Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Sunday, February 27, 2011

"Dracula's Guest" by Bram Stoker-Irish Short Story Week Notes-Sunday Salon

"Dracula's Guest" by Bram Stoker (1914, 13 pages)

 More Information on Irish Short Story Week-3/14 to 3/20

I have started doing a bit of research to get ready for Irish Short Story Week (3/14 to 3/20 to coincide with St. Patrick's Day on 3/17) which I hope will become an annual Reading Life Event.    I am excited by the interest shown in the idea.      My research so far tells me you could easily hold an Irish Short Story year and still have a lot to read and learn at the end of the year.    And if you love a good story you for sure are in the right place.   How wrong can you go when one of your  short story writers is James Joyce or  when your writer of Gothic stories, Bram Stoker, created the vampire genre with his Dracula?        I am doing this for fun, to learn and maybe to get a few other people to overcome their dislike of short stories (I used to never read them as somehow I felt I "needed more").    I hope you will consider joining in.     There are no big rules, no being rigid on who is Irish and who is not (no politics).   If you wish to post, for example, on first generation Irish writers in Australia or the USA that would be great.   (In my Australian Bush Stories Project, I found many of the early Australian short story writers were the children of Irish immigrants.)       I will try to come up with some reading ideas later but if you need suggestions or ideas  just Google "Irish Short Stories" or "Irish Literature" you will find many ideas.   You do not have to go to the library or buy a book to join in.    There are lots and lots of stories on line, and not just old ones either.   I plan to post on one or two works from 2011 that you can read online.   For example, I think all of the stories of Joyce and Wilde can be read online for free.   I am hoping a lot of female short story writers will be spotlighted as historically  it is a largely male set of writers.   There are lots of ghost stories and plenty of stories for the lovers of Victorian era literature (I count myself as one) and lots of romance and history as well.

To be a participant all I ask is that you post on a story during the week and send me a comment with a link to your story and I will link it up in a master post and include it in my summery post at the end.   

I am working on prizes from publishers and authors  of books that go with the week but nothing firm yet.
   I admit I did not know Bram Stoker (1847-1912-Dublin)   wrote a lot of short stories, most all Gothic tales, before he wrote Dracula in 1897.     Happily, most of them are available online at BramStoker.

"Dracula's Guest" was published in 1914, by his widow.    It is a stand alone short story that was originally to be published as part of Dracula but was left out as the publisher felt the book was too long.   As the story begins I admit I could not help but think of the  countless movies where a stranger to the village is taken in a carriage through the night by a terrified driver in fear of an unknown but very felt evil.     The story seemed like a standard plot line then I realized Stoker created this scene and made it part of our culture.   The stranger is here on an investigation of something he has heard that sophisticated "scientific" big city people scoff at but he knows might be true.  

As our hero goes further into the night, the story is set out side of Munich, his driver gets more and more afraid.   This is not just any night, it is "Walpurgis Nacht" (night).   This the night when the dead come back to life and all evil things of the world walk the night.    Of course in a scene right out of the plot of True Blood our hero somehow enters into a tomb through its open door to see the body of a long dead woman.   The woman is still very beautiful with rosy red cheeks and bright red lips.    Before he makes it back to town he suffers a terrible attack.    His throat was almost ripped out.   He tries to tell himself it was a dog attack but the country people know better.

I really liked Stoker's style.   I did not find it to have an antiquated feel at all.   He did a great job of keeping me interested and building up a suspenseful fear filled atmosphere.   From reading this story, I now can safely say I will like Dracula.     

One easy way to participate in Irish Short Story Week would just be to read and post on one of Stoker's stories.   None of them are real long.    

I will be posting more on Irish Short Story Week soon.    Please let me know if you might join in or have any suggestions, comments or ideas

Mel u


Anonymous said...

I loved this short story. I read the Kindle version available on Amazon and it included some other short stories, which were all very good.

Mel u said...

Jennifer O-thanks for your comment-I hope you will consider joining in!

Mystica said...

I only just realized that the short stories can be read online. My hesitation to join was because of non accessibility to books. Let me go check it out and come back to you.

Song said...

Mel, count me in for this Irish Short Story Challenge! It comes at a time when I was wondering about starting a year-long weekend challenge/meme for short stories...mainly so that I get some reading done!

And thank you for the link to this Stoker short story. I finally gathered up the nerve to read Dracula in November, last year, and I loved it! Stoker has a brilliant writing style - subtle and hair-raising. In fact, the first scene you described from the short story is, sort of, the first chapter of Dracula! off to make note of this story to read later.:D

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Short story collections can be really intriguing...or just a short story on its own. I love all things Irish, especially since my eldest son spent several months there awhile ago.

I am already participating in an Ireland (Book Reading) Challenge, and this past week, read Cecelia Ahern's The Book of Tomorrow.


Helen said...

I'll definitely try to participate in the Irish Short Story Week, Mel. I haven't decided what I'm going to read yet, but I've had a look at some short story sites and it seems there are plenty of Irish authors to choose from! I read Dracula last year and enjoyed it, so maybe I'll try something else by Stoker.

Thanks for organising this!

Short Story Slore said...

Thank you for bringing this short story to my attention! I read Dracula in middle school (a bit young to appreciate it fully) so I can't wait to read this.

Anonymous said...

How cool! I didn't know he had written short stories.

Your mention of female writers made me think that I might review a story by Edna O'Brien and also Foster by Claire Keegan, which has been on my shelves for a few months now.

For more inspiration, the Granta Book of the Irish Short Story, which was recently published and is edited by Anne Enright, might be a good place to start. Here's a link to the table of contents:

This is a link to Nuala Ni Chonchuir's website and there are links to her short stories, but also to literary magazines, which might have stories on line.

I'll keep thinking if I can think of other sources.

Actually, this is a link to the Munster Literature Centre, they organise the Franck O'Connor International Short Story Festival every year:

Enjoy the exploration!

Anonymous said...

Oh no!
I just posted a comment with a few links and ideas, but it looks like it didn't go through. Let me know if it hasn't and I'll send you the links again. It always happens to me when I write a long comment! Grrr