Sunday, February 10, 2013

Chistopher Isherwood on Dracula

I have been reading Christopher Isherwood's diaries. His post from May 2, 1971 includes the following paragraph. This was close to the same time period when Edward Gorey began working on the set designs for the Nantucket stage production of Dracula.

May 2. Have just finished reading Dracula. It really tells you little or nothing about how it feels to be a vampire. What turns the author on  is the predicament of the two beautiful bitten women. Of course they both remain perfect ladies, except at moments when they are "not themselves." Poor Lucy! "Her eyes blazed with unholy light, and the face became wreathed with a voluptuous smile.... There was something diabolically sweet in her tones - something of the tingling of glass when struck." Mina never sinks that low, but you feel she rather loves having the vampire scar on her brow, and being oh so brave, and having these good-looking guys running around protecting her: "Oh, it did me good to see the way that they are so earnest, and so true, and so brave! And, too, it made me think of the wonderful power of money! What can it not do when it is properly applied; and what might it do when basely used. I felt so thankful that Lord Godalming is rich...." (This last remark refers to the fact that Lord Godalming could afford a steam launch to pursue Dracula's coffin up the river.) What might it do is exquisite. Was Bram Stoker making fun of Mina? Maybe so. He was Irish. I would like to read his life, if there is one. Also his Dracula's Guest and his memories of Henry Irving.

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