A Stroke of Genius: B. Stoker & Dracula

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

As summer approaches, there is temporal euphoria of no homework, no assigned readings, and no papers; however, for some, there is no fun in the sun, especially for vampires. The best-known vampire in modern literature is Count Dracula, sorry Twilight fans.

Dracula by Bram Stoker: Nelson Doublesday, Inc. Garden City, New York. The Library at Indiana State University Evansville Campus.

Inside Cover of Dracula (Photograph Credit: James Wethington)

Bram Stoker wrote Dracula in 1897. Before writing his international smash-hit and classic, Stoker was involved in British theatre. He worked for Sir Henry Irving from 1878 until 1905 (The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica, 2010). Dracula is a combination of “… central European folktales of the nosferatu, or undead, with historical accounts of 15th-century prince Vlad the Impaler, who allegedly impaled 100,000 victims and was given the epithet Dracula (a derivative of Romanian drac, or “devil”)” (Cregan-Reid, 2017).

Dracula has an everlasting legacy on horror literature. It created a new genre for authors like Anne Rice (author of The Vampire Chronicles) and Stephanie Meyers (author of the Twilight series) to write in another world. As George R.R. Martin stated, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”

References

Cregan-Reid, V. (2017, February 28). Dracula. Retrieved May 01, 2017, from https://www.britannica.com/topic/Dracula-novel

The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. (2010, August 10). Bram Stoker. Retrieved May 01, 2017, from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Bram-Stoker

Rudyard Kipling: The Power of Words

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

Collected Verse of Rudyard Kipling with Illustrations by W. Heath Robinson. The book was published in 1910.

Front Cover of “Collected Verse of Rudyard Kipling”, 1910.

Collected Verse was published in 1910 by British author and poet, Rudyard Kipling. This book is a collection of his poetry. He was born in Bombay, British Raj, present-day Mumbai, India, on December 30, 1865 (Stewart, 2017). He became one of the world’s most beloved author and poet.

Portrait of Rudyard Kipling in 1915 by John Palmer.

Rudyard Kipling, 1915.

In 1907, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature, becoming the first English author to receive the award (The Nobel Foundation, n.d.). This book is a collection of his poetry. Kipling’s best-known novels are The Jungle Book (1894) and Kim (1901); meanwhile, some of his famous poems were Mandalay (1898), If – (1910) and many more (“Rudyard Kipling,” n.d.). Kipling passed away on January 18, 1936 in London, England (Stewart, 2017).

 

Page 148. Collected Verse “Ha’ done! Ha’ done!” said the Colonel’s son. “Put up the steel at your sides! Last night ye had struck at a Border thief – tonight ‘t is a man of the Guides!” Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet, till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgement Seat; but there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth, when two strong men stand face to face, tho’ they come from the ends of the earth! The Last Suttee 1889 Not many years ago, a King died in one of the Rajpoot States. His wives, disregarding the orders of the English against Suttee, would have broken out of the palace and burned themselves with the corpse had not the gates been barred. But one of them, disguised as the King’s favorite dancing-girl, passed through the line of guards and reached the pyre. There, her courage failing, she prayed her cousin, a baron of the court, to kill her. This he did not knowing who she was. Udai Chand lay sick to death in his hold by Gungra hill. All night we heard the death-gongs ring for the soul of the dying Rajpoot King. All night beat up from the women’s wing a cry that we could not still. Rudyard Kipling. Page 149 All night the barons came and went, the Lords of the Outer Guard: all night the cressets glimmered pale on Ulwar sabre and Tonk jezial, Mewar headstall and Marwar mail that clinked in the palace yeard. In the Golden Room on the palace roof all night he fought for air: and there were sobbings behing the screen, rustly and whisper of women unseen, and the hungry eyes of the Boondi Queen on the death she might not share. He passed at dawn – the death0fire leaped from right to river-head, from the Malwa plains to the Abu scars: and wail upon wail went up to the stars behind the grim zenana-bars, when they knew that the King was dead. The dumb priest knelt to tie his mouth and robe him for the pyre. The Boondi Queen beneath us cried: “See, now, that we die as our mothers died in the bridal-bed by our master’s side! Out, women! – to the fire!” We drove the great gates home apace: white hands were on the sill: but ere the rush of the unseen feet had reached the turn to the open street, the bars shot down, the guard-drum beat – we held the dovecot still.

The book is available for viewing and is located in the University Archives & Special Collections during normal business hours.

 

 

 

References

Nobel Foundation. (n.d.). Rudyard Kipling – Biographical. Retrieved April 17, 2017, from http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1907/kipling-bio.html

Rudyard Kipling. (n.d.). Retrieved April 17, 2017, from https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/rudyard-kipling

Stewart, J. I. (2017, January 30). Rudyard Kipling. Retrieved April 17, 2017, from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Rudyard-Kipling

Literary Criticism and You





When you’re reading a work of fiction, how much do you think about it? Not just the basic stuff, like:  Is the plot interesting?, or who are the characters going to eventually hook up with? I mean, how much thought do you put into what is going on in the story, what the author is trying to say, and what the themes are? Well, that is a huge part of what goes on in literary criticism. Readers examine texts to find themes, ideas, and subtexts in the work.  They may even relate the work to the world outside the story, and what the book has to say about the world. If any of that sounds interesting (and as an English major, this is the stuff I live for), then you might be interested in the four new books in Salem Press’s Critical Insights series. These books are available to Rice Library users in both print and electronic formats. They include discussions of classic literature, such as The Iliad, The Odyssey, and Frankenstein, rather typical literary pieces, but they also analyze more contemporary works as well. 

One volume which includes a discussion of contemporary works is entitled Technology and Humanity (REF PN56.T37T43).  As an example, one essay references the movie Tron and its sequel Tron Legacy as it examines the relationship between programs and programmers. This isn’t just about computers and robots; it’s also about how technology has changed over time. The volume entitled Dystopia (REF PN56.D94D97) contains a series of essays about works that deal with a future gone amuck, often focusing on a growing issue in contemporary life.  The Natureand Environment volume (REF PS169.E25N38)deals with how we feel about nature, and how nature has been used literature. It has essays on both poetry about nature and fictional accounts of man’s struggle with nature, or man’s interest in it. In The Heros Quest Heros Quest volume (REFPN56.5.H45H53) contributing authors investigate one of the great literary themes, in fact one of the earliest plots in literature. It often involves a hero traveling great distances to achieve amazing feats of heroism.

 


So take a look at the books, in print or online, and spend more time analyzing what you read every day. It will not only help you in class, but also in appreciating whatever entertainment you happen to enjoy.
 
CP