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Episode 03: The Plague: Vampires and Infection

For many centuries, death was a mystery, and dying a fearful force devoid of explanation. Some causes of death were deemed to be rooted in the supernatural or some sort of invading demonic force. Many who suffered from wasting diseases, anemia, tuberculosis, or cholera, for example, were misdiagnosed as the victims of vampiric attacks. After all, the symptoms fell in line with those superstitions: weight loss, coughing up blood, immense suffering. And then there were the epidemics of illness. Whole cities of people were wiped out in the bubonic plague. Outbreaks of cholera and flu decimated countries. Venereal diseases became widely feared and terrifyingly common across Europe and beyond. In the 1600s, as the plague claimed millions of lives, the cause was unknown, although we now know that the disease was carried by rats and fleas. The myth of the vampire, as a result, grew all the more foreboding. What else could claim so many lives in one fell swoop but an inhuman creature of immeasurable evil?

Content warning: Discussions of illness, death, and disease.

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Episode 02: Dracula in Istanbul

Consistently in print for over 120 years, Dracula has been translated into dozens of languages, and it is one of those translations that we’re here to discuss today. What we expect from a translation is a stridently faithful process, nothing changed aside from the words themselves. In reality, the politics of translation are far more complex than that, with heavier questions of historical and cultural context to consider – more a more tangled process than simply going from one language to another. It’s a gateway to reinterpretation and even total recreation of the tale in question. In the case of Dracula, one translation of the novel was so different that it took on a life of its own. In essence, it became one of the first true literary bootleg novels. This is the story of Dracula in Istanbul.

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Episode 01: Dance of the Vampires

Vampire musicals never work. It’s one of the deep-seated rules of Broadway theatre. There are many examples that prove this assertion, but today, we’re taking a look at the one that started it all. What happens when you take one of German-language theatre’s biggest hits and add a hefty dose of Broadway egos, bad puns, feuding producers, and lifelong grudges? You get one of the biggest financial flops in musical history. This is the story of Dance of the Vampires.

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Remove the Bad Taste of the Broadway Show