Bram Stoker Centenary Conference

hosted by The Department of English at the University of Hull

Derwent Building, University of Hull and Whitby, North Yorkshire

Start: Thursday, 12 Apr 2012 09:00

End: Saturday, 14 Apr 2012 16:00

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  • Bram Stoker Centenary Conference

    “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 is 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. Dracula harks back to early Gothic’s preoccupation with the supernatural, decayed aristocracy and incarceration in gloomy castles in foreign locales. The novel speaks to its own time but also transforms the genre and this revitalization continues to sustain the Gothic today.

    On the eve of the centenary of Stoker’s death, which occurred in April 1912, the University of Hull is hosting a three-day international conference. The conference will take place at the Hull Campus of the University and at Sneaton Castle, Whitby. Conference delegates will be based in Hull and coaches will leave Hull on Friday, 13 April for a day trip to 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.

    Conference papers explore the iconic significance of Stoker’s vampire novel and seek to reappraise Stoker’s work within its fin-de-siècle cultural climate.  They also examine 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, papers explore the novel’s Gothic predecessors and influences, and the manner in which Stoker’s work renewed the Gothic for future generations.

    The conference asks how 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. It considers how the Gothic in its modern manifestations and variations has 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.” The conference explores how the new Gothic of the twenty-first century engages in fantasy and fear.


    Keynote Speakers:

    Prof. Sir Christopher Frayling

    Professor Clive Bloom

    Professor Luke Gibbons



    a special presentation by

    Professor Elizabeth Miller


    Dacre Stoker


    Sponsored by:




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