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Vampire Apocalypse: A Biocultural Critique of Richard Matheson's I Am Legend

From: Philosophy and Literature
Volume 34, Number 2, October 2010
pp. 313-328 | 10.1353/phl.2010.0005



The vampire apocalypse is a fairly unlikely event, but it makes for great storytelling. Richard Matheson's 1954 I Am Legend is a milestone in modern Gothic literature; it tells the bleak story of Robert Neville, sole survivor of a vampire plague. I employ the concepts of evolved human nature, cultural ecology, and authorial identity as my main analytical tools for understanding the appeal, the power, and the significance of Matheson's classic novel, which is basically an extrapolation on peculiar yet common anxieties and a meditation on what happens when basic adaptive needs are frustrated.

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