Monday, July 1, 2013

A Writing Prompt from Writer'

Vampire Cycles
Vampire themes are not new, they frequently appeared in 18th century poetry and then into stories. Some of my favorites over the years are Brom Stoker's Dracula, which was published in 1897.  Lord Byron's poem, The Giaour, which is a Turkish word meaning infidel, very appropriately named. which I have shared. was published in 1813. I love the images his words inspire in one's minds eye.
Lord Byron's' The Giaour
. . . Unquenched, unquenchable,
Around, within, thy heart shall dwell;
Nor ear can hear nor tongue can tell
The tortures of that inward hell!
But first, on earth as vampire sent,
Thy corpse shall from its tomb be rent:
Then ghastly haunt thy native place,
And suck the blood of all thy race;
There from thy daughter, sister, wife,
At midnight drain the stream of life;
Yet loathe the banquet which perforce
Must feed thy livid living corpse:
Thy victims ere they yet expire
Shall know the demon for their sire,
As cursing thee, thou cursing them,
Thy flowers are withered on the stem.
But one that for thy crime must fall,
The youngest, most beloved of all,
Shall bless thee with a father's name —
That word shall wrap thy heart in flame!
Yet must thou end thy task, and mark
Her cheek's last tinge, her eye's last spark,
And the last glassy glance must view
Which freezes o'er its lifeless blue;
Then with unhallowed hand shalt tear
The tresses of her yellow hair,
Of which in life a lock when shorn
Affection's fondest pledge was worn,
But now is borne away by thee,
Memorial of thine agony!
John Polidori's, The Vamprye in 1819 was one of the earliest romantic tales involving vampires, amusingly he claims his inspiration was Lord Byron. It has been noted over time that Polidori's work was a influencing factor on Stoker's Dracula and how it developed. Other writers you probably recognize dabbled in vampire stories are Alexandre Dumas and Alexis Tolstoy. Both men were inspired with Polidori's work and linked pieces of their stories with his. Dumas makes a reference to Lord Ruthven (Polidori's character) in the Count of Monte Cristo. Interestingly, how different genres/ writers back then influenced writers and their work as it does ours today. I would never have connected the dots until I read about Polidori in college when we were discussing Bram Stoker.
I was surprised to learn also that Bram's real first name is Abraham but that he did not like it. Nor did I know until that class he was a theatre critic for the Dublin Mall. At that time theatre critics were nothing special but his reviews changed that, they were considered exceptional. Another surprising note about Bram was he graduated college with honors in Mathematics but it really wasn't a strong interest of his. His life long friendship with Henry Irving, a British actor and manager of Lyceum Theatre. Stoker took over the management of Lyceum Theatre at Irving's insistence and this became a positive business move for both men. Irving introduced Stoker to places in London he would not have had access to as a theatre critic. There are many different connections in Stoker's writing and Irving's life that demonstrate the genuine affection the two men held for each other.
In 1966, there was an afternoon series on television called Dark Shadows, I fell in love with, it lasted about five years on ABC network. I went and bought all the books because I was so enamored with Barnabas Collins. It was a whole new world to me, vampires, werewolves, witches, zombies at the grand age of ten.
Like all kids, something holds your attention for a bit and then you move on to other interests. I have gone from mysteries, to historical romances, westerns, gothic, war stories, history, and biographies. I'm not particularly fond of science fiction or horror but I have read a few because some one has spoke well of a particular Steven King book so I read it. It was the same for me with the Harry Potter stories, normally that genre is not appealing to me but my grandchildren were so excited and I was curious what was holding their fascination in such a large book. I was glad I read them, they were well written and interesting but I did not seek other similar stories.
However, in 2008 in Barnes and Noble did a piece on Stephanie Meyers, and once again I was drawn to vampires with The Twilight Series. I've read the books and saw all of the movies but I haven't ventured into any of the other vampire stories that are popular. The books were enjoyable but I did not find the same fascination as I did when I was younger. I would rather our children read then do other things so if vampire stories are getting their attention maybe the door will open to other genres.I feel it will evolve as it did in the past until someone writes a new twist and then it will resurface again.
Take for instance, 50 Shades of Gray, now that has how many copy cat stories out there, too many to count right now. Some of you may remember The Story of O, appeared and had its share of copy cats and then faded. Pornography exists and creeps out from time to time in the publics eye than also fades away until someone gives it a new twist as E. L. James did.
I don't see 50 Shades, or Twilight ever being considered classics but then I am sure no one would have thought that of Stoker's Dracula
either in its peak time.
As you can tell, I enjoyed this prompt, its been awhile since I have thought of Stoker, maybe it is time for me to indulge once again in his work. Or even Lord Byron's. I hope you enjoyed his vampire poem as much as me.

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