Thursday, February 16, 2017

ENGL 3053: Dracula

Bram Stoker, Dracula (1897)

Bram Stoker was born in Ireland, to Irish parents, which made him automatically lower class as far as “real” English writers were concerned. He came to England after his marriage (he married Oscar Wilde’s girlfriend – more on this later), and entered into the world of the London stage, particularly the theater owned by Henry Irving, one of the great actor/managers of the time. Stoker eventually became Irving’s business manager. He was also his lifelong friend.

Henry Irving may well have also been the inspiration for the character Dracula – Irving was manipulative and demanding, and by all accounts Stoker was mesmerized by him. In fact, it’s probably not too much to say Stoker loved him.

ENGL 3053: WWZ

World War Z (2006)

World War Z: In some ways, this is a less archetypal zombie story than Train to Busan. For one thing, the novel is set long after the zombie outbreak, so that (for the most part) we lose the immediacy of the zombie attack. The sense of any real threat is lost. We know the world and its culture/s have, to some extent, survived.The interest then lies in learning how the cultures survived – as well as what did not survive.

One lesson remains the same, we might not be surprised to find: The rules of the old life will not serve you in this new life. Those who survive the Zombie Apocalypse (any apocalypse) have to learn new rules, new ways of living, and learn them fast. But we have another lesson being made clear in this book.

ENGL 3053: Train to Busan

Train to Busan (2016)

Made in Korea, Train to Busan is an archetypal Zombie movie. The zombies are fast-moving, scary, and a real threat to the culture of Korea – as we move through the movie, we see them destroying cities, modes of transportation, and families, as well as fracturing newly forged alliances.

(What's an archetype? Go here for more.)

ENGL 3053: Zombies, Vampies and the Apocalypse Introduction


Since very early in our history, humankind has been interested in monsters, and especially in monsters who destroy our worlds. 

Think of the epic of Gilgamesh, which contains within it the story of monster gods who get annoyed at humanity and send an apocalyptic flood to destroy the world. Think of Beowulf, in which not one but three monsters do their best to destroy Hrothgar’s people. Think of the book of Revelations.