Frankenstein/Dracula

Discussion in 'General Books' started by LyannaWolfBlood, Jan 28, 2012.

?

Which did you prefer?

  1. Frankenstein

    2 vote(s)
    40.0%
  2. Dracula

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Can't choose

    3 vote(s)
    60.0%
  1. LyannaWolfBlood

    LyannaWolfBlood Ella Dictadora

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    Frankenstein and Dracula were this month's books. How did you find them? As always, anyone is welcome to jump in with their thoughts :).
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012
  2. LyannaWolfBlood

    LyannaWolfBlood Ella Dictadora

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    I have to make my apologies here - I just about got Frankenstein started, but that's as far as I got. I will try and catch up later, but it's my last semester of college so it's rather hectic at the moment.
     
  3. Druid of Lûhn

    Druid of Lûhn The Little Lamb.

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    I had to vote that I can't choose, as I did not manage to finish Dracula (only got part way through), but I did read Frankenstein, as I've had many many books I've been made to read for school.

    My thoughts:
    Frankenstein was great, and it uses the loved style of the time; telling a story by having a character tell a story, and even get another character to tell that one a story. The characters were well-created (it is a classic after all), and I loved the plot. I'd seen the play last year, with Benedict Cumberbatch, and it was very close to the book, which is different from many many interpretations (mainly the characters, who are very different). I do find, however, that it was a small coincidence that the Creature managed to find the home and get a related one, but the story would not have happened without it.

    About what I read of Dracula: another first-person narrative, however here the character relates it himself, and describes the surroundings a lot (Frankenstein describes his thoughts more, as does the Creature). This was clearly a change of style, but as far as I got in the plot, it was also very good, though more supernatural. I do like the way the Englishman goes to the castle, not exactly as fearful as we would be, knowing who/what Dracula is. I find that the appearance of the supernatural near the beginning (wolves) really gets us into the story quickly, as does the telling of the story in Frankenstein.

    So I can't choose between the two books which one I preferred, as I did not manage to finish Dracula, but from the writing styles, I did prefer the latter.

    Note about Frankenstein: Mary Shelley did not intend it to be fantasy or Sci-Fi, as she believed – in her time - that doing such a thing was possible with electricity (which was not very well known). There was an article mentioning this in The Guardian, and it was said by Ursula K. LeGuin. By the way the story is told, and I do feel that it is more a work of fiction, as we would now consider a Jules Verne, which at the time was Sci-Fi. Interesting...
     
  4. Kakashi

    Kakashi The Fighters Guide House Member

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    I didn't read them this month but I have read both and prefer Frakenstien. Just overall I thought it was really cool how it was written, from different POV's, etc.
     
  5. Forgotten Realms

    Forgotten Realms Human Version of Drizzt

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    I have also voted "Cannot choose" - that is not a question of preference, I think, but both topics are gothic novel ones but in their own themes they are unique and cannot compared with each other.

    The earlier one - came into life - was Frankenstein by Mary Shelley in 1816 while Dracula was written by Bram Stoker in 1897.
    But need to mention that as the same time Frankenstein was written another good vampire stories were created ... in the same night.

    Just remember me of the funny gathering of all that authors like Mary Shelley, William Polidori (his story "The Vampyre"), Lord Byron and some others met in an European villa. They were talking and discussing until Byron had an idea to leave the people all alone on their own to write down their first impressions coming into their heads while it was really horrible weather with thunderstorm outside .... by the way this brought us "Frankenstein".

    I think while Dracula is really high gothic novel, Frankenstein seems more "modern" like a steampunk-fiction (containing machines). But nevertheless in both stories, the good win over the bad, both having some kind of a happy end, not for the monsters but for the other participants/the victims.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012
  6. LyannaWolfBlood

    LyannaWolfBlood Ella Dictadora

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    It's great to see comments so quickly :).

    Just to tie these two points together, I actually had a lecture which referenced Frankenstein during a course on modernity a couple of years back. It was by one of my less tech-savvy lecturers so I can't link you to a powerpoint on it or anything, but the gist was that Frankenstein should be seen in light of people's fears about mechanisation, partly because, as is implied in Druid's comment, the limits on what we would consider the possible and the impossible were not as clearly established as they would be now and Frankenstein wasn't seen as more unlikely than, say, Jules Verne's work. There would have been widespread fascination about technology (the first few World's Fairs had been held by this time) but also a fear of what it could do and lack of understanding of its limits.

    Also, similarly to more recent works like 2001: A Space Odyssey, the fear of man losing control over his own creation (particularly in an era when belief in God among the intellectual elite was dropping precipitously, so there was no hope of divine redemption for man's screw-ups) is a fairly major theme.

    Who says you have to have actually read a book to discuss it? (Completely off topic, this is an awesome book)
     
  7. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    First off, in a technical line level contest, I think Dracula bests Frankenstein hands down. Bram Stoker is at the height of his writing powers and the book itself is extremely well researched and plotted out. Frankenstein suffers from uneven writing and a sometimes meandering plot, as would be expected from an inexperienced 19-20 year old Shelley. Also, the use of melodrama works in favor of Dracula but is often overwrought in Frankenstein. If anyone here has read Melville's Moby-Dick than you probably understand what I mean when I say "overwrought"... reading a long soliloquy followed by another and another can be a real drag on a story. Stoker gives us some of the inner workings of the characters but he's careful to not let it interrupt the flow of the narrative. At times Shelley almost show-horns these introspections and they come off a bit clumsy.

    Both novels use the epistolary narrative form and I think again, Dracula wins out over Frankenstein. The epistolary style is rarely employed today because most younger readers find it difficult to follow; even well read folks like myself can get frustrated with an unreliable narrator telling a story from a single pov. As far as plot structure goes... once again I go with Dracula. Dracula has a tight plot with all the parts remaining focused on the climax. Frankenstein, like the monster it describes, has subplots that sometimes seem pieced together. I suppose most importantly, being that both books are gothic horror masterpieces, which novel is more scary?.. I go with Dracula. The shocking truth of Frankenstein is something humankind may realize some hundreds of years from now, as science and technology finally give us the power of God.

    Thematically, now that's where Frankenstein shines!
    How it was that a young women still in her teens could fashion such a masterpiece of fiction around what was cutting-edge science, is beyond me. Frankenstein is a cautionary tale of what happens when Man plays God, when Science perverts Nature. Though Shelley never really tells the reader how the monster is brought to life, it's presumed that science and technology are at the heart of it. Though we now know that 'galvanism', or reanimating dead tissue to life, is absurd and pure fiction... medical science does indeed use such things to stimulate muscles that have atrophied, and there are other uses as well. Taking that into account as well as organ transplants which are today routinely done (indeed, my younger sister gave my brother one of her kidneys and he is alive and well because of it), then I think Frankenstein goes far beyond fantasy and becomes 'speculative fiction'... better known today as Science Fiction.

    Imagine that, a book published in 1818, and written by a woman fresh out of her teens is predicting advances in medical science that have only come to pass in modern times.

    I give the final nod to Frankenstein over Dracula, for being ridiculously ambitious and more frightening than Ms.Shelley could have known.
     
  8. Druid of Lûhn

    Druid of Lûhn The Little Lamb.

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    @Forgotten Realms: I do not believe that good wins in Frankenstein, as the Creature ruins Frankenstein's life, and the latter dies at the end, without exacting his revenge. The Creature goes through Russia striking terror and killing. Evil clearly wins in that one, and it serves as a lesson to all scientists, throughout the ages, nit to mess with the human body.