Masters Thesis

Specter of the past and vision of the future: the long shadow of Bram Stoker's Dracula

In the century since its publication, Bram Stoker's horror novel Dracula has become the preeminent source of inspiration for a massive genre of fiction which continues to grow in popularity. The role of the vampire in fiction is varied and often highly contradictory, but vampires themselves have become so rooted in Stoker's work that each iteration can be seen as a reinterpretation of his ideas about what a vampire is and how they should be used in literature. There are currently four major types of vampire that appear in fiction, the monster, the villain, the antihero, and the superhero. All four have their roots in Stoker's work, and each one in turn digs deeper into his writing to find a new way of showcasing this very old myth. By examining these four subtypes one by one, exploring how each grows out of the other, how each new author pulls from Stoker's novel and how critical interpretations of the vampire evolve to both conform and inspire, we can see how Bram Stoker continues to guide the work of other authors more than a hundred years later, and how the character of Dracula looms over an entire world of genre fiction.

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