Oxford £5.99 (391pp) from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Dracula, By Bram Stoker
The protean creature that bounded in the form of "an immense dog" from the ship Demeter in Whitby in the late 19th century is now an unavoidable presence in cinema and TV.
Yet, as Roger Luckhurst points out in his lively introduction, the revival in the vampire's fortunes is relatively recent. When this 1897 shocker was added to Oxford World's Classics in 1983, there were press complaints about the lowering of standards. In fact, as Luckhurst argues, Dracula "plugs directly into two centuries of folklore about the vampire".
Written in the aftermath of the Wilde trial, Stoker's yarn is "dripping with all manner of perversity," an obsession that will scarcely have harmed sales. Luckhurst's final words to the reader: "Keep the lights on."
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