EW Staff
May 03, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

If Barbara Belford’s previous work is any indication, Bram Stoker: A Biography of the Author of Dracula could have been a richly definitive literary biography. But the Columbia journalism professor bases this book on the wildly overstated case that Dracula is a ”coded Victorian diary” of Stoker’s secret thoughts. She applies her brand of decoding and, lo and behold, finds Dracula (and thus Stoker) teeming with ”seduction, rape, gang rape, group sex, necrophilia, pedophilia, incest, adultery, oral sex, venereal disease, and voyeurism.” Belford gives lively form to the world she thinks Stoker lived in — but she ignores what he said about himself when it doesn’t fit her theory. C+

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