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Bram Stoker's Dracula

Reading Dracula is a bit of a chore – like giving blood. And at approximately 120,000 words it’s going to keep you turning its pages for quite some time. Bram Stoker, or Brimstoker as his fellow Dubliner, James Joyce, referred to him in Finnegans Wake, opted for some pretty meandering Gothic structural devices in this novel. Thus, we are presented with multiple points of view, and these are conveyed to us through the letters, diaries and journals of Jonathan Harker, Mina Harker, Lucy Westenra, Dr John Seward and Professor Abraham Van Helsing. Some newspaper articles and even a ship’s log are thrown in for good measure, which makes for an untidy and rickety edifice. Note that Count Dracula hi

The Piano Recital

To reach Central Hall is to negotiate a series of labyrinthine passageways, followed by a number of doors and two flights of stairs. User friendly it isn’t. The auditorium is furnished with some heavy-duty chandeliers, and the walls are replete with paintings of various deceased dignitaries including Edmund Backhouse, Edward Pease and Winston Churchill. The first two are Darlington-born Quakers, the former a colourful character, who was not only a homosexual, but also a secret agent, a forger and a confidence trickster. With those attributes, he wouldn’t be out of place in contemporary Tory politics. The third is, of course, that familiar cigar-smoking racist, an advocate for eugenics, starv

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