Keynote Abstracts

Dr. Victoria Amador

The Female Vampire’s Cinematic Evolution

We are living in a time when female empowerment is both asserted and assaulted politically and culturally. The vampire myth has afforded women the paradigms of victim and vanquisher, and as realized in many cinemas, an increasingly indomitable embodiment of the latter. By reviewing key filmic female vampires from the past into the present, we can the transformation of this figure into a feminist heroine for the 21st century. This retrospective presentation will explore various vamp/vampire figures in primarily western cinema, thereby examining how women’s power in its varied permutations continues to terrify and inspire..

 

 

Hans C. de Roos, MA

Early Serializations and Translations of Dracula in Light of the Internationalization of the Press 1895-1900

The last decade has seen significant discoveries about early serializations and translations of Dracula: the Hungarian serialization of Drakula in Budapesti Hírlap of 1898; the Icelandic serialization of Makt Myrkranna in the newspaper Fjalkonann in 1900; the preceding Swedish serializations and modifications, and finally the unearthing of the first known US serialization in the Chicago Inter Ocean of May-June 1899. This presentation will discuss these publications and the question, if and to what extent Bram Stoker was personally involved in them. Special attention is given to the growing international cooperation of the press during this time, as a possible factor in the early dissemination of the Dracula story.


Dr. Magda Grabias

Vampires, Werewolves, Demons: The Nature of the Polish Horror Film

 

While Poland can be proud of its many valuable literary horror works, Polish horror film remains rather scarce. Nevertheless, enthusiasts of the genre can still encounter cinematic and televisual productions, some of which date back even to the pre-war era. Set mostly in Slavonic reality, Polish horror films seem to frequently combine elements characteristic of western culture and today serving as obligatory requisites of the Gothic literary and filmic universe. As a result, Polish horror film can be considered as a curious blend of western and eastern elements, spiced with the local traits and signifiers. The article proposes a detailed look at the constituents of chosen Polish horror films, including their setting, characters and aesthetics.

 

 

 


Ass. Prof. Marius Crisan

The Dracula Myth in Transylvania: the Romanian Side of the Story

The connection of the Dracula myth with the Romanian space may be considered complex and even problematic. One of the first reasons of this “Dracula Dilemma” (as Duncan Light would put it) is the different perception of the myth from the Romanian perspective. For literary criticism it is clear that Bram Stoker rather “borrowed” the name of the Wallachian Voivode Dracula for his fictional vampire, and a distinction between the historical figure and the fictional character is the first step of an objective analysis. From the 18th century until the end of the 20th, Romanian literature and culture has paid special attention to Voivode Dracula, known for his historical nickname, Vlad the Impaler. Several classical writers have dedicated him famous pages of prose, poems and theatre. Since the last decade of the 20th century, the vampire Dracula also enters the world of Romanian literature, both in theatre and prose. After mentioning some of the main steps in the evolution of the Dracula myth in Romanian literature, this paper will pay special attention to a novel which describes the city of Brașov and its university as the main topos of a Dracula parody. In the humoristic novel Nepotul lui Dracula “Dracula’s Nephew” (2013) by late Alexandru Mușina (one of the most prestigious writers and professors in contemporary Romanian literature), the main character is a junior lecturer in Brașov who discovers that he is a great-grandnephew of Dracula. The novel parodies both the Occidental vampiric literature and the Romanian historical works dedicated to Voivode Vlad the Impaler. Nepotul lui Dracula can also be read as a literary answer to the first Romanian epopee Țiganiada (The Gypsy Camp) written by the Transylvanian intellectual Ioan Budai-Deleanu in the last decade of the 18th century. Many complex aspects of the Dracula myth are approached in Mușina’s parodical work, which narrates the story of the vampire lecturer’s triumph in the academic world of Brașov.

Hans C. de Roos, MA,  Extra

The Earliest Fully Illustrated Dracula Story Ever
- an exclusive preview

In 2015, Simone Berni from Pisa unearthed the earliest known illustration of Dracula: the cover image of the Hungarian book edition, published in Spring 1898. This colored portrait of Count Dracula with wild hair and long teeth precedes the first American cover illustration (Castle on the Rock, Doubleday & McClure, New York, end of 1899) and the first British cover illustration (Count Dracula climbing head-first down the wall, Constable & Co. Abridged Edition, London, 1901).

The first known Dracula book with a frontispiece illustration was the Caldwell/Three Owls Book Club Edition of 1910, againshowing a black Castle Dracula on a mountain. Only in Spring and Summer2017, I got hold of an exclusive series of Dracula illustrations, giving us an insight in the Swedish Dracula variant of 1899-1900, partly preceding the 1899 Doubleday and McClure cover. Both in number (152 images) and in dramatic quality, these pictures surpass any illustrations published before and after; they show the full range of Stoker's characters, plus half a dozen newly added characters, in moving scenes. The planned presentation wil give an exclusive preview of 27 of these illustrations, digitally restored and colorized.

Crist. Pralea, Georgeta Moarcăș

Rhizomatic Aspects of a

Modern Myth

 

This is an introduction in the Romanian corpus of contemporary and traditional superstitions, customs, and representations dealing with the idea of a supernatural afterlife. From various instances of ghosts and apparitions to methods of protection against vampires and vampirism, that seem to mirror Bram Stoker’s fiction, we argue that the contemporary appeal of the vampire myth matches a series of magical thinking remnants that can be easily observed with a study of such folklore elements. Rather than attempting to identify Bram Stoker’s sources of inspiration, we propose an overview and analysis in simultaneity, aiming to uncover the fragmentary (and modern) mindset that tempts people to respond positively to such fictions, pushes them, accordingly, to construct such fictional realities, and, ultimately, runs along a few never-gone strings of magical thought. Of course, such a study can be performed on multiple cultural locations, however we chose Romania, not only due to Bram Stoker’s geographical choices, but rather because the vampire myth, instead of being coagulated, exists and can be encountered in a disparate, interweaving, rhizomatic state. This can account for its durability and strength, and renders itself well as a thread leading to such a veiled structure of thinking.