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Thursday, November 08, 2012

Happy Birthday, Bram Stoker!

Today's Google image was centred around vampires and Bram Stoker. Today is his 165th birthday! When I declared this at school today, one of my students said,"Miss, he's dead." Some people just don't get it.

In this day of romantic Gothic-style vampires, it's hard to imagine them as anything else. It's not that Stoker wrote the first vampire tale or even the first glam vampire tale; that honour goes to John Polidori, who was on that weekend writers' retreat with two poets and the girlfriend of one of them  - the one where the two amateurs actually wrote something worth reading and the two poets didn't come up with anything much? :-)

But Dracula is the novel on which our whole view of what vampires can and can't do is based. And he did something unusual, with Vlad Tepes, Romanian national hero, linked with the scary undead villain of his novel. I actually only read it a few years ago, and found, to my surprise, that it was easy reading. It was done in the form of letters and diary entries, which even fairly reluctant readers can handle. And scary? Oh, yes! I was biting my knuckles, muttering,"No, you idiot! Don't take off the garlic flowers! Stop opening that window, Dracula's out there!"

So, hands up those of you who haven't read it? Go on, we won't tell. But how about putting down that paranormal romance for a day or two and trying this?

I have sometimes recommended it when students have had enough of the Gothic romances that the big publishers are pouring out for teens at such a huge rate. "How about a book where the vampire is the bad guy?"

And the adapted version for children is doing well too.

Anyway, raise your glass in a toast to the grand master of the spooky vampire tale - and yes, I do

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