Comparing Carmilla And Bram Stoker's Dracula And Dracula

921 Words4 Pages
The first mention of vampires in literature seeped through from European folklore. In the mid-1700s, a vampire panic swept the Serbian countryside. Victims reported being visited in the night by their recently deceased relatives or neighbors, who throttled the life from them. Those struck by these visions died within days.
When panicked townspeople exhumed the offending corpses, they found "tell-tale" signs of vampirism: hair and nails that continued to grow after death, blood in the mouth, a lack of decomposition.
The panic worked its way into poetry. Heinrich August Ossenfelder 's 1748 poem "The Vampire" (available in the original German), was one of the first to speak about the nocturnal horror:

And as softly thou art sleeping To thee
…show more content…
Fifty years later, Sheridan Le Fanu gave the world its first favorite female vampire in Carmilla, which he published in 1872. In Carmilla, a young woman falls prey to a vampire in an isolated castle. Sound familiar? Scholars have noted many similarities between Carmilla and Bram Stoker 's vampire masterpiece, Dracula, which followed twenty-five years later. By the time Dracula was published, the reading public was steeped in vampire tales. Stoker drew on the existing tropes to create a lasting horror masterpiece that has become a cultural staple. The character of Count Dracula has since appeared in more than 200…show more content…
Carmilla is the most obvious counter to the assumption that vampire horror stories began with Bram Stoker. In fact, Western Europe had been raking it in for at least a century before Count Dracula, thanks to terrors stemming from religious misgivings about the crazy amount of imperialism going on at the time. (More on that in a minute.) Remember that summer Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley spent in Lake Geneva with her baby-daddy/future husband Percy and several other writers in 1816, during which she wrote Frankenstein. Poet Lord Byron, also in attendance, and his physician John William Polidori both came away from the summer-long ghost story competition with vampire stories very similar to those later tales credited with the genre’s genesis. Carmilla in particular is notable for the progressive groundwork it laid for LGBT-centric and otherwise liberally sexual

More about Comparing Carmilla And Bram Stoker's Dracula And Dracula

Open Document