What are you Reading Wednesday: Dracula–When a Vampire was a Vampire

July 1, 2009

By Andrea Cohn, head cataloger at the Indiana Humanities Council

Have you noticed that Vampires have been getting a lot of good press lately? They are the Hollywood it thing at the moment. And, I must confess, ever since “Interview with a Vampire,” I haven’t quite been able to shake the image of Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise as smooth-talking, well-dressed night stalkers. But something has happened lately to the Vampire — he/she has been made more human than horror.

There is now a vampire for everyone, not just the horror crowd or the “Goth” click. They even have the Twilight saga, a cleaned-up version of the charming, unavailable, yet “only eats animals” type of vamp that even a teenage girl and her mother can love. HBO has the “TruBlood” series in its second season, which is also a series of novels by Charline Harris. This is much more adult fare, but the vampires are still humanized and morally complex individuals who can opt to dine on synthesized blood instead of snacking on humans (lucky us!). Of course, I am a fan of all of the above, including the Anne Rice novels which the “Interview with a Vampire” movie was based on.

Yep, even before Hollywood picked up on the craze, I was a “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” devotee, an Anne Rice fan, and a big friend of horror movies featuring my favorite undead characters. So, it may surprise some to know that I have just now gotten around to reading the origin of all vampire sagas, the 1897 Bram Stoker classic Dracula. I don’t know why I put it off for so long. but I’m glad that I finally made the effort. It is a slow read at first, as the entire book is written as journal entries, diaries, and letters between the main characters. I didn’t really find the book frightening (unless you count the treatment of the female characters in the book, but that is blog discussion for another day!), but I did find it refreshing to see the Father of the Vampires was a despicable, gruesome, loathsome individual deserving of the title. Here is a description of the Count from early in the book: 

“I was conscious of the presence of the Count, and of his being as if lapped in a storm of fury. As my eyes opened involuntarily I saw his strong hand grasp the slender neck of the fair woman and with giant’s power draw it back, the blue eyes transformed with fury, the white teeth champing with rage, and the fair cheeks blazing red with passion. But the Count! Never did I imagine such wrath and fury, even to the demons of the pit. His eyes were positively blazing. The red light in them was lurid, as if the flames of hell fire blazed behind them. His face was deathly pale, and the lines of it were hard like drawn wires. The thick eyebrows that met over the nose now seemed like a heaving bar of white-hot metal. With a fierce sweep of his arm, he hurled the woman from him, and then motioned to the others, as though he were beating them back.”

Now that, my friends, is a Vampire you can sink your teeth into!

Who are your favorite vampires? Dracula? Edward from the Twilight series? Or are you more a fan of vampire-slayers?


  1. I have actually never been a vampire fan. Even in the Twilight series, I have to say I rooted for Jacob!

    I’m more of a fan of (mostly) realistic fiction, so my favorite vampire story is The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, which helps bring the Dracula myth to life by weaving in the connection to Vlad the Impaler, a cruel ruler of Wallachia in the mid-15th century.

  2. OMG I just took the twilight quiz and found out I’m Renesmee Cullen!

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