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Dracula
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Verdict: Though this is a remarkable bargain at $40,Åpublic librariesÅprobably can pass, but academics should purchase. Background: Like many works now staples and classics, Stoker's Dracula debuted to mediocre sales and reviews, but, like the count himself, had something that has kept it alive for more than a century. Klinger, who scored a hit with his New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, provides an identical take on the big D. Using several previous annotations as a springboard, Klinger offers straight scholarly notes, but to give the book extra bite proceeds as if the characters and events were real, with names, etc., changed by Stoker to throw readers off (this tack no doubt will annoy some readers). Regardless, the text is weighty with annotations-in fact there are so many pages of notes that it's sometimes hard to find the story-and illustrations ranging from period to current. The book also sports numerous appendixes dating the story's events, Dracula in fiction and film, and Stoker's short story "Dracula's Guest," which may/not have been a piece cut from the novel.-Michael Rogers, LJX Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Gr 6-9‘These visually appealing abridgments of classic titles make fairly difficult and complex novels accessible to a junior high audience. Virtually all kids are aware of Disney's not-so-ugly Quasimodo as the hunchbacked bell ringer of the Notre Dame Cathedral in 15th-century hang-'em-high Paris, and many will have seen some film version of Dracula. Massively trimmed, these retellings have brief, readable chapters; the violence is toned down and the eroticism erased. Competent illustrators bring visual unity to the presentations. Beginning with table-of-contents pages that feature portraits of the casts of characters, the books then devote a few pages to setting the place and mood of the tales. Two-page spreads of text and drawings are framed by related facts and illustrated with details from paintings, photographs, and even movie stills, all of which provide fascinating geographical, historical, and archaeological tidbits. These heavily illustrated books are guaranteed to give young people a leg up on high school and college English classes with their vivid re-creations of cruel, horrific, and romantic European worlds.‘John Sigwald, Unger Memorial Library, Plainview, TX

Klinger brings the same impressive breadth of knowledge that distinguished The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes to this definitive examination of one of the classic horror novels of all time. Adopting the conceit that Stoker's narrative is based on fact, Klinger elucidates the plot and historical context for both Stoker devotees and those more familiar with Count Dracula from countless popular culture versions. Because he had privileged access to the typescript Stoker delivered to his publisher, Klinger is able to note changes between it and the first edition and comment on the reasons for them. Through close reading, Klinger raises questions about such matters as the role of lead vampire-hunter Van Helsing and whether the villainous count is actually dispatched at book's end. An introduction by Neil Gaiman, numerous illustrations, essays on topics ranging from Dracula in the movies to the academic response, and much more enhance the package. 8-city author tour. (Oct.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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