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Vampires: Reflections in a Dark Mirror

  • Wendy Fall
Chapter

Abstract

Fall traces the development of vampires from Polidori through Stoker and beyond. Vampires make strange monsters because they aren’t always creatures of horror. Beginning as terrifying creatures in folklore, they were modified indelibly by nineteenth-century literature and evolved to become beloved popular culture icons. James Malcolm Rymer’s Varney the Vampire depicts the first sympathetic vampire, conflating attacks with sexual assault. After Varney, the vampire can be friend, lover, and hero. This ability to be both devourer and “good guy” sets vampires apart. The defining attribute of vampires is their adaptability, which makes them a dark reflection of human anxieties in different settings. Despite their shifting nature, vampires have consistently retained their nineteenth-century core identity as creatures torn between animal instincts, human conscience, and monstrosity.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wendy Fall
    • 1
  1. 1.Marquette UniversityMilwaukeeUSA

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