Possibly the most famous example of Gothic novels, Bram Stoker’s 1897 masterpiece is the tale of Dracula, a vampire intent on increasing his tribe. The titular character, Count Dracula of Transylvania, has his arch nemesis in Abraham Van Helsing, the doctor knowledgeable of vampires and vampirism and ardent in his quest to destroy the cursed Count.
After nearly escaping death in the Count’s haunted castle, Jonathan Harker reunites with his fiancée Mina and their friends John, Qunicey and Arthur, who have already been beset by the Dracula’s attacks on Mina’s friends Lucy. Unable to save Lucy, despite Helsing’s best efforts, the group decides to eliminate Dracula forever. They undertake on a dangerous mission, as Stoker invokes history, folklore, and religious stories in this epistolary novel. The group’s repeated encounters with Dracula, possible death and the worst imaginable fate, becoming vampires themselves, keep the readers on an edge throughout the novel.
At the time of its publication, Dracula was considered a “straightforward horror novel” based on imaginary creations of supernatural life. “It gave form to a universal fantasy . . . and became a part of popular culture.” According to the Encyclopedia of World Biography, Stoker’s stories are today included in the categories of “horror fiction”, “romanticized Gothic” stories, and “melodrama.” They are classified alongside other “works of popular fiction” such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which, according to historian Jules Zanger, also used the “myth-making” and story-telling method of having “multiple narrators” telling the same tale from different perspectives.