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The Vampire in Nineteenth Century English Literature

Carol A. Senf

Publication Year: 1988

Carol A. Senf traces the vampire’s evolution from folklore to twentieth-century popular culture and explains why this creature became such an important metaphor in Victorian England. This bloodsucker who had stalked the folklore of almost every culture became the property of serious artists and thinkers in Victorian England, including Charlotte and Emily Brontë, George Eliot, Charles Dickens, Karl Marx, and Friedrich Engels. People who did not believe in the existence of vampires nonetheless saw numerous metaphoric possibilities in a creature from the past that exerted pressure on the present and was often threatening because of its sexuality.

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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Chapter One: Blood, Eroticism, and the Twentieth-Century Vampire

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pp. 1-16

Sterling O'Blivion, a character in the 1984 I, Vampire by Jody Scott, introduces herself with a bizarre confession: "To remain young and adorable, I must drink six ounces of human arterial blood once a month. This is not an ethical choice. I was born this way. If society wants to kill or cure me, that's not up to me."1 She adds that she has been like...

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Chapter Two: The Origins of Modern Myth

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pp. 17-30

In the last chapter we saw that the vampire is such a familiar character today that adolescent readers of comic books, devotees of serious literature, and watchers of late-night "Creature Features" can all recognize the family resemblances in vampires as diversified as Dracula (played as an urbane eighteenth-century gentleman by George Hamilton) in Love At First...

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Chapter Three: The Vampire as Gothic Villain

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pp. 31-74

Dracula. As Chapter One suggests, the name has practically become a synonym for vampire in the twentieth century. However, Bram Stoker's original character is a transitional figure that has links to both the hideous creature from folklore and the more appealing modern version in Love At First Bite, John Badham's Dracula, and the novels of Fred Saberhagen...

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Chapter Four: Suspicions Confirmed, Suspicions Denied

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pp. 75-93

Rupert Sent Leger, protagonist and chief narrator of Bram Stoker's The Lady of the Shroud (1909), writes in his journal about the visits of a mysterious woman. Attempting to discover whether or not she is a vampire, he analyzes her behavior according to what he has read and heard of these supernatural...

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Chapter Five: Myth Becomes Metaphor in Realistic Fiction

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pp. 94-139

The fictional works discussed in this chapter—Jane Eyre, Bleak House, and Middlemarch—use the vampire in more obviously metaphoric ways than the works discussed in the previous two chapters; and the difference is revealed most clearly by the fact that a character or characters uses the term "vampire" as a significant metaphor for destructive human...

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Chapter Six: Making Sense of the Changes

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pp. 140-164

This study of the vampire has focused on the changes the literary character has undergone in the past two hundred years, especially as those changes relate to an evolving sense of self and of one's relationships with others. Despite its necessary interest in the individual (the reading and writing of fiction being intensely individual pursuits—far more so...


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pp. 165-193


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pp. 194-204

Back Cover

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p. 214-214

E-ISBN-13: 9780299263836
E-ISBN-10: 0299263835
Print-ISBN-13: 9780879724252
Print-ISBN-10: 0879724250

Page Count: 212
Publication Year: 1988