Saturday, November 5, 2016

Sunil Sharma writes

Draculas modern
For the homeless girl-child
sleeping off the concrete steps
of a closed shop
or on bare railroad platforms
or under the flyovers

Dracula is not a myth
but a reality
of every night
in an urban hell

thorough gentlemen
in clean clothes
lusting for fresh blood
their teeth
becoming fangs,
lonely midnights
when wind screams
and the moon terrified, hides

 ผลการค้นหารูปภาพสำหรับ dracula painting
 Vampireology -- Yvonne Gilbert


  1. Dracula was the eponymous hero of Bram Stoker's 1897 novel who may have been inspired in part by the 15th-century Wallachian prince Vlad III the Impaler, though in the novel he was described as a Transylvanian nobleman who claimed to be a Székely descended from Attila the Hun. The epistolary novel was narrated via diary entries, telegrams, letters, ship's logs, and newspaper clippings by multiple narrators from different perspectives, in which the supernatural characteristics, powers, abilities, and weaknesses of the centuries-old vampire were revealed. He was as strong as 20 men, did not cast a shadow or reflect in mirrors, was a shapeshifter, had the ability to defy gravity and climb vertical surfaces upside down, possessed teleportational abilities, could control animals such as rats, owls, bats, moths, foxes and wolves, and was able to direct the elements, such as storms, fog, and mist, could change himself into a bat, wolf, large dog or fog as well as make himself large or small, and possessed hypnotic, telepathic, and illusionary abilities. He was able to pass through tiny cracks or crevices while retaining his human form or in the form of a vapor, and travel as elemental dust in the moonlight. And he could transform others into vampires by biting them: "When they become such, there comes with the change the curse of immortality; they cannot die, but must go on age after age adding new victims and multiplying the evils of the world. For all that die from the preying of the Un-dead become themselves Un-dead, and prey on their kind. And so the circle goes on ever widening, like as the ripples from a stone thrown in the water." Because of his powers of necromancy, he was able to reanimate his victims and make them do his bidding. The only sustenance he needed was fresh human blood, which rejuvenated him, but at the sight of blood he would launch into an uncontrollable bloodlust.

  2. He would lose many of his abilities during the day, and was only able to shift his form at night, sunrise, noon, and sunset. He needed Transylvanian soil to sleep abroad (or to be entombed within his coffin in Transylvania) in order to recover his strength, but was at his most powerful when within his Earth-Home, Coffin-Home, Hell-Home, or any unhallowed place. He spent most days in a deathlike, open-eyed sleep in which he was unable to awaken or move; if fully sated by blood, he would have to sleep in that state longer than usual. He could only cross running water at low or high tide and could not enter a place unless invited to do so (though, once invited, he could enter and leave at will). He was repulsed by garlic, mountain ash, and sacred items such as crucifixes, rosaries, and sacramental bread. Putting a wild rose on his coffin would prevent his escape, and firing a sacred bullet into it would ensure that he remained True-Dead. Unlike the vampires (nosferatu) of Eastern European folklore, which were portrayed as repulsive, corpse-like creatures, Dracula was a sophisticated aristocrat who inhabited a decaying castle in the Carpathian mountains near the Borgo Pass. "He was in life a most wonderful man. Soldier, statesman, and alchemist. Which latter was the highest development of the science knowledge of his time. He had a mighty brain, a learning beyond compare, and a heart that knew no fear and no remorse... there was no branch of knowledge of his time that he did not essay." He studied magic at the academy of Scholomance above the town of Sibiu (Hermannstadt) and led troops against the Turks across the Danube. According to his nemesis Abraham Van Helsing, "He must indeed have been that Voivode Dracula who won his name against the Turk.... If it be so, then was he no common man: for in that time, and for centuries after, he was spoken of as the cleverest and the most cunning, as well as the bravest of the sons of the land beyond the forest." The novel concerned Dracula's travel to London as the first step of his long-contemplated plan for world domination. After his failure he returned to Transylvania, pursued by his foes who killed him by simultaneously decapitating him and stabbing him in the heart; his body turned into dust. Stoker's literary executrix, his widow Florence published his collection of short stories "Dracula's Guest and Other Weird Stories" in 1914 . The first cinematic adaptation was F. W. Murnau's 1922 silent film "Nosferatu," with Max Schreck starring as Count Orlock, but Florence sued, demanding the destruction of the negative and all prints of the film since she had neither been asked for permission for the adaptation nor paid any royalty; she finally won in court in 1925, but one print survived and has become recognized as one of the most import examples of German expressionism. The first authorised film was Tod Browning's 1931 "Dracula" in which Bela Lugosi reprised his stage role, permanently establishing the charcter's appearance, speech, personality, mannerisms, and dress in popular culture; since then he has been portrayed by more actors in more visual media adaptations than any other horror character (including Lon Chaney Jr, John Carradine, Christopher Lee, Charles Macaulay, Francis Lederer, Denholm Elliott, Jack Palance, Louis Jourdan, Frank Langella, Klaus Kinski, Gary Oldman, Leslie Nielsen, George Hamilton, Keith-Lee Castle, Gerard Butler, Duncan Regehr, Richard Roxburgh, Marc Warren, Rutger Hauer, Stephen Billington, Thomas Kretschmann, Dominic Purcell, and Luke Evans). In 2009 Dacre Stoker, Bram's great-grandnephew, and Ian Holt published "Dracula: The Un-Dead," a sequel set a quarter century after the events of the original novel; due to the family's long struggle over the Dracula copyright, they used "Bram Stoker's own handwritten notes for characters and plot threads excised from the original edition" in an attempt to "reestablish creative control."

  3. Vlad III the Impaler (Vlad Țepeș) was the second son of Vlad Dracul (Vlad the Dragon), who became the ruler of Wallachia (Țeara Rumânească, between the Danube river and the Carpathians) in 1436; he received his sobriquet due to his association with the Order of the Dragon, a group of independent nobleman sworn to repel the Ottoman invasion. Valahia or Vlahia, as it was known to the Romas, was derived from "walha," the word used by Germanic peoples to describe the Celts and later all Romance-speaking peoples and led to place names such as Wales, Cornwall, Wallonia, etc. Roman emperor Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus (Constantine I) attacked the Goths north of the Danube in 332 and briefly established Roman rule in the area, but the Goths regained control until Attila's Huns destroyed 170 of their settlements. The Slavs arrived in the 6th century, and Wallachia was under the control of the First Bulgarian Empire from its establishment in 681 until the Magyar conquest of Transylvania at the end of the 10th century, then under the Pechenegs (a Turkic people) who extended their rule west through the 10th and 11th centuries, followed by the Cumans of southern Ruthenia and then, perhaps, in the 13th century the Mongols, who continued to erode Hungarian authority. Wallachia was founded as an independent principality in the early 14th century by Basarab I, after his rebellion against Károly I of Hungary. In the 15th century the Ottomans became increasingly powerful in the Balkans. Mircea I the Elder defeated them but made peace with them in 1417, after Mehmed I took control of the ports Turnu Măgurele and Giurgiu; Mihai I defeated them again in Severin, only to be killed in battle during their counter-offensive; in 1422 Dan II again defeated Murad II. However, the peace signed in 1428 inaugurated a period of internal crisis, as Dan had to defend himself against a series of boyar coalitions, who managed to install Mircea's son in 1431 but were dealt successive blows by Mircea's illegitimate son Vlad II Dracul after he came to power in 1436.

  4. When he refused to support an Ottoman invasion of Transylvania in 1442, Murad ordered him to demonstrate his loyalty by traveling to Gallipoli, where he was imprisoned with his two legitimate sons Vlad and Radu cel Frumos ("the Beautiful"). Vlad Dracul was released but his sons were kept as hostages in the fortress of Eğrigöz (Doğrugöz). Radu soon became the lover of the sultan's son, the future Mehmet II, converted to Islam, and became a leading general, playing a role in Mehmet's conquest of Constantinopolis (1453). In 1444 Vlad supported king Vladislaus of Poland and Hungary in the Crusade of Varna against the Ottomans, but he again acknowledged the sultan's suzerainty and promised to pay a yearly tribute in 1446 or 1447. Due to his alliance with the Ottomans, Hunyadi János, the regent-governor of Hungary, invaded in 1447; boyars captured Vlad's eldest son, blinded him with a red-hot poker, and buried him alive, and the Hungarians captured and killed Vlad and installed his second cousin Vladislaus II (a son of Dan II) as the new voivode. Vladislaus joined Hunyadi's campaign against the Ottomans in 1448; they released Vlad III, who led Ottoman forces into Wallachia and seized power. The Ottomans annihilated Hunyadi's army at Kosov, and Vladislaus returned to Wallachia with the remnants of his army, forcing Vlad to flee to Edirne before the end of the year, then to Moldavia, where Bogdan II (his father's brother-in-law and possibly his maternal uncle) had mounted the throne with Hunyadi's support in 1449. After Bogdan was murdered by his brother, Vlad fled with Bogdan's son Ștefan to Transylvania to seek Hunyadi's assistance; but Hunyadi concluded a three-year truce with the Ottomans and acknowledged the boyars' right to elect Vladislaus' successor.

  5. Vlad invaded Wallachia with Hungarian support in 1456, succeeded Vladislav, and immediately began to purge the boyars and the Transylvanian Saxons who supported them; he took his Saxon captives to Wallachia and impaled them. Hundreds or perhaps thousands of executions took place early in his reign; domestic peace was not restored until 1460. After Hunyadi died in 1456, his family revolted against king Ladislaus V of Hungary, Vlad saw an opportunity to expand his own influence. In 1457 he forced the voivode of Moldavia to abdicate in favor of Ștefan cel Mare și Sfânt (St. Stephen the Great) and plundered Transylvania, further antagonizing the Saxons. Meanwhile, relations with the Ottomans grew hostile again. In 1462 Mehmed II demanded that Vlad pay personal homage to him and secretly ordered the bey of Nicopolis to arrest him en route, but Vlad arrested and impaled the sultan's two envoys. Then he invaded the Ottoman Empire, devastating the villages along the Danube and slaughtering more than "23,884 Turks and Bulgarians" (in his own estimation). Mehmed named Radu as the ruler of Wallachia and raised an army of more than 150,000 troops under grand vizier Mahmud Pasha, with Radu at the head of the elite Janissaries (yeñiçeri, "new soldiers") [conscripted Christian infantry that formed the sultan's household troops and bodyguards]. Vlad retreated to Transylvania, destroying everything of importance in his wake. During the night of 16 and 17 June, Vlad broke into the Ottoman camp in an attempt to kill or capture the sultan but mistakenly attacked the vizier's tents. Mehmed entered Târgoviște at the end of the month; the town had been deserted, but a "forest of the impaled" was left behind. The killing field was 17 stades long and 7 stades wide and contained 20,000 spitted men, women, and children; Mehmed expressed admiration for "a man who had done such great deeds, who had such a diabolical understanding of how to govern his realm and its people" but decided to withdraw. Ștefan marched on the Hungarian garrison at Chilia (Kiliya, Uraine) and Vlad decided to join the siege; before he could arrive, Ștefan was wounded and returned to Moldavia, and the 6,000 troops Vlad had left behind in Wallachia were defeated by the Ottomans. The main Ottoman army left Wallachia, but Radu, remained behind to block his brother's advance. Although Vlad defeated him twice, the Wallachians began to desert him, and Vlad withdrew to the Carpathian Mountains, hoping for help from from Hunyadi János' son Mátyás (elected king Matthias I Corvinus of Hungary and Croatia in 1458), and Mehmed installed Radu as pasha of Wallachia. Mátyás went to Transylvania in November and negotiated with Vlad for several weeks but did not want to go to war against the Ottomans. Instead he had Vlad arrested Vlad and imprisoned in Alba Iulia and then Visegrád. To justify his actions to pope Pius II and the Venetians (who had sent money to finance a campaign against the Ottomans), Mátyás sent three letters that Vlad had allegedly sent to Mehmed, Mahmud Pasha, and Ștefan in which he offered to join his forces with the sultan's against Hungary in exchange for his restoration.

  6. During his 14 years of confinement, anecdotes about his cruelty spread throughout Germany and Italy, and books about the Impaler were among the first bestsellers in the German language; usually they had gruesome woodcuts on their title pages depicting Vlad's butchery. The meistersinger Michael Beheim wrote a lengthy poem, "Von ainem wutrich der heis Trakle waida von der Walachei" (Story of a Bloodthirsty Madman Called Dracula of Wallachia) was performed at the Holy Roman Emperor's court during the winter of 1463; one of the episodes involved Vlad's impalement of two monks to assist their journey to Heaven and then their donkey because it brayed after their death. In 1475 bishop Gabriele Rangoni of Eger reported that Vlad impaled rats in prison. The Ottomans removed Radu in 1473 in favor of Basarab Laiotă, though he briefly returned to the throne twice more by 1475. His sudden death that year triggered Vlad's comeback. Mátyás released him at the request of voivode Ștefan in order to deploy him against Basarab; he converted to Catholicism, married Mátyás' cousin (his first wife had been Hunyadi's illegitiomate daughter), and fought in the Hungarian army against the Ottomans in Bosnia in 1476, capturing Srebrenica and other fortresses, but Mehmed invaded Moldavia and defeated Ștefan at Valea Albă on 26 July. Then Vlad and the voivode of Transylvania, Báthory István, invaded Moldavia and forced Mehmed to lift the siege of Târgu Neamț in late August. Mátyás ordered the Transylvanian Saxons to support Báthory's planned invasion of Wallachia on 6 September and informed them that Ștefan would join the invasion. Báthory's forces captured Târgoviște on 8 November, and Vlad and Ștefan occupied Bucharest, forcing Basarab to seek reguge with the Ottomans on 16 November, though he returned to Wallachia with Ottoman support before the end of the year. Vlad was crowned voiode again before 26 November but died fighting against Basarab and the Ottomans in late December 1476 or early January 1477, along with his Moldavian retinue; the Ottomans cut Vlad's corpse into pieces and sent his head to Mehmed. By then he was signing himself as Dragulya or Drakulya ("the son of Dracul"). In modern Romanian, dracul means "devil," which contributed to his bad reputation.


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