From my own perspective Arthur Rackham remains the greatest artist from The Golden Age of Illustration which lasted from the 1880s up until around WWII. Rackham first rose to prominence with his strangely compelling illustrated works that featured all of the various elements of the greatest myths, fables, and fairy tales. The artwork that he produced contained all of the whimsy, romance, adventure, and grotesquerie that was found in their accompanying narratives. Rackham’s images became so ingrained in the minds of many children that his illustrations almost defined the essence of fantasy and legend for generations. Personally, I’ve always found his unique combination of innocent beauty with eeriness, and often tragedy, to be emotionally moving. I can’t think of any other artist in the world of illustration who managed to so evocatively retell the stories of the past with such imagination and believability.
This essay was originally posted on Lunch.com in an abridged review format on October 26, 2009.
How did one of the most violent tyrants in history help to inspire the most legendary of fictional villains? Well, to answer that question, one must examine not only Bram Stoker‘s Gothic horror novel, but also the terrible and fascinating history of Roumania’s most famous prince. There are so many influences and inspirations that went into the character of Count Dracula and not all of them are well-known. Today, Stoker’s vampiric villain is now a cultural icon and he has undergone many changes, some of which are barely noticeable and others that radically contradict the original character that Stoker invented. Indeed, Count Dracula must be undead for his image and his legacy never seem to die.
This essay was originally posted on Lunch.com in an abridged review format on October 23, 2009.
Myths and legends of vampires are widespread. Tales of their existence can be found in virtually every culture across the globe and they date back to thousands of years ago. Contrary to Western beliefs, the vampire has been around since long before Bram Stoker‘s Dracula popularized the bloodsucking fiends, and the presence of vampires have been rumoured in almost every country. Indeed, these terrifying creatures of darkness are not limited to the folklore of Eastern Europe or to the confines of Gothic literature.The history of vampires is a long, dark, and brutal glimpse into the past. Most “rational” people will immediately dismiss vampires altogether as outdated mythology, escapist fiction, or the nightmarish delusions of the emotionally disturbed. But how is it then, that tales of vampirism have been echoed in eerily similar fashion on multiple continents over the course of millennia? Where did this concept of vampires come from and does it have its origins in reality? To find the answers to these questions, one must be willing to probe the dark secrets of the human subconscious and walk in the shadows of a forgotten history recorded in blood. Do you possess the innate ability to separate fantasy from reality and can you acknowledge the fact that science and history aren’t infallible? If so, then maybe your mind is open enough to accept that we live in a universe of unlimited potential, where anything is possible… even the existence of the supernatural!