Presentation Commentary: Shayna Lyle–Vampire Literature

Eighteenth century through present day, vampires have had an upfront appearance in literature. From romance and “chick lit,” to gothic horrors, vampires have dominated literature though out the centuries. Shayna Lyle presented various examples of the modern and historic vampire and the literary work they are presented in.

“Bride of the Corinth,” by Goethe, and “Christabel,” by Coleridge are two examples of works of vampires in the eighteenth century. While “Bride of the Corinth” focuses on the cross between romance and gothic vampirism, “Christabel” is focused on the gothic theme that seems to distract reader’s attention from the symbolism and lesbianism the poem entails.  

Camilla, by Le Fanu, Dracula’s Guest, by Bram Stoker, and Dracula, by Bram Stoker, are examples of vampire literature in the nineteenth century. All three novels take vampires from a dark and gothic light and thrust them into a new light where they are presented with the vintage gothic theme, converged with new romantic themes. Vampires were no longer only dark, horrifying demons who steal away souls, but have depth. For example, Dracula doesn’t want to suck the blood of his victims, but needs to in order to survive. He also has empathy for his victims, who all happen to be women. Of course blood is phallic symbol for seamen and he is not sucking the women’s blood, but having sex with them stealing their purity, not their souls. Dracula is known to have been based on Goethe’s “Bride of the Corinth.”

La Guerre des Vampires, by Gustave Le Rouge, I Am Legend, by Matheson, and The Hunger, by Strieber are all examples of vampire literature in the twentieth century. Adapted from previous versions of vampires, vampire literature in the twentieth century kick it up a notch by incorporating other “life” forms, such as zombies, into the gothic theme. For example, I Am Legend is a novel bringing awareness to “worldwide apocalypse,” and disease. All three bring in other forms to bring awareness to issues in reality. All three have goals that the authors want their readers to understand, whether consciously or unconsciously.

Southern Vampire Mysteries, Anita Blake: Vampire-Hunter, Carpathian, and Twilight are all examples of vampire literature from the twenty-first century. The “modern” vampire doesn’t even seem to be adapted from the vintage vampire. The gothic theme of vampire literature seems to have disappeared. Instead of vampires terrifying innocent women, they have a sex-appeal that lures them in. not only are they attractive, the victims know that they are vampires, and continue to peruse a relationship with them. Anti-religious vampires no longer exist in the way they used to, with them cowering in the corner in the sight of a cross. Now, vampires hang huge wooden crosses in their homes. These are only a few examples from the modern vampires found in Twilight, compared to the historic vampire found in any literature before the twentieth century.

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