Friday, May 18, 2012

Count Vampyre from Styria - or what Bram Stoker did not write

Le Vampire - Philip Burne-Jones (1897)
On May 18, 1897, Bram Stoker published his seminal book 'Dracula' in London and established one of the most influential genres in fantastic literature by introducing the Transylvanian blood sucker. Nowadays most people don't know that identifying Dracula with the historical Vlad Tepes -- called the impaler -- was completely made up by Stoker himself. Oh, obviously Vlad Tepes was anything else but a nice guy, as you might look up by yourself in wikipedia. But, of course he did not drink blood. The vampire on the other side came from legends of the Balkans and Eastern Europe. And vampire literature dates even further back to James Polidori's 1819 published novell 'The Vampyre'. But the very first striking and still ongoing success is Bram Stoker's Dracula.

At yovisto, we have a rather special piece of lecture for all German speaking fellows. Peter Mario Kreuter speaks about the vampire legends of the Balkans and retells numerous marvellous tales about the history of vampirism. One of the most interesting stories was about Bram Stoker and his problems while writing 'Dracula'. Before Stoker came up with putting the scenery to wild romantic Transylvania, we was considering Austria as appropriate location, in particular Styria (Steiermark). Styria is also the home country of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Just imagine the outcome: Dracula with Styrian accent like Arnold Schwarzenegger....'I'll be back'! (Indeed!)



As for the English speaking audience, you might watch Sir Christopher Frayling giving a talk about 'The nightmares of Bram Stoker'.

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