July 14, 2005

Remedial Science Education Needed

Telegraph | News | Ukrainian vampire drugged children and drank their blood

A vampire has been arrested in Ukraine after luring street children into her home for their blood.
Diana Semenuha, 29, believed that drinking blood could fend off a muscle-wasting condition. She kept the children intoxicated on drugs and alcohol and bled them regularly, selling the surplus to other black magic practitioners. When that weakened them, she dumped them back on the streets and lured replacements with the promise of a place to sleep and a hot meal.

Posted by jason at 07:54 PM | Comments (0)

June 08, 2005

more TSD symposium pictures

Cat from Vampress.net has posted her photos (click on her name) from the TSD symposium. Two are of interest. The first has my wonderful old computer front and centre, and the other has proof of KAT!'s participation.

Posted by jason at 09:08 AM | Comments (0)

June 06, 2005

Weekend with Dracula

Last weekend we held a symposium on Dracula and related revenants at the University of Toronto, along with support from the Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books and the Merril Collection of Science Fiction, both of the Toronto Public Library. The conference was sold out long ago, and we didn't media bothering us, which is why I'm only mentioning it after the fact. There was an article in last week's Macleans (Undead and unseen) on the symposium, but it came out too late to cause us much trouble.

Our guest of honour was Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and writer participants included Nancy Baker, and Suzy McKee Charnas. There were scholars from Newfoundland, Quebec, BC, North Carolina, as well as local folk.

I've uploaded some pictures on Flickr, though I've not tagged them all or added names. And I've included the program below. The academic papers will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Dracula Studies


June 3 (Friday)

4:00-5:00 pm
Vampires for the Very Young: Stories and Pictures for Children
Exhibit of vampire-related material at Osborne Collection of
Early Children’s Books
Location: Lillian H Smith Library, 239 College St., 4th floor

7:00-9:00 pm
Vampire Novels as Potato Chips: You Can’t Write Just One!
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Merril Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy
Lillian H Smith Library, 239 College St., 3rd floor

June 4 Symposium (Saturday, 8:30 – 5:00)

Location: Bahen Centre for Information Technology (U of
Toronto), College at St George, Room 7180 (7th floor).

8:30-8:45: Registration/Sales

8:45-9:00: Opening remarks

9:00-10:30 Academic session 1: Dracula
Chair: Elizabeth Miller (Prof Emeritus, Memorial U of Newfoundland)
Dracula, Jack the Ripper and “A Thirst for Blood”
Robert Eighteen-Bisang (Transylvania Press, White Rock BC)
A Monstrous Mash, Or Would the Real Van Helsing Swing from a Rope?
James Craig Holte (Chair of Graduate Studies – English –
East Carolina U)
Untangling Late Victorian Anxieties: Hair Symbolism in Dracula
Nancy Rosenberg (U of Texas, Arlington)

10:30-11:00 – Break (book & merchandise sales & signings)

11:00-12:30 Academic session 2: Dracula’s spawn
Chair: Sally Braun-Jackson (Memorial U of Newfoundland)
Buffy vs Dracula’s Use of Count Famous
Tara Elliott (York University, Toronto)
Salad and Celery Stalks: Humour in Vampire Literature for Children
Greer Watson (York University, Toronto)
Triply Filiated: Lestat and the Three Fathers
Maureen LaPerrière (Université de Québec à Trois Rivières)

2:00-3:30 Panel Discussion 1: Today’s fictional vampire: tiger
or pussy-cat?
Chair: Peter Paolucci (York University, Toronto)
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (novelist, Berkeley CA)
Nancy Baker (novelist, Toronto)
Anne Fraser (library technician, U of Toronto)
Norma Rowen (York University)
Robert Knowlton (independent scholar, Toronto)
Suzy McKee Charnas (novelist)

3:30-3:45 Break

3:45-5:15 Panel Discussion 2: Vampires among us?
Chair: James Craig Holte
Lead paper: Blood Lite: Adventures in Vampire Research
Rosemary Ellen Guiley (author and lecturer, Arnold MD)
Kat “Vampress” Crisp (student)
Elizabeth Miller
Jeanne Youngson (President, The Vampire Empire, NYC)

June 4 (Banquet)

Time: Saturday June 4, 6:30 for 7
Location: MangiaCake, 160 McCaul (at Elm).

Trivial pursuit
Awards for Creative Writing Contest

June 5 (Sunday)

Sightseeing: options to be presented at symposium –
dependent on weather.


Anne-Marie Finn
Peter Halasz
Elizabeth Miller
Jason Nolan
Norma Rowen


To the Friends of the Merril Collection for co-sponsoring
the visit of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

To those who served as judges for the Creative Writing Contest:
Margaret Carter, Jim Holte, Norma Rowen (short stories)
Jason Nolan, Arun S. Blake, Anne-Marie Finn (poetry)

Official Program

Posted by jason at 02:24 PM | Comments (2)


I was given a wonderful tshirt at the conference I co-organized over the weekend... more news today on that. If you notice, the tshirt design looks just so similar to the University of Toronto logo. Sweet.

University of Transylvania Vampire Short Sleeve T-Shirt

Thanks to the folks at Vampireware

Posted by jason at 09:01 AM | Comments (1)

May 08, 2005


Megan Boler's Blog is back from the dead...

Posted by jason at 07:05 PM | Comments (0)

May 03, 2005

Dracula Blogged

[Reference brought to you by the letter J and the eight-ball (jeremy)]... blogging novels is cool take on the chronological novel. This one starts on the day the novel starts and posts fragments of the text each day mentioned...

Dracula Blogged: Draculablog launches

This blog will publish Bram Stoker's Dracula for the next six months.� Individual pieces of the novel will appear on the calendar dates indicated in the text, starting with Jonathan Harker's May 3rd Bistriz journal entry, and finishing up with November 6 and the final Note.

I'm planning on two categories of posts.� First, and primarily, will be the novel's text.� Secondarily I'll post about the novel, or reflections on this project.�

Posted by jason at 09:20 AM | Comments (1)

May 02, 2005

New Course @ UofT: 1545 The Literary Vampire

Elizabeth Miller
Is teaching a new course on Vampires at UofT.

Course Details:
The figure of the vampire made its first appearance in English literature in the early nineteenth century, reaching its apex in 1897 with the publication of "Dracula" by Irish author Bram Stoker. Vampire literature soared in popularity during the twentieth century, essentially taking two directions: reinvention of the Dracula archetype, as in Stephen King's "Salem's Lot"; and rejection of the Dracula model in favor of the sympathetic, morally ambivalent vampire, as in "Interview with the Vampire" and the other works by Anne Rice. In all three novels, the vampire is a metaphor for the fears and anxieties of contemporary society, a factor which accounts in large part for its continuing endurance.
Learner Outcomes:
An awareness of how supernatural fiction can illuminate social and cultural realities. An exploration of how the figure of the vampire moved from folklore to literature. An appreciation of the vampire as literary metaphor.

SCS 1545 - 001
4 21 SEP 2005 to 12 OCT 2005
pm100 - pm300
Number of Sessions: 4
Campus: St. George Campus
Delivery Method: IN-CLASS
Instructor: Elizabeth Miller, M.A., Ph.D.
Tuition: 195.00
LLL: 180.00

To register for this course go to http://learn.utoronto.ca/uoft/search/publicCourseSearch.do?method=searchCNOnly&courseSearch.courseNumber=1545 or go to http://www.learn.utoronto.ca and search for the course using the course number.

Posted by jason at 08:24 AM | Comments (1)

March 28, 2005

A Dracula Handbook

Elizabeth just gave Yuka and I a copy of her new book A Dracula Handbook. And she dedicated the book to both of us! Well, actually, it is the first North American publication, there's a version published in 2003 by Gerot Publishing in Romania, and it has been a great hit throughout Romania on the Dracula tourist circuit.


here's the blurb:

A Dracula Handbook provides succinct and accurate information about Dracula. Written for a general readership, the book should appeal to aficionados, students and the just-plain-curious. Using question/answer format, the book covers a range of topics: the origins of the vampire myth; the life of Bram Stoker, author of Dracula (1897); the novel, its genesis and sources; the historical figure (Vlad the Impaler) whose nickname Stoker borrowed for his Count; an examination of the connection between Vlad and Count Dracula; the phenomenal impact the novel has had since its publication; and an overview of interpretations of the book. Also included is a comprehensive reading list.

Here are some of the many questions that are directly answered in the book:

What are the roots of vampire lore?
How did vampires move from folklore to literature?
What do we know about the actual writing of Dracula?
Where did Bram Stoker find his information about vampires?
Are there any autobiographical elements in Dracula?
Did Dracula originate in a nightmare?
What do we know of the relationship between Stoker and his wife?
Did Stoker die of syphilis?
How did Count Dracula become a vampire?
Does Count Dracula have any redeeming qualities?
How was the novel Dracula received when published in 1897?
What did Stoker himself say about the novel?
Why did Stoker name his vampire “Dracula”?
Why did he select Transylvania as the vampire’s homeland?
How much did Stoker really know about Vlad the Impaler?
Was Vlad ever associated with vampire legends?
What are our main sources of information about Vlad?
Why do many Romanians consider Vlad to be a national hero?
Which of the Dracula movies is the best adaptation of Stoker’s novel?
What impact has Dracula had on subsequent vampire fiction?
Why does Count Dracula have such enduring appeal?
How do Romanians feel about Dracula tourism in their country?
Is there a real Castle Dracula?
What are some of the interpretations of Dracula?
Is Dracula a classic?

And many, many more! Depending on the complexity of the questions, the answers range from 5-6 lines to several pages. At the end of each chapter there is a shortlist for further reading. At the end of the book there is a comprehensive Bibliography.

Posted by jason at 10:38 PM | Comments (0)

January 31, 2005

In a previous life

Elizabeth Miller is the vampire scholar without peer. It seems that in a previous incarnation, she was a fiction author too... I found this, and she claims that it is the first time she's heard of it... Sure.

Miller, Elizabeth York. The Vampire. London: D. C. Thomas & Co., 1923. 112 p. hb. Red Letter Novels # 21.

Posted by jason at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)

January 18, 2005

Me and the VanHelsing Crew

The stills are from the Van Helsing DVD documentary on Dracula... which is NOT in the version of the DVD I just bought! But Elizabeth gave me a copy of just the documentary.






OK, I'll admit it. I never met Kate or Hugh. But the other trouble makers were way more fun.

Posted by jason at 11:07 PM | Comments (0)