University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOpen Graves, Open Minds
Subtitle of host publicationRepresentations of Vampires and the Undead from the Enlightenment to the Present Day
EditorsSam George, Bill Hughes
Place of PublicationManchester
PublisherUniversity of Manchester Press
Pages56-78
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)978-0-7190-8941-1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013
EventBram Stoker Centenary Symposium, The Keats House Hampstead, 2012 - Hampstead, United Kingdom
Duration: 13 Apr 201215 Sep 2013

Conference

ConferenceBram Stoker Centenary Symposium, The Keats House Hampstead, 2012
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityHampstead
Period13/04/1215/09/13

Abstract

In this chapter I attempt to uncover the origins of the non-reflection
motif and interrogate the vampire’s complex relationship to this optical
phenomenon. I focus, to begin with, on Stoker’s handwritten notes for Dracula
where the vampire’s lack of a reflection or shadow is first located and where
this conceit is extended to include its image in photography and painting.8
From this, I develop the notion of ‘vampire painting’ in the writings of
Pater and Wilde, and interrogate Dracula and Dorian Gray in relation to the
idea of reproduction, and tensions around realism and mimesis, drawing
on Benjamin’s analysis of art in the age of mechanical reproduction and his
theorisation of the outmoded. I conclude with a discussion of the contemporary
artist David Reed whose abstract painting is offered up as another
version of non-reflection. Reed has responded directly to Stoker’s Dracula
notebooks in his own ‘vampire painting’, creating a compelling homage to
the unmirrorable figure of the vampire.

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