Academic research into public perceptions of vampires will be used as part of a new English syllabus at Bishop Grosseteste University College in Lincoln.
The English syllabus will now include a new module called Terrors of the Night, which aims to highlight the differences between Bram Stoker’s 19th century Dracula and his blood-sucking contemporary, Edward Cullen, from the popular Twilight series.
The module will be led by the college’s Senior Lecturer in English, Sibylle Erle.
“I try and organise events which go beyond the day-to-day and confront the students with research done on a high level,” said Sibylle.
“The seminars are an important tool for me and an opportunity to get students thinking outside the classroom and the normal day-to-day teaching.”
The new syllabus will also include guest seminars from other vampire experts, including Dr Sam George from the University of Hertfordshire.
Sybille was inspired to research the history of vampires after studying William Blake’s painting, The Ghost of a Flea.
The painting is thought to depict the Victorian archetype of a vampire; a terrifying, monstrous creature that drinks the blood of human beings.
Sybille believes that modern vampires are too far removed from the Victorian notion of vampires to be satisfying as a contemporary villain.
“I teach Dracula, which is exciting as we are in the centenary year of Stoker’s death, and I have been known to tell my students that Dracula and Edward Cullen have little in common. Luckily most of them already know this,” she said.
“The flea is not a pretty boy; he looks like Mary Shelley’s monster and he shares with Frankenstein’s creature a full awareness of his own monstrous self.”
Sibylle maintains that the true essence of Bram Stoker’s vampire story has been lost.
“I like a good scare, and I like vampires to be vampires – real monsters, controversial and morally subversive and scary.”
The seminars will be open to the public, as well as students, at the BG campus in Lincoln on October 17, 24 and 31.