‘He make in the mirror no reflect’
Undead aesthetics and mechanical reproduction – Dorian Gray, Dracula and David Reed’s ‘vampire painting’
in Open Graves, Open Minds
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This chapter focuses on Bram Stoker's handwritten notes for Dracula where the vampire's lack of a reflection or shadow is first located and where this conceit is extended to include its image in photography and painting. It discusses the contemporary artist David Reed, whose abstract painting is offered up as another version of non-reflection. Reed has responded directly to Stoker's Dracula notebooks in his own 'vampire painting', creating a compelling homage to the unmirrorable figure of the vampire. Walter Pater's description of the Mona Lisa as a vampire fired Oscar Wilde's imagination. Dorian Gray allows discussions of vampirism in the fin de siecle to map on to wider aesthetic debates and cultural fears around the relevance of painting in an age of mechanical reproduction. The theme of mirroring, of doubling, is extended to include uncanny or vampiric portraits in Dorian Gray.

Open Graves, Open Minds

Representations of Vampires and the Undead from the Enlightenment to the Present Day

Editors: Sam George and Bill Hughes

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