The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire

We've moved! Please check out, the new home for our 'Tales of supernatural horrors!'

Monday, October 17, 2005

Professor: vampires more style than gore

From Newswise:

The real Count Dracula wasn't quite the pretty face that today's vampires boast in books, movies and at Halloween parties, says a Purdue University classics professor. "Stories and traditions vary over time, and the Western world shifted from portraying vampires as repulsive and horrible to more human creatures that are sexually desirable and even sympathetic," says John T. Kirby, professor of classics and comparative literature. "This dramatic change really began with Anne Rice's remarkable series of vampire novels in the 1970s and other novels, films and television shows that followed her lead. "While people are having fun with this new image of vampires, it's important to remember the historical figure who inspired vampire legend as we know it in the West today." The Dracula legend is based on Vlad the Third, the prince of Wallachia, which is in present-day Romania. Vlad ruled during the Middle Ages and is considered a national hero in Romania for defending the country from invading Ottoman Turks. "However, he was merciless in killing thousands of both the Turks and, shockingly, his own people," says Kirby, who is teaching an honors class this spring on vampires in folklore, fiction and film, as well as leading a study abroad program during spring break to Transylvania, which is in modern-day Romania. "Because his favorite method of execution was to impale people on a stake, he's known as Vlad the Impaler." His other nickname was Drakulya, which means son of the dragon. Vlad's father, Vlad II of Wallachia, was a member of the Order of the Dragon. From this knightly order, the older Vlad adopted the nickname Drakul. Kirby says it was Bram Stoker's "Dracula" novel in 1897 that made the connection between traditional vampire lore and Vlad the Third. "However, with the popularity today of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and 'Interview with a Vampire,' it's much easier to imagine vampires as objects of desire, not just of pure revulsion," Kirby says.
What can I say? Vampires are just sexy.


Blogger protected static said...

Oh, what nonsense! The first widely-read vampire novel, Varney the Vampire predates Dracula by 50 years (1847 vs. 1897). The title vampire is based upon Lord Byron, and, as such, is depicted in pretty sexual terms...

The Eastern European vampire has some pretty clear 'rules' - but even then, there are major variations from region to region & ethnicity to ethnicity. Outside of Eastern Europe, the boundries between the different 'vampire' myths grows a lot murkier, with a lot more variation. Some of them are quite sensual and sexual, indeed. </rant>

I told'j'a a couple of weeks ago that I felt an essay coming on... ;-) Feh... Academics... (he says, looking around to see if his PhD wife is around)

10/17/2005 10:19:00 PM  
Blogger Carnacki said...

Rant away! The wife will never have to know. What happens on The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire stays in The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire.

10/18/2005 01:43:00 AM  
Blogger Carnacki said...

I'll confess: I was going to get real snarky with the professor's comments and I chickened out right before hitting the submit. Not that I would have gotten snarky with Dan Brown's nemesis, but it did make me mindful of who might show up after googling his name.

10/18/2005 01:45:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home