"Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know": Coleridge, Byron, and the Siring of the Modern Vampire

The vampire, a figure with a long past in most every culture, enters its modern incarnation in English literature at a critical moment in history: when the empirically driven Enlightenment, flourishing in the 18th century, began to be tested on intellectual, political, aesthetic, and ethical grounds.  By the early 19th century, the literary vampire would arise out of this tension, becoming an expression of terror wrought by power, of anxieties and unspoken desires, of enduring medical and moral questions. We will explore selections by Romantic-Period writers Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Lord Byron, who, nearly a century before Bram Stoker created Dracula, re-made the vampire in a modern image.

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Dr. Todd Verdun, Associate Professor of English