Dracula Paper 3.docx - Slav 2630 Topic 16 Pick you own How did Bram Stockers novel Dracula influence and evolve the portrait of the vampire in

Dracula Paper 3.docx - Slav 2630 Topic 16 Pick you own How...

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Slav 2630 Topic 16: Pick you own: How did Bram Stocker’s novel, Dracula, influence and evolve the portrait of the vampire in fiction/cinema? How has it affected today’s popular culture? The legend of the vampire is one that continues to frighten and fascinate people world- wide. The idea of an undead night-stalker that feeds on human blood has been around for centuries and endures to this day. Numerous countries and cultures across the globe have personal deviations of a similar folkloric entity. No matter the variation, all vampire tales have a key commonality—the lust for human blood. It was not until the late 19th century that an Irish author complied a breadth of knowledge on such folkloric tales and concocted the character that now acts as the template for the vampire myth. Bram Stoker’s Dracula was first published in 1897 and from that point forward the novelist’s title character set the precedent for all fictional vampires. Vampire fiction, however, continues to evolve and captivate despite the fact that it draws from a vast folkloric and literary past. Today, many cultures have their own ideas about mystical blood-sucking creatures and the vampire myth continues to thrive globally. The idea that vampires exist across the globe has been a subject of folk tale, superstition, and myth throughout the history of man. 1 According to Brown, “Supernatural beings that visit humans and animals during the night to feed on their blood or other life-giving forces are a widespread and persistent belief.” Legends of such creatures have been reported for various cultures almost worldwide, including China, India, Malaya, the Phillipines, Arabia, Turkey, Africa, and Europe. 1 Noll, Richard. Vampires, Werewolves, and Demons: Twentieth Century Reports in the Psychiatric Literature. New York: Brunner/Mazel, 1991. 37 1
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One of the most famous vampires in the folkloric realm became that involving that of Arnold Paole. In December 1731, the Austrian government sent a contingent of medical examiners under Field Surgeon Johannes Fluckinger to investigate reports of bodies being extracted, staked, dismembered and burned in Medwegya. The medical officers were informed several of these deaths were thought to be due to a self-confessed vampire, Arnold Paole, who had died of a broken neck five years before the outbreak. Many of the townspeople complained of being haunted by Paole a month after his death. Therefore, his grave was examined by the town leaders and his body was found perfectly preserved; blood flowed freely from Paole’s eyes, ears, and nose and new fingernails and toenails had grown to replace the one’s he had in life. 2 “When a stake was driven through his heart, he was said to have given a loud shriek, and great quantities of blood had gushed forth.” 3 After the corpse was staked, the remains were burned and the ashes were returned to his tomb. Seventeen people mysteriously died within a three month period and many of these deaths were assumed to be the delayed work of Paole. Fluckinger and his officers exhumed and examined fifteen bodies, including two children. Eleven of the corpses
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