I finished reading Dracula when Salman Rushdie was stabbed. Published in 1897, Bram Stoker’s novel remains a formidable page turner. I couldn’t ask Rushdie, injured and lying in his hospital bed, what he thought about it. That’s a shame. I told myself that this book must have thrilled him. The historical character who inspired Stoker also appears in one of his novels, The Enchantress of Florence.
Among the Turks, in the fifteenth century, Vlad III the Impaler, voivode of Wallachia, provoked terror. He “could not be defeated by any ordinary power. People began to say that Prince Vlad drank the blood of the victims he impaled while they were struggling in the throes of death, planted on their stakes, and that drinking this fresh blood of men and women gave him strength. strange powers over death. He was immortal. We couldn’t kill him. He was also the worst bully. He had the noses of the men he had killed cut off and to boast of his prowess sent them to the Prince of Hungary. All these stories terrified the army, which did not march cheerfully on Wallachia”. However, after a month of uncovered horrors, the Turks return “in Istanbul, carrying the head of the devil in a jar of honey. So it appeared that Dracula might die after all, despite rumors to the contrary. His body had been impaled as he had impaled so many others and he was left to the monks of Snagov to bury him as they pleased”.
Count Vlad III dies. The vampire born from his damned soul inherited his power, cruelty, selfishness and criminal mastermind, referred to as“childlike”. He is immortal until the moment when the heroes invented by Stoker manage, armed with Winchesters and knives, in a scene worthy of a western under the snow of Transylvania, to plant a blade in his heart and decapitate him. They must face the Gypsies who carry the coffin of the count, I was going to say the tale, and who benefit from the diabolical reputation that Europe has given them. Evil is eliminated by the characters of the novel that brought it to life.
In Dracula, we only see them feeling, thinking, speaking and acting through the letters they exchange and the diaries they keep. They end up sharing everything to put together a file: this sharing, sometimes painful by the secrets it reveals, makes them more effective in their fight against the famous count-vampire, who has come to England to “globalize” the evil by multiplying the “undead” who, in turn, will vampirize other living ones. Unity, will, reason, the absence of selfishness, disinterested love and friendship, this is what allows the small group to win. The man who directs it is Prof. Abraham Van Helsing. This knowledgeable and passionate Dutchman has no doubt about the nature of the evil they face and the fact that it must be faced without weakness, without complacency, at the risk of their own lives: what would these lives be without the values humanists and scientists who make them worth living? What they’re doing is meant to be kept secret: they’re not the ones who would brag about their righteous fight on social media.
Rushdie, as well as Charlie, likes to laugh and make people laugh. I therefore conclude with a passage from Dracula on this strange manifestation of energy. After the burial of poor Lucy, victim of the vampire and loved by the three young heroes of the book, one of the pathetic peaks of the novel, Van Helsing suddenly starts laughing like a madman. In his diary, Dr. Steward notes his surprise and pain. Van Helsing replies: “Don’t think I’m not sad, despite my laughter. See, I was still crying as I was choking with laughter. But don’t think I regret laughing in my tears either, because laughter comes just as naturally to me. Never forget that the laughter that knocks on your door asking for permission to enter is not real laughter. No, that one is a king who comes and goes when he pleases. He doesn’t ask anyone’s permission, he doesn’t choose the right moment or the most appropriate one. He simply says, “I am here. » » And in this world “sad”, “full of miseries, sorrows and troubles of all kinds”, its entrance us “makes everyone dance to the sound of his violin”. ●