Monday, August 31, 2015

Ten of the most evocative fictional castles and manors

Helen Maslin's first book is a YA ghost story called Darkmere. At the Guardian she tagged ten of the best castles and manors in fiction, including:
Castle Dracula from Dracula by Bram Stoker

Easily the spookiest place on this list is Castle Dracula. “A vast ruined castle, from whose tall black windows came no ray of light, and whose broken battlements showed a jagged line against the moonlit sky.”

Young solicitor, Jonathan Harker, is sent to the Transylvanian home of Count Dracula on business. He travels through wild, snowy country swarming with wolves, as the locals cross themselves and try to deter him. Upon reaching the castle, finds it worn and dilapidated, but still an impenetrable stronghold. Harker soon realises he has no way of escape.

The interior of the castle is decorated with costly furnishings, cups and plates of gold, and there is a good library. No servants however – and no mirrors. The castle is seething with menace and Harker becomes increasingly desperate to leave. Eventually, he climbs out of the window to discover a ruined chapel containing fifty great wooden boxes filled with earth. In one, lays Dracula. “I saw the dead eyes, and in them, dead though they were, such a look of hate, though unconscious of me or my presence that I fled from the place...”
Read about another entry on the list.

Dracula is on John Mullan's list of the ten best coach rides in literature, Rowan Somerville's top ten list of good sex in fiction, Arthur Phillips' list of six favorite books set in places that their authors never visited, and Anthony Browne's six best books list. It is one of the books on John Mullan's lists of ten of the best teeth in literature, ten of the best wolves in literature and ten of the best mirrors in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue