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athgarvan

Halloween

Next Wednesday we celebrate the eve of the Feast of All Saints (Halloween). Some say the celebration has Celtic roots. Anyway, this is the 100th anniversary of the death of Irishman Bram Stoker (1847-1912) whose Dracula has contributed so much to these celebrations down through the years. It has inspired more than 1,000 movies. Stoker was born and bred in Dublin where he was a civil servant and caught up in the world of the theatre.
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It is said that Count Dracula owes more to a bloodsucking Irish landlord who preyed on his tenants during the Irish Famine than to any Count of Transylvania. The gaunt, hungry, haunted figures of the story would suggest that. The Memorial Statues on the Dublin Quay graphically remind us of those harrowing times in the 1840s.

Have a great time and enjoy the celebrations before the winter sets in.

Comments

There's a logic to seeing the huge US celebration as having Irish roots. If you think about it, the Protestant parts of these islands would have seen such a celebration as papist and they had Guy Fawkes Night already, closer in the calendar on November 5th, whereas Catholic Ireland would have taken the Allhallows celebrations along with them to the New World.

Transylvania does have the wonderfully horrible Prince Vlad Dracul, aka Vlad the Impaler, although Countess Elspet Barthory would be a closer model in many ways.

Edited at 2012-10-26 11:46 (UTC)
Yes, I'm sure Stoker had plenty of "Counts" to base his Dracula on. What is its appeal?
Probably just that it's a scary as heck and we all seem to like a good scare now and then! :o)
before the winter sets in.

I had hoped we would have some summer or at least Autumn before that, but it seems not.
You never know. Stranger things have happened - not often I must admit!
I've tracked down quite a few contemporary political cartoons of Stoker's day depicting absentee English landords as vampires looming over cemetaries of the haunted dead.

ETA: These were in both Irish and sympathetic English newspapers.

Love, C.

Edited at 2012-10-26 16:26 (UTC)
How interesting. Where might some of them be accessed?
You favorite database of historical newspapers.

In a crash I lost better reference, I'm afraid. Which makes me gnash my teef to this day! I was researching the history of vampire fiction and Stoker.

You can find some on google images though, if you plug in vampires irish political cartoon.

It's an image that seems quite popular -- Parnell is even depicted as a vamp.



Love, C.

Edited at 2012-10-26 19:41 (UTC)
Thank you. Sorry about the crash.