The Vampire: A New History

Philip Ball writes:

Few writers have seemed less likely to produce a modern myth than Bram Stoker, not only because of the limits of his ability and imagination but because for much of his life he was furiously overworked as house manager for Henry Irving’s Lyceum Theatre in London. Aside from Dracula, Stoker wrote nothing of note, and plenty that was excruciating. ‘There is a semi-heroic, Everyman quality about his intense command of the mediocre,’ the critic Ludovic Flow wrote, ‘as if the commonplace had found a champion who could wear its colours with all the ceremony of greatness.’ David Skal’s new biography of Stoker follows his 2004 study, Hollywood Gothic, which managed to take Dracula on page, stage and screen seriously, but not too seriously. It becomes clear reading the Cambridge Companion to ‘Dracula’ how difficult it is to find that balance.

(LRB 25 October 2018)

Other Titles of Interest