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Vampire History

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Matt Brashears

on 29 June 2015

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Transcript of Vampire History

The Evolution of the Vampire
Vampires in Film
Vampires Spread through Popular Culture
Slavic Spiritualism
The term "Slavic" refers to an ethnic group that is widespread through much of Eastern Europe, which includes modern-day Russians, Ukranians, Croatians, Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, etc.
After Death
Soul wanders for 40 days
Can re-enter his body or possess that of another (dead or alive!)
The Slavic Vampir
Almost as early as the invention of film, vampire movies proliferate. There are versions for almost every demographic
1931 Dracula w/ Bela Lugosi as Dracula
Mel Brooks Dracula: Dead & Loving It
Batman vs. Dracula
Can’t Quite Believe It:
Blackula (1972)

Recent (vampires as Antiheroes):
Dracula (1992)
= w/ Keanu Reeves as Harker
Dracula 2000 (2000)
= Dracula, the rock video
Van Helsing
= young VH is a monster hunter /
Dracula (1931)
How is Dracula portrayed in this trailer? How does this relate to the Count in the novel?
How might this reflect the values & vices of depression-era America?
Interview with the Vampire (1994)
How are these vampires portrayed? How does this relate to Stoker’s Count?
How might this reflect the values & vices of modern America?
Let MeIn (2010)
How is this vampire portrayed? How does this relate to Stoker’s Count?
How might this reflect the values and fears of modern America?
(Anne Rice wrote Interview in 1976: AIDS pandemic begins in 1970s)
What new fears regarding children emerged in the past 15 years?
(think economic fears/Marxist lens)
Ancient Vampires
Body & soul
Body = physical self – dies & becomes corpse
Soul = immortal, spiritual self
Funeral rites were VERY important!

Failure to care for your dead could lead to...
Vampire Hysteria
18th century = beginning of age of reason... in Western Europe
Serbia = recently conquered part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire; still "wild"
Peter Plogojowitz: dies, is reportedly seen by several people, and then is blamed for 9 mysterious deaths in 1 week. His body is disinterred by a local army commander and found to be fresh - no decomposition - and his mouth smeared with blood.
The Vampires
The Setting
Official Reaction
Military doctors sent to examine the bodies and end the hysteria; however, their official report only CONFIRMS the locals' story.
Reports are almost immediately translated and published in newspapers across Western Europe. Vampire hysteria sweeps the continent.
It becomes illegal to dig up and mutilate corpses
(but vampire hunting continues anyway)
Vampires in Literature
This man had during his lifetime often revealed that, near Gossowa in Turkish Serbia, he had been troubled by a vampire, wherefore he had eaten from the earth of the vampire's grave and had smeared himself with the vampire's blood, in order to be free from the vexation he had suffered. In 20 or 30 days after his death some people complained that they were being bothered by this same Arnold Paole; and in fact four people were killed by him. In order to end this evil, they dug up this Arnold Paole 40 days after his death – this on the advice of a soldier, who had been present at such events before; and they found that he was quite complete and un-decayed, and that fresh blood had flowed from his eyes, nose, mouth, and ears; that the shirt, the covering, and the coffin were completely bloody; that the old nails on his hands and feet, along with the skin, had fallen off, and that new ones had grown; and since they saw from this that he was a true vampire, they drove a stake through his heart, according to their custom, whereby he gave an audible groan and bled copiously, Thereupon they burned the body the same day to ashes and threw these into the grave.
Fluckinger's Report
1st form of Vampire lit
First in German (language of empire!), later, in English
1st Vampire Poem: "Der Vampir" 1748 by Ossenfelder
Coleridge: "Christabel" (1797/1800)
Polidori: The Vampyre (1819)
Bram Stoker: Dracula (1897)
Richard Matheson: I Am Legend (1954)
Anne Rice: Interview with a Vampire (1976)
Stephanie Myers: Twilight (2005)
My dear young maiden clingeth  
Unbending, fast and firm 
To all the long-held teaching 
Of a mother ever true; 
As in vampires unmortal 5
Folk on the Theyse's* portal 
Heyduck ** -like do believe. 
But my Christine thou dost dally, 
And wilt my loving parry 
Till I myself avenging 10 
To a vampire's health a-drinking 
Him toast in pale tockay.***
And as softly thou art sleeping 
To thee shall I come creeping  
And thy life's blood drain away. 15
And so shalt thou be trembling 
For thus shall I be kissing 
And death's threshold thou' it be crossing 
With fear, in my cold arms. 
And last shall I thee question 20
Compared to such instruction 
What are a mother's charms? 
"Der Vampir"

2 Famous writers: Percy Shelley & Lord Byron

Mary Godwin, Claire Claremont & Dr. John Polidori

Nosferatu (old school vampire)
Wild, savage, beastlike & ignorant
Rural, from peasant class, uneducated, shabby
Decidedly inhuman: pointy ears, bald, claws, etc.
... like THIS guy
How are vampires portrayed in this text? How do they relate to Stoker’s Count? What sources seem to have inspired this work?

How might the Twilight vampires reflect the values, vices and fears of 21st century America? Of teen culture?
Future Reflections
Explore the following assertion: Dracula is all things to all people. How have the image, beliefs and lore of vampires changed over time? What has driven these changes? What might the vampires of the future be like? Why?
Rich, complex pre-Christian mythology
Unclean spirit possessing a decomposing body
Vengeful & jealous
Sustains undeath by sucking blood of the living
Arnold Paul: soldier supposedly attacked by a vampire in Turkey. He dies, is spotted by four eyewitnesses - all of whom die mysteriously. Concerned villagers call for officials from the Empire to dig him up and kill his vampire self.
“Stoker’s research papers for Dracula, including articles from newspapers, magazines, and books, indicate that his primary source for vampire folklore was “Transylvanian Superstitions” by Emily Gerard published in the July 1885” (Johnson)

He also modeled his vampire on . . .

Stoker Studied & Was Inspired By Folklore…

15th Century Transylvanian (Romanian) Count

Drakul = dragon or devil+ a = son of
Vlad the Impaler
aka Vlad Drakula

Impaled his enemies (20,000 in a single field)

Actually a Catholic Crusader whose methods were officially sanctioned by the Vatican

Rumored to torture his citizens and victims by: forcing mothers to eat their babies, skinning people alive, boiling, burning, gouging out their eyes, etc.

Vampires in folklore and in Dracula:
Drink blood
Are nocturnal / avoid daylight
Are exceptionally strong
Have connections to and/or power over animals

A World of Similarities

No Reflection!

“He throws no shadow; he make in the mirror no reflect, as again Jonathan Harker observe.” – Van Helsing (Stoker, 289)

One MAJOR Difference!

“Stoker has left us with no clues in research notes and papers as to where or how he came up with this idea. And recorded vampire folklore is mute on this subject“ (Johnson)

One possibility: shadows = souls, vampires have no souls, therefore vampires have no shadows (Johnson)
Lord Byron, the vampire?!?
“The Vampyre” (1819) = 1st English vampire fiction
Guess we're not going outside...
Ghost Story Session
Byron's challenge: write the best one!
Shelley writes.... nothing
Byron writes a fragment of a vampire story
Mary Godwin writes FRANKENSTEIN
(1819) - 1st Vampire Fiction in English
Polidori's revenge!
Byronic Vampire (from The Vampyre on)
Sophisticated, refined, intelligent
Aristocratic, cultured, from high society
Looks, talks, thinks, acts and FEELS human
(except for the blood drinking…)
Full transcript