I’ve previously proclaimed my disdain for Dickens, and it’s no secret that I’m ambivalent toward Victorian literature in general. I know a lot of people will be clutching their pearls when they read that I don’t particularly care for Jane Austen or the Bronte Sisters. All that decorum and repression goes against my American rugged individualist sensibilities. Just say how you feel, ladies. Be free. Sheesh!
Gothic literature, on the other hand, I adore. The Victorian idea of love I find frustrating and borderline nauseating, but what Victorians found frightening is delicious. From the first time I read Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart in the 9th grade, I knew I loved the more horrible aspects of this period.
I recently started reading Dracula on my Nook, which is awesome. I haven’t had to charge it once since Christmas. But that’s not the point. The point is, this dark and creepy novel lives up to its reputation. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed following Jonathan Harker through Dracula’s castle and reading the Captain’s account of the ship crashing in to Whitby.
I’ve seen the movie several times, and love it. But reading the book has been a completely worthwhile experience. There’s much more subtlety in the novel. And when you compare it to modern horror novels, it gives a sense of refinement rather than vulgarity, which makes it seem that much more tense.
When Victorians turn dark, somehow they become much more interesting. This glimpse into the Victorian psyche is so much more fascinating than when they’re falling in love and trying to find husbands. I don’t know what it is, but I just devour it.
Read Dracula. Don’t wait until Halloween. Just do it now.