Date / Time
- August 18, 2020
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
- Tuition for this course is $25 per session, $125 for all five sessions
- Rosenbach members receive a 10% discount on tuition. If you have questions about discounted tuition please call (215) 732-1600 x 138 or email [email protected].
- Not a member? We invite you to join upon registration. Click here for more information about membership.
- This course is limited to participants who are 17 years of age or older.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula has become the ur-text of vampire fiction and lore, the vampire story that not only continues to influence vampire tales today, but also influences how we read vampire stories that came before it. We’ll begin this seminar series by talking about Stoker’s novel, its story, as well as its continuing resonance about everything related to vampires. We’ll also take a look at some of the notes the author compiled as he write the book and now are a part of The Rosenbach’s collections. Then each month, we’ll feature a different vampire text: from stories of vampire folklore and fiction before Dracula to contemporary vampire fiction.
Unlike our Sundays with Dracula series, these meetings will include student discussion. We’ll use the Zoom meeting format, so we can all be on the screen together, talking about our favorite vampire stories. Class size will be limited to 25 participants per session. Students are responsible for their own internet connections.
You can register for the individual monthly sessions of this course or register for all five sessions with the ticketing on this page. Learn more and register for additional monthly sessions here:
- August 18 – Dracula: We’ll look at the greatest of all vampire stories, Dracula (1897), which influences all the vampire stories told since and also colors our impressions of all the stories that came before it. Bram Stoker researched and wrote Dracula over seven years, synthesizing vampire folklore and fiction to create a novel has continued to inspire fiction and film for over a hundred years. Many of the “rules” for both vampires and their hunters take their cure from Stoker’s novel. We’ll examine how Dracula highlights the fears and anxieties of the culture that produced it and discover how this vampire story (like all monster stories) is just as much about themes of difference and otherness, race and ethnicity, sexuality and gender, as it is about thrilling horror.
- September 15 – Vampire Folklore: We’ll read folkloric vampire accounts from the Middle Ages to the 18th Century that inspired the fiction of the 19th century. The vampire of folklore was a very different monster than the one that haunts the pages and screens of our contemporary world, yet the fears of the undead are still recognizable, especially in a time when we still face pandemic disease. Register.
- October 13 – “A Fragment” by Lord Byron and The Vampyre by John Polidori: When nineteenth century authors took up the pen and created stories of the blood-sucking beast, they reinvented the vampire in ways that reflected their own anxieties and their vampires, in turn, have come to represent for us, the legends of the past. Vampires of folklore were creatures that dug their way out of graves. They smelled of decay. They were a lot like our versions of zombies. But in the 19th century this conception changed in fiction. Vampires started looking and acting like us, or at least like well-bred beautiful versions of us. 19th century readers needed vampires as an outlet for their anxiety about death, but they wanted them a little cleaner (and a little romantic). From the shores of Lake Geneva in the Villa Diodati, Lord Byron, and later John Polidori, provided the fictional template of the vampire that would influence all who came later. Register.
- November 10 – “The Mysterious Stranger”: For many years an anonymous short story, now known to be a translation of a story by von Waschmann, many of the themes and details of this work can be seen in Stoker’s Dracula. A thrilling and fascinating story immersed in gothic themes, it’s also the earliest vampire story set in the Carpathian mountains. Register.
- December 8 – Carmilla by J Sheridan Le Fanu: Carmilla (1871-72) by J. Sheridan Le Fanu is one of the more thrilling and bizarre love stories of vampire fiction. Le Fanu was an Irish author of supernatural tales that heavily influenced Stoker and many others. Carmilla’s plot still shocks (and titillates modern audiences). Register.
About the Instructors
Led by Edward G. Pettit, host of The Rosenbach’s Sundays with Dracula
About Rosenbach Courses
Revisit beloved classics or experience new ones with Rosenbach courses. Book lovers delve into fiction, history, and poetry with the guidance of a literary expert and the company of other readers. See all upcoming courses.
Date / Time
- August 18, 2020
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm