Vampire History

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
This essay is about vampire history. It includes the novel and movie Dracula and more...

Submitted: November 26, 2009

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Submitted: November 26, 2009

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Vampires are known to be mythological  “ people” who subsist by feeding on the life (generally in the form of blood) of living creatures regardless of them being undead or a living person. In folkloric tales, vampires often visited the people they loved and caused trouble or deaths in the neighborhoods they lived in when they were alive. They wore cloaks and were often described as dark and mysterious. This is almost completely different from modern fictional thoughts of pale vampires beginning in the early 19th century. Although vampiric presence have been made in many different cultures and according to speculation by literary historian Brian Frost that the "belief in vampires and bloodsucking demons is as old as man himself," and may go back to "prehistoric times,", the term vampire was not popular until the early 18th century, after an invasion of vampire superstition into Western Euroupe from places where vampire legends were often told, such as the Balkans and Eastern Euroupe although local alternatives were also known by different names, like vampir in Serbiaand Bulgaria, vrykolakas in Greece and stigoi in Romania. The increased level of vampire superstition in Europe led to mass hysteria and in some cases ended in corpses actually being staked at the heart and people being accused of vampirism.

The captivating and sophisticated vampire of modern fiction was born in 1819 with the publication of The Vampyre by John Polidori. The story was very successful and arguably the most influential vampire work of the early 19th century. However, it is Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula that is remembered as the typical vampire novel and which provided the base of modern vampire fiction. Dracula drew on earlier mythologies of werewolves and similar imaginary demons and "was to voice the anxieties of an age," and the "fears of late Victorian patriarchy."

The success of this book created a distinctive vampire genre, still popular in the 21st century, with books, films, video games, and television shows. The vampire is a dominant figure in the horror genre that literary historian Susan Sellers places the current vampire myth in the "comparative safety of nightmare fantasy."


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