Reading the Vampire
By Ken Gelder
Routledge – 1994 – 176 pages
Series: Popular Fictions Series
Insatiable bloodlust, dangerous sexualities, the horror of the undead, uncharted Trannsylvanian wildernesses, and a morbid fascination with the `other': the legend of the vampire continues to haunt popular imagination.
Reading the Vampire examines the vampire in all its various manifestations and cultural meanings. Ken Gelder investigates vampire narratives in literature and in film, from early vampire stories like Sheridan Le Fanu's `lesbian vampire' tale Carmilla and Bram Stoker's Dracula, the most famous vampire narrative of all, to contemporary American vampire blockbusters by Stephen King and others, the vampire chronicles of Anne Rice, `post-Ceausescu' vampire narratives, and films such as FW Murnau's Nosferatu and Bram Stoker's Dracula.
Reading the Vampire embeds vampires in their cultural contexts, showing vampire narratives feeding off the anxieties and fascinations of their times: from the nineteenth century perils of tourism, issues of colonialism and national identity, and obsessions with sex and death, to the `queer' identity of the vampire or current vampiric metaphors for dangerous exchanges of bodily fluids and AIDS.