Dracula starts out with several entries in Jonathan Harker’s journal, which comprise the first four chapters. These entries set the structure for the rest of the novel, which is also told mainly through journal entries and letters. This first section introduces Harker, who is a recently promoted English solicitor (a type of attorney). Harker travels eastward across Europe from London to Transylvania, where he is going to meet Count Dracula and explain to the count the particulars of his London real estate purchase. As he travels across the country to the castle, he notices the reaction of various area residents who are frightened by Dracula’s name. At Harker’s last checkpoint, a coach from Dracula’s castle arrives for him. Harker notes the strength of the driver.
Dracula is one of the few horror books to be honored by inclusion in the Norton Critical Edition series. (The others are Frankenstein, The Turn of the Screw, Heart of Darkness, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and The Metamorphosis.) This 100th-anniversary edition includes not only the complete authoritative text of the novel with illuminating footnotes, but also four contextual essays, five reviews from the time of publication, five articles on dramatic and film variations, and seven selections from literary and academic criticism. Nina Auerbach of the University of Pennsylvania (author of Our Vampires, Ourselves) and horror scholar David J. Skal (author of Hollywood Gothic, The Monster Show, and Screams of Reason) are the editors of the volume. Especially fascinating are excerpts from materials that Bram Stoker consulted in his research for the book, and his working papers over the several years he was composing it. The selection of criticism includes essays on how Dracula deals with female sexuality, gender inversion, homoerotic elements, and Victorian fears of "reverse colonization" by politically turbulent Transylvania.