The vilification of Islam has reached such heights that when the Muslim Sultan Mehmet II is cast opposite history’s bloodiest psycho-tyrant, it’s Dracula who emerges as the tragic hero.
BUCHAREST, Romania—About eight hours’ drive from the capital, and another four hours’ trek from the nearest road, Izvorul Calimanului Mountain looks like many of the Carpathians’ uninhabited peaks: snow-capped in the winter, fir trees thinning near its rocky 6,670-foot peak.
Few hikers visit, but Dacre Stoker thinks tourist dollars could erupt from the extinct Transylvanian volcano. Although he hasn’t visited yet, he’s currently co-writing a guidebook that he hopes will set his ambitious plan in motion. He envisages guided tours by local mountaineers, informative signage, and a nearby cultural center explaining the mountain’s unusual significance.
The dark exoticism of Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a story that continues to haunt the choreographic imagination, with Mark Bruce having recently toured one of the most frighteningly physical dance adaptations of the novel to date. This autumn Northern Ballet revive David Nixon’s version. Nixon follows the original Stoker plot, using a score that weaves together music by Schnittke, Rachmaninov, Pärt and Daugherty. The dramatically gothic set design is by Ali Allen, with the multi-tasking Nixon designing the costumes himself.
The twelve essays in this collection go a long way toward correcting the mistaken impression that Bram Stoker wrote only a single Gothic work, Dracula 1897, or, more damaging, that he was a second-rate writer whose neurosis erupted into a modern myth. Indeed the Preface announces that "Stoker’s work blends the Gothic with the discourses of politics, sexuality, medicine and national identity to produce texts that may be read by a variety of critical methodologies" ix, and the accompanying essays demonstrate how Stoker blends the Gothic with fields that seem antithetical to its preoccupation with mystery — politics, medicine, and science, to mention a few.
Raw sexual energy, and society’s need to curb its wilder excrescences, are themes which bubble constantly just below the surface in the myth of the vampire. But in Liz Lochhead’s feminist Dracula the sexual politics implicit in the original become explicit and are held up for scrutiny.
Whisper it quietly, rather than shout it from the rooftops, but Dracula’s Castle, in Transylvania, is on the market.
Letters discovered in a fly-filled Victorian prison cell shed new light on the creation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.