Varieties of Vampires

It’s possible that the fictional character Dracula as developed by Bram Stoker and epitomized by Bela Lugosi created such an archetypical boogyman that alternate interpretations of the blood-sucking undead tend not to be met with much success. Yet with the recent transformation of the undead from the traditional fiction of the zombie into the current brain-eating rage that is in all the movies and generating cute but boring knock-offs of some of the greatest novels of all time, the vampire now has enough space and time to change himself (herself, itself, theirselves).

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We’ve all read Bram Stoker’s very commercially successful treatment of the vampire stories in the character of Dracula. Written in 1897 and adapted to the stage and later to the movies, Dracula became the modern archetype of the vampire. But Stoker didn’t in fact introduce the vampire to the English speaking world. The Irish writer, J. Sheridan Le Fanu, provided a wonderfully creepy treatment of the vampire in his 1872 novel Carmilla.

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