Last updated on 4/4/2012 Print this page
“My revenge is just begun! I spread it over
centuries, and time is on my side.” (Dracula, 1897)
Count Dracula’s declaration from Bram Stoker’s iconic 1897
vampire novel is, in many ways, descriptive of the Gothic genre.
Like the shape-shifting Transylvanian Count, the Gothic encompasses
and has manifested itself in many forms since its emergence in 1764
with the publication of Horace Walpole’s The Castle of
Otranto. Its revenge has just begun. It has spread over
centuries and time is on its side.
When Stoker wrote Dracula the genre
was well over a hundred years old but the novel marks a key moment
in the evolution of the Gothic – the text harks back to early
Gothic’s preoccupation with the supernatural, decayed aristocracy
and incarceration in gloomy castles in foreign locales.
Dracula speaks to its own time but also transforms the
genre – a revitalization that continues to sustain the Gothic
On the eve of the centenary of Stoker’s death,
which occurred in April 1912, the University of Hull’s Department
of English and School of Arts and New Media, in association with
the Centre for Victorian Studies, is hosting a three-day
international conference, Bram Stoker and Gothic
Transformations. The conference takes place at the Hull
campus of the University and at Sneaton Castle, Whitby and Whitby
In Dracula Mina describes Whitby as a
“lovely place” but it soon becomes a site of horror, when Dracula
lands from the Demeter in the form of a dog to make his
first appearance on English soil. At Whitby Abbey, Lucy becomes the
Count’s first English vampire bride.
The conference is interested in the iconic
significance of Stoker’s vampire novel and seeks to reappraise
Stoker’s work within its fin-de-siècle cultural climate.
It is also interested in exploring the broader context of the
changing nature of Gothic productions from the late eighteenth
century to the present. Using Dracula as a key point in
the evolution of the genre, it seeks to explore the novel’s Gothic
predecessors and influences, and the manner in which Stoker’s work
renewed the Gothic for future generations.
How do the Gothic’s early themes of despotic
rulers and fathers, grim prophecies, supernatural embodiments,
incarceration, labyrinthine passages and corridors, threatened
females, and sexual deviancy transform in subsequent cultural
outputs from novels, theatre, films, television and computer games?
How has the Gothic in its modern manifestations and variations
sustained itself into a fourth century?
“At once escapist and conformist,” Clive Bloom
argues, “the Gothic speaks to the dark side of domestic fiction:
erotic, violent, perverse, bizarre and obsessionally connected with
contemporary fears.” How does the new Gothic of the twenty-first
century engage in fantasy and fear?
Further details: Dr Catherine Wynne, Conference Chair (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The conference committee welcomes keynote speakers and
international delegates to the Bram Stoker Centenary
Dr Catherine Wynne (Chair and Convenor); Professor Katharine
Cockin; Victoria Dawson; Dr Anna Fitzer; Dr Charles Mundye; Dr
Shelley Trower; Dr Sara Williams
Postgraduate support team: