Sunday, October 3, 2010

The New Annotated Dracula, Edited by Leslie Klinger

I received a BN gift card from my mother-in-law which was enough to cover this volume which I've had my eye on for a while. I loved Klinger's New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, so I was curious to see what this Dracula volume would be like.

I've of course read Dracula before, but it's not a personal favorite. I liked it, but I've never been a huge vampire fan otherwise. Even Buffy, the show that all librarians are supposed to have followed religiously (ha!) was nothing I watched when it originally aired on TV. I admit that I did rectify that later, two of the other librarians I work with were crazy about the show and eventually got me to watch it in reruns, and dammit if I didn't get hooked (although I never followed up with the Angel spin off).

Well that's a really long way of saying that I wasn't sure what these annotations would look like or if they would even interest me. Well Klinger didn't disappoint, this volume was fantastic. The annotations were great, just like with the Holmes volumes, but this volume shines for me in two specific areas: One, the introduction and then numerous exhibits by Klinger that delve into how the story came to be (again like the Holmes volumes, this book is written as if Dracula is a work of, or at least based off, nonfiction events) and the impact of the book in various other works. Two, the theories about Dracula's survival and the motives of the various other characters, especially the (suspect) Doctors Van Helsing and Seward.

Just as with the Holmes volumes you're either going to love this kind of thing or hate it, I doubt if there is any in between. I just find this stuff fascinating. I took a train up to NYC recently and despite the large size of the volume I brought it with me. I sat on the train (both up and back) with this book like I was studying for a final (or perhaps "researching my own book"). Pouring over the annotations, back and forth through the cross-referencing, etc. You either really enjoy this kind of thing or you don't.

Paying such close attention to a book could have its problems for the editor, I suppose. I did find one mistake (a typo, I believe) but you only have to look at a few of my blog entries to see I'm not a member of the grammar police.

I still have two of the Holmes novels left in the Klinger annotated version, I've been trying to save those for a time when I can really enjoy them just as I've done with this new annotated Dracula.

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