Dracula Adaptations

Bram Stoker’s Dracula has been a popular best-seller since it was first published in 1897. It was immediately considered for adaptation. Bram Stoker himself was a friend and business manager of one of the most famous actors of his day, Sir Henry Irving. Stoker wanted Irving to perform as Dracula in a stage adaptation of the book. You can read more about Sir Henry Irving here.

Sir Henry Irving, actor and Bram Stoker’s friend, who Stoker wanted to be in a Dracula adaptation on the stage

Sir Henry Irving, actor and Bram Stoker’s friend, who Stoker wanted to be in a Dracula adaptation on the stage

Henry Irving never did play Dracula, and there was no stage Dracula adaptation while Bram Stoker was alive. However, the book was adapted into a play starring Bela Lugosi in 1924. Bela Lugosi, of course, went on to star in the 1931 film adaptation which is still the most lasting popular idea of who Dracula is.

Bela Lugosi as Dracula in the 1931 dracula adaptation from Universal Studios.

Bela Lugosi as Dracula in the 1931 dracula adaptation from Universal Studios.

Since then Dracula has been adapted to film more than 200 times, and each new adaptation re-imagines Bram Stoker’s original book for a new context. How successful are these adaptations? That’s a loaded question that depends on the assumptions you have about what constitutes a successful adaptation. Is it faithfulness to the original? Or is it bringing something new to the old material? Or is it simply the quality of the final product, judged on its own merits?

No matter how many adaptations of Dracula exist, the original novel by Bram Stoker will still exist as well. No adaptation can erase its source material. So why not spend some time with the original, and read Bram Stoker’s Dracula with me? You can register for the course here, and when you’ve spent some time studying the book with me, be sure to let me know what your favourite adaptation is!

Online Courses

What is the advantage of online courses over physical courses? I don’t want to advertise my courses here, I want to think for a second about what online courses do and what they’re for. A part of that, of course, is who they’re for. Who takes online courses? And who should? They are not all created equal. Some are just the online version of on-campus courses. I’ve taught that kind of course at Memorial University. The advantage of these is that they allow students who can’t physically be in the classroom to still take the course, experience the material, and even somewhat experience the community of a campus. You take an online course through a university, and you get credit towards your degree even if you can’t bring your body to the physical space of the classroom. The downside of that is that typically the instructors try to recreate the community of a physical classroom and fail. Students are required to take part in online discussions, and the required nature of the discussions makes them stilted and stiff.

The second major category of is free online courses. These are great for what they are, but it’s a cliche that you get what you pay for, and in the case of free courses it’s mostly true. An in-depth course requires time. No matter how insightful or knowledgable an instructor is, an in-depth course takes time to make, and it’s a rare person who is able to donate that time. Mostly instructors need to be paid by someone for their time in order to spend it.

Online courses that really cost money allow you to get the depth that can’t be generated for free. You don’t get anything from the course except the experience of taking it. That might seem like a downside, but I really believe that it is an advantage. Education can be an end in itself, not just a means towards an end. Paradoxically, education, like community, achieves more when it’s not trying to achieve anything.

Click here to sign up for my courses on Frankenstein, Dracula, Werewolves, Beowulf, Zombies, and more.

Online Courses

Online Courses

Frankenstein Book

More people know the movie Frankenstein than know the book, but of course even people who know the movie best should be aware that Frankenstein is a book. Frankenstein was written by Mary Shelley in the early eighteen hundreds. Since it was first published, Frankenstein has attracted attention and admiration from readers of all kinds. Mary Shelley’s book Frankenstein is often considered a foundational text in the history of science fiction; it changed the course of horror literature; it is one of the most unique books about monsters ever written. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has enjoyed massive popularity ever since it was first published in 1818, and more than two hundred years later it still delights and horrifies readers. There are many aspects that make Frankenstein memorable and influential. One surprising fact is that author Mary Shelley was only nineteen years old when she wrote it! The success of her Frankenstein would be the envy of most nineteen year old authors. Many people know that the central character, for whom the book is named, is not the monster, but its creator, Victor Frankenstein. Just as Victor Frankenstein created a monster, Mary Shelley also created something: she created the book which has lasted for two centuries now. We can expect it to last even longer! Find out more about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein by taking my eight-week course, in which I will go much more in depth, teach you facts about writing of Frankenstein, and also provide university-level analysis. You can sign up for the course here.

Frankenstein Book

Frankenstein Book