Friday, August 31, 2012

Aimless Reading: The S's, Part 57 (Bram Stoker)

Stoker, Bram

Purchased at Talking Leaves...Books.

In yesterday's post, I claimed that we read and watched Frankenstein in the horrible film and literature class I took in graduate school. I was wrong. We read and watched Dracula. I remember distinctly. I had never read Dracula before and I don't think I had ever really watched the whole movie, either. I remember also that Taylor Brady was still in the class with me. We both read the book and watched the film. It was just after that that Taylor dropped the class and left me sitting alone in the back row to suffer through the semester.

I was also thinking this morning about how odd and random it is that two books from roughly the same time period, which also happen to be examples of gothic literature, both of which have spawned many, many film adaptations, happen to have authors whose last names begin "S-T-", making them end up next to each other on the same, alphabetically-ordered bookshelf. I wonder what the numerical odds of that happening are.

And yet there they sit. One is tempted to read some kind of meaning into this coincidence. If it is that unlikely of an outcome, then something must have happened to change the odds, right? An unmoved mover? A secret hand? An intelligent designer? I guess that's how religions get started.

from Dracula


Seven years ago we all went through the flames. And the happiness of some of us since then is, we think, well worth the pain we endured. It is an added joy to Mina and to me that our boy's birthday is the same day as that on which Quincey Morris died. His mother holds, I know, the secret belief that some of our brave friend's spirit has passed into him. His bundle of names links all our little band of men together. But we call him Quincey.

In the summer of this year we made a journey to Transylvania, and went over the old ground which was, and is, to us so full of vivid and terrible memories. It was almost impossible to believe that the things which we had seen with our own eyes and heard with our own ears were living truths. Every trace of all that had been was blotted out. The castle stood as before, reared high above a waste of desolation.

When we got home we were talking of the old time, which we could all look back on without despair, for Godalming and Seward are both happily married. I took the papers from the safe where they had been ever since our return so long ago. We were struck with the fact, that in all the mass of material of which the record is composed, there is hardly one authentic document. Nothing but a mass of typewriting, except the later notebooks of Mina and Seward and myself, and Van Helsing's memorandum. We could hardly ask any one, even did we wish to, to accept these as proofs of so wild a story. Van Helsing summed it all up as he said, with our boy on his knee.

"We want no proofs. We ask none to believe us! This boy will some day know what a brave and gallant woman his mother is. Already he knows her sweetness and loving care. Later on he will understand how some men so loved her, that they did dare much for her sake.


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