But what about Dracula and vampires?

But what about Dracula and vampires?


Pay close attention to the bibliographic record:

Personal Author: Stoker, Bram, 1847-1912.
Title: Dracula / Bram Stoker ; with an introduction and notes by Maud Ellmann.
Publication info: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1996.
Physical description: xxxii, 389 p. ; 18 cm.
Series Title: The World's classics
Bibliography note: Includes bibliographical references (p. [xxx]-xxxii).
Subject term: Dracula, Count (Fictitious character)--Fiction.
Subject term: Vampires--Fiction.
Geographic term: Transylvania (Romania)--Fiction.
Geographic term: London (England)--Fiction.
Genre or Form: Psychological fiction.
Genre or Form: Horror fiction.
Added author: Ellmann, Maud, 1954-
LCCN: 96012974 //r97
ISBN: 0192824627 (pbk.)

PR 6037 .T617 D7 1996
1 BOOK LEE-LIB

There is an element of truth to the fiction, however,
both from the dark but real history of Transylvanian castles
and from a figure taken from the fifteenth century.

There had been a nobleman of Transylvania who was ignoble.

This ignobleman's name was Vlad Tepes,
and Prince Vlad "earned" for himself the nickname "Vlad the Impaler."

We'll skip any more gory details,
except to say that a large area encompassing perhaps one mile by three miles was punctuated,
so to speak, with 10,000 impaled Turks following a battle in 1458.

And you have to admit, the names Vlad and blood do sound a lot alike.

Actually, Vlad ruled over Wallachia, an area south of Transylvania,
but Transylvania gets the bum rap because Vlad was born there.

Time for a little family history, as little as possible:

Vlad's Dad, Vlad the Elder, if you will,
had knelt before King Sigismund of Luxembourg in 1431
(note the name Sigismund and the region from whence came the Transylvanian Saxons),
and Vlad's dad was knighted to the Order of the Dragon
and made Prince of Wallachia.

The name for "dragon" was appended to his own name: Dracul.

As luck would have it, Dracul also meant "Devil" in Romanian.
Thus, Vlad came to be known as Vlad Dracul, "Son of the Devil."

The legend of Dracula grew on the heels (or necks) of other literary figures.
Dante, for example, had written The Inferno
(seen here with the silhouette motif of impaling):

and Goethe would allow the Devil, as Mephistopheles,
to take center stage in his Faust tragedy
(as seen here in Delacroix's rendering):

Even Jules Verne, when he wasn't busy 20,000 Leagues Beneath the Sea,
wrote a little novel about The Carpathian Castle, in which he wrote:


"Only in Transylvania, a landscape ready made for sťances and the appearance of ghosts,
do the superstitions of earlier times still live on...",
and then Jules Verne went on to relate the tale of a "brother of witches"
who is "obeyed by vampires and fairies."

So the stage was set for Bram Stoker to take the legend of Vlad Dracul,
put him in a mysterious castle with bats flying through eerie surroundings
and embellish the tale into a count who impales your neck with his fangs
and who is undead.

One explanation for the literary un-dead-ness comes from the prince who inspired Count Dracula:
Vlad Dracul was so hated that mobs tore his mortal remains apart at his death
and those later opening his coffin found it, in fact, empty.

Our own Jim D'Arc has written a treatise you may find interesting:

Personal Author: D'Arc, James V.
Title: The Mormon as vampire : a comparative study of Winifred Graham's 'The love story of a Mormon',
the film 'Trapped by the Mormons', and Bram Stoker's 'Dracula' / by James V. D'Arc.
Publication info: [Provo, Utah : s.n., 1987?]
Physical description: 15, 4 leaves : ill. ; 28 cm.
Bibliography note: Includes bibliography.
Personal subject: Graham, Winifred (Matilda Winifred Muriel) Love story of a Mormon.
Personal subject: Stoker, Bram, 1847-1912. Dracula.
Title subject: Trapped by the Mormons (Motion Picture)

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  • What is Transylvania?

  • Where is this place?

  • Who lives (or is un-dead) there?

  • Does Transylvania have a normal history?

  • But what about Dracula and vampires?

  • Why would I marry a Transylvanian?