Book of Dracula, The

Rating: 
4
The Book of Dracula
Review by Hemogoblin, submitted on 21-Jan-1992

The Book of Dracula, edited by Leslie Shepard, Wings Books, New York, 1991. ISBN 0-517-03758-0

This book combines in one volume two titles previously released separately, The Dracula Book of Great Vampire Stories (1977) and The Dracula Book of Great Horror Stories (1981).

The vampire stories picked for this collection included several well known classics such as Le Fanu's "Carmilla", and Stoker's "Dracula's Guest", in addition to some which I had never seen in any other collection. These less familiar titles included "The Horla" by Guy De Maupassant, "The Tomb of Sarah" by F.G. Loring, and "Mrs. Amworth" by E.F. Benson.

While some of the stories are weaker than others, most are quite good, and each is given an excellent short introduction by the editor which includes the date and place of first publication. The stories are printed in order by publication date, which gives one an interesting glimpse into the historical development of vampire fiction.

My favorite of those stories I had not encountered before was "The Horla". Its introduction reads "Out of the fresh beauty of the French countryside comes the creeping horror of an invisible intelligence vampirizing the living. Is this a paranoid obsession or is the Horla the new Master of the human race? This terrifying narrative anticipates a whole genre of modern science- fiction stories of alien intelligences. First published in France 1887." The story raises many questions about many things, but IMHO the most intriguing of these is this: "Do we see the hundred-thousandth part of what exists?"

The horror stories in the second half of the book were also very well selected and represented works from authors such as H.P. Lovecraft, W.W. Jacobs, William Hope Hodgson and Algernon Blackwood.

I would highly recommend this book with the comment that vampire purists may want to seek out the separate vampire volume. While there may be some duplication with other collections of vampire short stories, I found it to be well worth the $10 I paid for it from the bargain bin at the book outlet.

Interesting Note:

The editor of the book is the Chairman of the Bram Stoker Society, and the Chairman of the Irish subcommittee of the Dracula Society. The addresses for both are listed, strangely enough in the horror volume -

The Hon. Secretary
The Dracula Society
Waterside Cottage
36 High Street
Upper Upnor, near Rochester
Kent ME2 4XG
England

John C. Leahy, Secretary
Bram Stoker Society
4 Nassau Street
Dublin 2
Republic of Ireland

Happy Reading and Writing!

Fanged Films

France, 1982
The Living Dead Girl / Den levande döda flickan / Lady Dracula / La Muerta viviente / Zombie Queen
USA, 2007
Slayer

From the Library

As the 20th century evolved, rational man turned to science to explain mythology that had pervaded for thousands of years. How could a man be mistaken for a vampire? How could someone appear to have been the victim of a vampire attack? Science, in time, came back with answers that may surprise you.Anemia
A million fancies strike you when you hear the name: Nosferatu!N O S F E R A T Udoes not die!What do you expect of the first showing of this great work?Aren't you afraid? - Men must die. But legend has it that a vampire, Nosferatu, 'der Untote' (the Undead), lives on men's blood! You want to see a symphony of horror? You may expect more. Be careful. Nosferatu is not just fun, not something to be taken lightly. Once more: beware.- Publicity for Nosferatu in the German magazine Buhne und Film, 1922  

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