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Dracula: Medieval Hero and Modern Vampire

Thursday, October 26, 2023, 67:30 p.m.

McNally Amphitheatre
140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
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Dracula—the vampire count—has been a popular cultural mainstay portrayed in films, television shows, novels, and comic books for more than a century. The modern fascination with Dracula began in the 1920s and 1930s with the success of plays and movies based on Bram Stoker’s eponymous novel, first published in 1897.

The events described in Stoker’s Dracula take place in fin-de-siècle London and Transylvania, and the novel makes only loose historical references to its 15th-century namesake: Vlad III “the Impaler” (1431–c. 1476), prince of Wallachia, now a region of Romania. The massive popularity of the fictional Dracula has generated considerable curiosity about the real-life prince himself, his brutal reign, and his times.

In this lecture, Dr. Alice Isabella Sullivan will examine the transformations of the historical figure into a modern vampire and the tireless allure of Dracula for creators and audiences.


Alice Isabella Sullivan is an assistant professor of medieval art and architecture and the director of graduate studies at Tufts University, specializing in Eastern European and Byzantine-Slavic art history. She is the author of the recently published The Eclectic Visual Culture of Medieval Moldavia.

David J. Goodwin, the assistant director of Fordham’s Center on Religion and Culture and the author of the forthcoming Midnight Rambles: H. P. Lovecraft in Gotham, will moderate a conversation with the audience.