Friday, 27 April 2012

Dracula, the king of the vampires, and Bram Stoker’s ashes

Bram Stoker Centenary Symposium at Keats House
On Friday 20th April 2012, members of the Stoker family joined scholars, novelists and critics to mark the centenary of the death of Dracula’s creator, Bram Stoker. The Open Graves, Open Minds Bram Stoker Centenary Symposium led by Dr Sam George was held in Hampstead, London and included a visit to Golders Green crematorium to pay respects to Bram Stoker’s ashes. 

The romantic, period setting of Keats House, in Hampstead, was a fitting venue for the symposium. Keats himself explored forbidden pleasures in his poem “Lamia” (1819), becoming synonymous with the female vampire. Hampstead too has its links to Stoker and vampirism, featuring a number of times in the novel “Dracula”.

Dacre Stoker (great-grand-nephew)
with Bram Stoker's ashes
Through an exclusive programme of talks and discussions, the centenary symposium celebrated Dracula as the undisputed king of vampires.  The dark gothic legacy created by Stoker standing firm against the newer trend for the “sweetie” vampires of the Twilight series and American TV shows - a new, romantic type of vampire.

The weather added to the eeriness of the occasion. A sudden bolt of lightning flashed across the sky and a deep roll of thunder made the windows and curtains quiver before the skies opened with torrents of rain –an auspicious omen before setting out for the crematorium to view the urn containing ashes of Dracula’s creator, Bram Stoker.

At the crematorium, the many tributes to Bram and his world-wide legacy of Dracula were led by Dacre Stoker, Bram’s great-grand-nephew, who wrote “Dracula the undead” (the sequel to the original novel).

More information can be found on the Open Graves, Open Minds website.

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