Vampires have become key figures in the modern imagination, over three thousand works of literature and film being devoted to them in the last third of the twentieth century. Since then the momentum of that interest has if anything increased. This talk is designed to show why this is, and what forms it takes. Three patterns are very clear. The first is that all modern vampires descend from Count Dracula. The second, that before the 1970s vampire lore was dominated by cinema, and since then it has been by novels. The third is that until the 1970s the development of the mythos was a joint enterprise across the Western world, and that since then it has been driven overwhelmingly from America. These patterns are both illustrated and explained in the talk, and in the process a key question is also proposed and answered: what function do vampires have in the contemporary world, and why are they so important to us?
Speaker: Professor Ronald Hutton is a Professor of History at the University of Bristol. He is a leading authority on history of the British Isles in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, on ancient and medieval paganism and magic, and on the global context of witchcraft beliefs.
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