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  • The Fairy Tale Magazine

Review by Lissa Sloan: The Real History of Dracula


So you likely know that vampires haven’t always been sparkly in the sun. But did you know when their vulnerability to daylight first appeared? Or which pre-existing vampire traits Bram Stoker gave to his Count Dracula and which he invented? The Real History of Dracula, written and presented by folklorists Dr. Sara Cleto and Dr. Brittany Warman, is an in depth look at all things vampire: their folkloric origins and historical inspiration, Dracula and his literary predecessors, the symbolism of the vampire throughout history, its astonishing influence on today’s popular culture, and so much more.

The Real History of Dracula, a ten-part lecture series from the Great Courses, is a comprehensive and fascinating study on everything you ever wanted to know about our bloodsucking friends but were afraid to ask, or, for me in many cases, wouldn’t have even thought to ask. Cleto and Warman take on topics like why vampires tap into our anxieties about sex, illness, and death, how they symbolize the threat of reverse colonialism, which fairy tales have vampiric overtones, and ask the question what makes vampires so damned (pun intended) compelling?

If you have ever taken a course at Cleto and Warman’s Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic, rest assured the Carterhaugh founders sink their teeth into this subject with the sharp intelligence, playful humor, academic integrity, and genuine love for their subject their students expect. If Carterhaugh is new to you, The Real History of Dracula is a perfect taste of Cleto and Warman’s work. This lecture series is available to either view on Wondrium or listen to on Audible. Whip-smart and highly accessible, The Real History of Dracula is truly a feast for the vampire fan.

Lissa Sloan is the author of Glass and Feathers, a novel that tells the story of Cinderella after the “happily ever after.” The Enchanted Press will publish it next February.

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