By Anna Mercer
The Stephen Copley Research Award allowed me to spend four days in London attending a conference and conducting archival research at the British Library. The Open Graves Open Minds (OGOM) conference was held at Keats House in Hampstead and was entitled ‘“Some Curious Disquiet”: Polidori, the Byronic vampire, and its Progeny’. The event was prompted by the bicentenary of The Vampyre and featured papers on topics ranging from contemporary adaptations to the vampire’s folkloric and Byronic roots.
My PhD thesis concerns dramatic adaptations of Gothic novels, namely Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein(1818) and Bram Stoker’s Dracula(1897): two iconic texts which are frequently paired together in adaptations. The repeated coupling of two narratives with such vastly disparate publication dates is intriguing, as the texts deal with very different cultural contexts and social concerns. My thesis attributes this in part to Lord Byron’s ghost story competition at the Villa Diodati in 1816, the ‘year without a summer’, from which both Frankenstein’s monster and the first literary vampire originate. Attending the OGOM Polidori conference allowed me to learn more about the literary history of …read more