selling The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, Leslie S. Klinger returns with this spectacular, lavishly illustrated homage to Bram Stoker's Dracula. With a daring conceit, Klinger accepts Stoker's contention that the Dracula tale is based on historical fact.Read more...
In his first work since his best-selling The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, Leslie S. Klinger returns with this spectacular, lavishly illustrated homage to Bram Stoker's Dracula. With a daring conceit, Klinger accepts Stoker's contention that the Dracula tale is based on historical fact. Traveling through two hundred years of popular culture and myth as well as graveyards and the wilds of Transylvania, Klinger's notes illuminate every aspect of this haunting narrative (including a detailed examination of the original typescript of Dracula, with its shockingly different ending, previously unavailable to scholars). Klinger investigates the many subtexts of the original narrative from masochistic, necrophilic, homoerotic, "dentophilic," and even heterosexual implications of the story to its political, economic, feminist, psychological, and historical threads. Employing the superb literary detective skills for which he has become famous, Klinger mines this 1897 classic for nuggets that will surprise even the most die-hard Dracula fans and introduce the vampire-prince to a new generation of readers."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 48.
- Review Date: 2008-08-25
- Reviewer: Staff
Klinger brings the same impressive breadth of knowledge that distinguished The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes to this definitive examination of one of the classic horror novels of all time. Adopting the conceit that Stoker's narrative is based on fact, Klinger elucidates the plot and historical context for both Stoker devotees and those more familiar with Count Dracula from countless popular culture versions. Because he had privileged access to the typescript Stoker delivered to his publisher, Klinger is able to note changes between it and the first edition and comment on the reasons for them. Through close reading, Klinger raises questions about such matters as the role of lead vampire-hunter Van Helsing and whether the villainous count is actually dispatched at book's end. An introduction by Neil Gaiman, numerous illustrations, essays on topics ranging from Dracula in the movies to the academic response, and much more enhance the package. 8-city author tour. (Oct.)
A story to make you shiver
Leslie S. Klinger's great virtue as an editor is his sublimely willful and scrupulous disregard for the boundary between historical fact and literary falsehood. In The New Annotated Dracula, he reprises the same "gentle fiction" (as he calls it) of his earlier annotated Sherlock Holmes, treating Stoker's novel as nonfiction: real events happening to real persons. After a brief preface in which he explains his trick, Klinger's edition becomes a surreal treat, exploiting the "real-life" flavor of the book's succession of journal entries and letters. The horror of Stoker's deathless chronicle radiates into the margins, where Klinger's copious and deadpan efforts to elucidate the narrative's context and complexity ring with the authority of a Talmudic commentary on this unholiest of scriptures.
So many commentators on Dracula (whom Klinger, with his comprehensive knowledge of the literature, gratefully cites) have marveled over and tried to explain the book's peculiar power and endurance in our culture, all the more bewildering in light of its author's absolute mediocrity in every one of his other publications. For the subsequent history of horror fiction, one of the most influential aspects of Stoker's work must be its thrilling psychological insight into our fear of the Other.