Blood drinking Devil

June 14, 2019

In fact, existing evidence forces us to accept that Vlad the Impaler was not the inspiration for Stoker’s Dracula. Although for many people today the two have become almost synonymous, the nature of the connection is highly speculative. There is no longer any doubt about where Stoker found the name “Dracula.” We know from his working papers (housed at the Rosenbach Museum in Philadelphia) that by March 1890 he had already started work on the novel and had even selected a name for his vampire—Count Wampyr. We also know from the papers that, in the summer of the same year while vacationing at Whitby, Stoker came across the name “Dracula” in a book that he borrowed from the Whitby Public Library: William Wilkinson’s An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia(1820). It contains a few brief references to a “Voivode Dracula” (never referred to as Vlad) who crossed the Danube and attacked Turkish troops. But what seems to have attracted Stoker was a footnote in which Wilkinson states that “Dracula in Wallachian language means Devil”. Stoker supplemented this with scraps of Romanian history from other sources (which he carefully listed in his notes) and fleshed out a history for his Count Dracula. Wilkinson is Stoker’s only known source for information on the historical namesake. Everything else is speculation.

Elizabeth Miller
Coitus interruptus: Sex, Bram Stoker, and Dracula

sexual phenomenon

June 14, 2019

Versification is as sexual a phenomenon as birdsong; it is typically male display, elaborated more to dishearten and drive off competition by other males than to seduce the oblivious female, whether she be an illiterate human or a foraging hen bird. The male display is sexual but it is not about having or doing sex; it seeks to elaborate a fundamentally banal and momentary interaction by artifice and invention. Once penetration has been achieved, silence falls – for bird and poet.

Germaine Greer
Phalluses and Fallacies
New Statesman 20th February 2014

You cannot write alone, no more than you can be alone inside your own poems. The muse is not only,  in contemporary vernacular, an inspirit but a facilitator…the acknowledged or unacknowledged antagonist… the opposition that creates the energy and story of the poem…the need and the means. It provides the imagination with context, and when all is said and done, the text itself. The freeness of our trees, the birdies of our birds, the pity of our forgiveness, the beauty of our longing, our paralysis, our prevarications, our palaver, all may saturate the colours and textures of our poems, but they are masks over the singular face of the archetype.

Stanley Plumly
Autobiography and Archetrype,


Most science fiction dystopias use custom-made sets to communicate an aesthetically consistent, fantastical and disturbing new reality (Blade Runner, Metropolis, Brazil). But Alphaville was more interested in deriving confusion and anonymity from already-existing places. Establishing shots are rare, and Godard uses abstract imagery, like flashing lights partially cut out of frame, to signal psychological dead ends and spatial breaks. Alan Woolfolk’s essay “Disenchantment and Rebellion in Alphaville,” explains that Alphaville is a rat’s nest of transitory zones: corridors, lobbies, and stairs, all powered by an unaccountable bureaucracy. It even throws our protagonist Lemmy Caution off his game. When asked what he thinks of Alphaville, he says, “It’s not bad, if I knew where I was…” The film is defined by the denial of spatial understanding, not any grand stroke of world-creation.

Zach Mortice
Alphaville is 50: After Modernism Lost its Meaning, it Still had its Looks