Bedside, Bathtub & Armchair Companion to Dracula: The Essential Guide to the Un-Dead

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Press:Continuum Bloomsbury Academic; 1 edition (June 15, 2008)
Publication Date:2008-06
ISBN:9780826417947
Author Name:Mark Dawidziak
Pages:192
Language:English

Content

Published in 1897, Bram Stoker's Dracula was the last of the nineteenth century's three major horror stories. 
It followed Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr.
Jekyll and Mr.
Hyde, but Stoker's novel had the greater impact on our culture and our nightmares.
Count Dracula has been called the king of the vampires, but, in truth, he is the king of all the monsters, and his influence can be seen everywhere today: in everything from the number-obsessed count on sesame street to the vast fandom for Anne Rice's vampire chronicles.
He is arguably the most recognized of characters, not the least of which is the iconic performance of Bella Lugosi.
With Stoker's novel serving as the backbone, this Bedside, Bathtub & Armchair Companion to the world's most famous vampire considers all aspects of the Dracula phenomenon in often entertaining and unexpected ways-in the Bedside tradition: the book, its author, its psychological and sociological implications, the stage plays, the movies, television versions, the actors, and, of course, the historical Dracula, Vlad the Impaler.

Review

"Renowned for his expertise on horror film, literature and television, author Mark Dawidziak engages the reader with numerous entertaining anecdotes and little-known facts regarding Dracula's creation and lasting influence . 
.
.
Recommended for horror aficionados and fans of classic literature."

Review

"So you think you know all there is to know about Bram Stoker's Dracula? Mark Dawidziak knows more . 
.
.
If you can't get your fill on Dracula after reading this book you're already undead."

Review

"Corny pun ahead: If you're at all into vampire lit, you'll wanna sink your teeth into it . 
.
.
It helps when an author like Dawidziak harbors enormous enthusiasm for the subject, because it's infectious."

About the Author

Mark Dawidziak has been a theater, film and television critic for more than thirty-five years. 
He has been the TV critic at the Cleveland Plain Dealer since July of 1999.
His many books include the horror novel Grave Secrets, The Bedside, Bathtub & Armchair Companion to Dracula, the literary biography Jim Tully: American Writer, Irish Rover, Hollywood Brawler (with Paul J.
Bauer) and two acclaimed histories of landmark TV series: The Columbo Phile: A Casebook and The Night Stalker Companion.
A member of the editorial board of Rod Serling Books, he penned the foreword to the 2015 reissue of Rod Serling’s first book, Patterns.
He has edited three collections of works by Twilight Zone contributor Richard Matheson.
His many books on Mark Twain include Mark My Words: Mark Twain On Writing, Horton Foote’s The Shape of the River: The Lost Teleplay About Mark Twain, Mark Twain’s Guide to Diet, Exercise, Beauty, Fashion, Investment, Romance, Health and Happiness, Mark Twain in Ohio, and Mark Twain for Cat Lovers.
A recognized Mark Twain scholar, he has been playing the great American writer on stage for more than thirty-five years.
Dawidziak and his wife, actress Sara Showman, founded the Largely Literary Theater Company in 2002 to promote literacy, literature, and live theater.
Their repertoire includes: Twain By Two; The Tell-Tale Play, a two-act collection of poems and stories by Edgar Allan Poe; and Shades of Blue and Gray: Ghosts of the Civil War.
A journalism graduate of George Washington University and an adjunct professor at Kent State University, he was born in Huntington, New York.
He lives in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, with his wife and their daughter, Rebecca “Becky” Claire.

Tags

Literature & Fiction,British & Irish,Horror,Humor & Entertainment,Pop Culture,General,History & Criticism,Movements & Periods



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Comment

 
 

Comment List (Total:2)

  •     The Bedside, Bathtub & Armchair Companion to Dracula is jam-packed with historical facts, literary references and vampire trivia. Renowned for his expertise on horror film, literature and television, author Mark Dawidziak engages the reader with numerous entertaining anecdotes and little-known facts regarding Dracula's creation and lasting influence. The book chronicles the legend of Dracula from his historical origins to Stoker's litereray creation, examining the various incarnations and offshoots in books and on film. Dawidziak provides a chapter-by-chapter summary of the novel then adds touches of wry humor as he deftly examines the numerous commercial and artistic products that have attempted to capitalize on the Dracula legend, taking a close look at how this gothic icon has left a lasting impression on modern society. The book also features nearly one hundred photos and illustrations depicting actors who portrayed the dashing count as well as movie posters, model kits, toys, games, cartoons and comics. Other fun features include a map of all the locations mentioned in the novel and even a Dracula-related crossword puzzle. Recommended for horror afficianados and fans of classic literature.
  •     From Bram Stoker to Vlad the Impaler, Lord Byron to Henry Irving, Bela Lugosi to Christopher Lee, Nosferatu to Abbott and Costello, Count Chocula to Sesame Street... Mark Dawidziak's book The Bedside, Bathtub & Armchair Companion to Dracula covers an admirably wide range of topics pertaining to Dracula in popular culture. The short chapters, usually no more than a few pages, make for ideal light reading in the locations listed in the title. It's just too bad that it was executed so poorly.Where to start with the book's flaws? I suppose with the poor and amateurish writing. Dawidziak is in his fifties but writes like an insolent teenager. He's very fond of lame puns (they pollute nearly every chapter), he attacks anyone who dares to disagree with him (in one chapter, he insultingly calls Lon Chaney Jr's negative opinion of the film Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein "by no means legitimate"), and he often comes across as a pedantic purist: if a film adaptation alters Stoker's tale in any way, you can count on Dawidziak to waste your time complaining about it, and naturally the films that make the most changes are routinely criticized and dismissed, regardless of their artistic value.Then there's the disproportionate coverage. When it came to deciding how many pages to devote to certain subjects, Dawidziak made some bizarre decisions. Nosferatu, the first film adaptation of Dracula, one of the most important, and arguably the best, is given two measly pages, while the little-known and little-regarded film The Return of Dracula gets three. Christopher Lee, who played Dracula over 15 years in nearly a dozen films and defined the character for a generation, is skimmed over in three pages, while John Carradine, by most accounts a minor Dracula, is given four. Dawidziak is blinded by nostalgia, spending too much time arguing that the films he grew up with (the Abbott and Costello film, and the ones starring Carradine) are misunderstood masterpieces while neglecting the ones of real importance.Finally, there's the filler. I'd say that a good third of the 188-page book is throwaway garbage. Who in the world needs a 13-page plot summary of Stoker's novel? Or a list of the characters? Or a list of Dracula's powers and weaknesses? Or a list of Dawidziak's favorite lines of dialogue from the novel? Or a list of the Shakespeare references in it? Is anyone really going to read Dawidziak's book without having read Stoker's? And who wants a poorly-composed, hand-drawn crossword puzzle? Couldn't some of these wasted pages have been used to cover the films that Dawidziak neglected? Not that I would trust him with doing a decent job of that.So why two stars instead of one? Because despite continually showing such poor taste and poor judgment, Dawidziak occasionally writes an interesting chapter: he covers the 1938 radio adaptation starring Orson Welles, he argues that Stoker's novel can be enjoyed simply as the adventure story it was intended to be without piling on endless Freudian metaphorical interpretation (as scholars and critics love to do), he explores the various ways that vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing has been portrayed over the decades, and he includes short interviews with actors known for playing Dracula, such as Christopher Lee and Jack Palance.But it isn't enough. Overall, The Bedside, Bathtub & Armchair Companion to Dracula reads like a Geocities fan website from 1996, written by a biased fanboy with an axe to grind. Dawidziak occasionally does something right, but he always tips the scale by doing five other things wrong. The book is absolutely not worth its ludicrous cover price; I bought my copy on Amazon Marketplace at a huge discount, and if my negative review doesn't deter you from buying the book, I at least suggest you get it as cheaply as possible.
 

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