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Stoker: Dracula

1. A Short History of Vampires

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About this Lecture


In this module, we provide a short history of vampires in science, culture and literature, focusing in particular on: (i) the appearance of blood-sucking demons in the literature of the ancient world; (ii) the belief in vampires in Eastern Europe and the various scientific studies that described how to deal with them; (iii) the appearance of vampires in English literature in the poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge; (iv) the presentation of an aristocratic, cultured and sexually predatory vampire in John Polidori’s ‘The Vampyre’ (1819) – allegedly based on Lord Byron(!); and (v) the importance in the nineteenth century of female vampires.


In this course, Professor Nick Groom (University of Exeter) explores Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel, ‘Dracula’. In the first module, we provide a short history of vampires from the blood-sucking demons of the ancient world to the present day. In the second module we think about some of the political concerns of the novel, before turning in the third module to the importance of medicine in the novel. In the fourth module, we think about how the novel reflects the social and political developments of late nineteenth-century Britain, before turning in the fifth module to the question of whether or not ‘Dracula’ is a Gothic novel.


Nick Groom is Professor of English Literature at the University of Exeter, a critically acclaimed author on subjects ranging from the history of the Union Jack to Thomas Chatterton, has edited several books and regularly appears on television, radio and at literary festivals as an authority on English Literature, the ‘Gothic’ and ‘British’ identity.

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APA style

Groom, N. (2019, February 20). Stoker: Dracula - A Short History of Vampires [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Groom, N. "Stoker: Dracula – A Short History of Vampires." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 20 Feb 2019,

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