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The Lair of the White Worm by Bram Stoker
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The Lair of the White Worm (1911)

by Bram Stoker

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
The pace of this was incredibly slow and it was just full of rubbish brought into the story for a reason and then abandoned. ( I’m looking at you mongoose). The amount of racism throughout the story was unreal. Stoker really batters you over the head with it. ( )
  Arkrayder | Jun 5, 2018 |
Ugh. ( )
  subabat | Mar 19, 2018 |
Adam Salton comes to England to meet his great-uncle and establish a new life in Derbyshire, meets the woman of his dreams, and battles a monster that has plagued the area for centuries. What a gosh-darned mess this is. The story has a lot of potential, but as it was first published in a 40-chapter novel that was then abridged into a 24-chapter version, the pacing is off; it is lucid at times and nothing short of incoherent in others. Beware that, for a modern reader, it is also so blatantly racist that some lines almost gave me hiccups. Stoker had been sick for many years while writing this (and died the year after it was published) and I can only assume that there was some mental ramifications to his illness. Ken Russell made an oddly entertaining film version in the 1980s, starring Hugh Grant and Peter Capaldi, which I am reluctantly fond of, so I liked the book a little more than I normally would have because of that. ( )
  -Eva- | Mar 5, 2018 |
This falls under “There may have been promise in pockets, but otherwise not a good book.” I read this on the app Serial Reader, which breaks up works of classic literature into chunks that can be read in about 10 to 15 minutes each. This format worked well, actually, and helped create some suspense. But the story didn’t end up being that successful.

The overriding impression I had was that this story felt like an abridgement. We never really got details about where the White Worm came from and the reasons behind its terrorizing this particular bit of countryside. The story felt rushed, and some characters felt unnecessary and underdeveloped, such as Adam’s uncle, who spends the whole time having the White Worm hidden from him, and Oolanga, who seems to have been included primarily for the other characters to be racist about.

I wouldn’t recommend this for recreational reading — perhaps if you’re studying the evolution of the horror novel and can discuss its contents and context with someone. Otherwise, don’t bother. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Oct 31, 2017 |
I can’t remember why I had this sitting around on my ereader (apart from it being public domain and therefore free). I think it might be because it was supposedly an influence in Stephen King’s short story “Jersualem’s Lot” in Night Shift, which I quite liked, but since then I’ve read Stoker’s Dracula and really didn’t like it. Compared to The Lair of the White Worm, though, Dracula is a beautiful masterpiece. This is a really, really, really bad book. Even amongst Gothic scholars, Stoker’s die-hard fans and general lovers of old-timey English horror literature, The Lair of the White Worm is a rambling and nonsensical novel.

The plot, such as it is, involves young colonial lad Adam Shaw returning to the motherland at the invitation of his great-uncle, who wishes to pass on his Staffordshire mansion to him. But it turns out one of their neighbours is an ancient and monstrous wyrm-like creature in human guise, so they take it upon themselves to destroy her. There are also weird psychic battles between unrelated characters, a horrifically racist caricature of an African voodoo priest, and a gigantic kite which controls birds or something? I gave up trying to follow the plot after about forty pages. Oh, and despite being set in 1860, the climax involves copious amounts of dynamite, which wasn’t invented until 1867.

It explained a lot when I found out The Lair of the White Worm was written after Stoker had a a number of strokes in the midst of tertiary syphilis, and he died not long after finishing it. Apparently the original version had forty chapters; I appear to have read the edited 1925 version which removed almost a hundred pages, and thank God for that. I can’t imagine the malarkey that would have gone on in those extra chapters. The Lair of the White Worm is an outright bad novel, and was only published because it was written by an extremely popular author and would have sold no matter what its pages contained.

(And what the hell’s going on with that cover? Why does the Worm have arms?) ( )
  edgeworth | Nov 19, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bram Stokerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gálvölgyi, JuditTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kalin, VictorCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuczka, PéterAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my friend BERTHA NICOLL with affectionate esteem
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Adam Salton sauntered into the Empire Club, Sydney, and found awaiting him a letter from his grand-uncle. (Abridged)
When Adam Salton arrived at the Great Eastern Hotel, he found awaiting him a letter in the handwriting of his grand-uncle, Richard Salton, which he knew so well from the many kind letters which he had received from him in Western Australia. (Unabridged)
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There are two versions of The Lair of the White Worm. Most editions published after 1925 are heavily abridged and partially rewritten, with only 28 chapters instead of the original 40, and over 100 pages deleted.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0646418424, Paperback)

In a tale of ancient evil, Bram Stoker creates a world of lurking horrors and bizarre denizens: a demented mesmerist, hellbent on mentally crushing the girl he loves; a gigantic kite raised to rid the land of an unnatural infestation of birds, and which receives strange commands along its string; and all the while, the great white worm slithers below, seeking its next victim...

Bram Stoker, creator of Dracula, is one of the most enduring and masterful influences on the literature of terror.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:56 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

'Lair of the White Worm' is a camp horror tale from an acknowledged master of the genre. Originally published in 1911, and out-of-print for many years, this enticing tale comes to you from the pen of the man who brought Dracula to life.

» see all 4 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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