Apr 7, 2013

Scribble, scribble, scribble, Mr& (4) --- Dracula (4)

(This is about Part II of the Green Eyes (Go here for previous post): A week-long "King Dracula" contest will enliven the Georgia Beach Festweek, the main event of Part II, whence our interest in Bram Stoker's Dracula. We've been discussing the equivalent of the delayed fuck Dracula-wise, with the protagonist (Jonathan Harper, in this case) unable to see the elephant vampire in the room.)

Along those lines, consider a brief take from Connubial Bliss. You are sitting on the bed next to your partner who's studying the latest Samsung TV-screen commercial on his laptop, about the SAMSUNG 40ES6100 TV LED 3D. And it's great, this screen, its display, the brilliance, sharpness, vibrancy, so many parameters, the best image ever. You can see it, can't you? We must buy the new Samsung screen now, it's better than anything before. "Better than your laptop?" the jaded you in you is about to ask, and because this is us, we actually do (ask): "Better than your laptop?" "Of course," is the answer (of course). And because we carry traces of school-mastery pedantry in our DNA (where else, not our fault), we continue the conversation with "How is it possible that your laptop screen is able to shows an image quality exceeding its own image quality," to which your partner (still sitting on the bed next to you) will reply "Shut up!" or "You always do this to me," or "This is also a Samsung".


Luckily, the analogy breaks down very quickly since there are other dimension absent from this picture, such as time, complementation, or wit. In case: we can show other people's smartness by giving them a quick mind (we have minutes, if needed hours, to write a quick comeback for Alex), or equip them with knowledge we don't possess by finding it on the internet, and so on.
Any immediate conclusions? No, unfortunately, but a mental note has been made, we should find an opportunity to get  the screen's supernatural ability to convey an image better than itself  into Part II somewhere.

Back to Bram Stoker's Dracula. The count's canine teeth show out strangely, and he is himself "of an old family," and "we Transylvanian nobles love not to think that our bones my lie amongst the common dead." So, "I (the Count) seek not gaiety nor mirth," and "my smiles looks malignant and saturnine" --- no, wrong HIS "smile looks malignant and saturnine," the Count's smile, that is, and his "eyes blaze with demoniac fury," and then the Count is off again (not to bed, you know), but we can still see him through the chinks of the hinges of the door where he's performing "the menial offices" of the butler (there's no staff, remember), and soon there's a partial coming-out Count-wise, so Dracula asks orders Harker to write three letters addressed to his Mina, dictated by the Count, obviously intended to mislead his fiancée. Harker has no choice but to oblige, and "the Count saw his victory in my (Harker's) bow, and his mastery in the trouble of my face," so Harker's heart "grows cold at the though (of something)", and Harker, again he notices the Count's "quiet smile, with the sharp, canine teeth lying over the red underlip." Count's off again, so Harker looks out of the "stone-mullioned window" and realizes that the castle is built so high over a drop of a 1000 feet that "sling, bow, or culverin could nor reach (it)," so Harper "begins to get new lights on certain things," but then he "composes himself for sleep," --- perhaps the most amazing thing, right in the middle of a gothic horror movie the guy has a nap. In the meantime, however, Harker somehow sneaked into another wing of the castle where three women prance about, "arching her neck(s)" and "licking her lips like animals," (the Count promises Harker to these three ladies upon leaving for London), while he (the Count) "scales the outside wall," until he's back and resting in his coffin where he's found out by Harker: "his eyes are open and stony, without the glassiness of death," --- please Jonathan, please get it, THIS IS A VAMPIRE, JONATHAN, A VAMPIRE ---  anyhow, he's off to London now, Dracula, in his own coffin, but not before "there was a light of triumph in his eyes," and "gouts of fresh blood" on his lips.


Change of scene, Victorian England now, Mina and her aristocratic friend Lucy (who will fall victim to Dracula) exchange letters, Lucy had three proposals in one day, marriage proposals of course, and accepted one, (only one, the one coming from the future Lord Goldaming) and we come across expressions such as "you tax me very unfairly,"  "do you ever try to read your own face," (so Lucy still reflects in the mirror, good thing to know). The two girls are off to Whitby in Yorkshire, on the coast, where Dracula's ship will arrive soon, but not (arriving) without kicking up a fuss (the ship) in the apparition of a freak storm that "boomed loudly among the chimney-pots," and "made Mina shudder." What, do you think, is the percentage of English novels without at one veritable Lord in the cast? One percent? Ohh-point-one percent?

Intermission: one important aspect of modern writing, in the contrasting light of historical evidence, is its avoidance of generalizations of any kind, unless they have ironic effect. In Bram Stoker's Dracula, and even more in Mary Shelly's "Frankenstein," (written 70 years earlier) things are summarized for us ruthlessly. An arbitrary (not very good) example: "Oh, but I am tired," since "we had a lovely walk," and Lucy "was in gay spirits." Better: "My swelling heart involuntarily pours itself out" (this is Shelly, in fact), and Frankenstein, having switched on his monster only a minute ago, quantifies over his mental state: "Oh! No mortal could support the horrors of that countenance." You still find this type of writing on self-publishing sites like Booksie or Lush, but it's considered bad form in contemporary literature, and not only as a matter of style. We're supposed to have our readers reach conclusions on their own, so we present them, artfully, hopefully (otherwise it doesn't work), with all the evidence they need to infer on their own that Frankenstein is really having a rough time, but we are not, not going to say it out loud.

Stay tuned.

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