Show Less

Undead Memory

Vampires and Human Memory in Popular Culture

Simon Bacon and Katarzyna Bronk

Vampires have never been as popular in Western culture as they are now: Twilight, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries and their fans have secured the vampire’s place in contemporary culture. Yet the role vampires play in how we remember our pasts and configure our futures has yet to be explored. The present volume fills this gap, addressing the many ways in which vampire narratives have been used to describe the tensions between memory and identity in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
The first part of the volume considers the use of the vampire to deal with rapid cultural change, both to remember the past and to imagine possible futures. The second part examines vampire narratives as external cultural archives, a memory library allowing us to reference the past and understand how this underpins our present. Finally, the collection explores how the undead comes to embody memorial practice itself: an autonomous entity that gives form to traumatic, feminist, postcolonial and oral traditions and reveals the resilience of minority memory.
Ranging from actual reports of vampire activity to literary and cinematic interpretations of the blood-drinking revenant, this timely study investigates the ways in which the «undead memory» of the vampire throughout Western culture has helped us to remember more clearly who we were, who we are, and who we will/may become.

Prices

Show Summary Details
Restricted access

PART III Memory Never Dies: Vampires as Human Memory and Trauma

Extract

Hannah Priest Pack versus Coven: Guardianship of Tribal Memory in Vampire versus Werewolf Narratives The irredeemable enemies In an early chapter of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Jonathan Harker is startled by the howling of wolves. Dracula responds to the noise: “Listen to them – the children of the night. What music they make!” (Stoker 1993 [1897]: 24). Though it is not clear whether this is a response to wolves or werewolves, Dracula’s designation of the lupine “musicians” as “children of the night” has rippled through the Western cultural consciousness. Vampires and werewolves have lengthy and independent, though occasionally intersect- ing, histories in literature, folklore and film; however, recent (particularly Anglophone) cultural productions have increasingly sought to include both species – and to place them in direct opposition to one another. While some texts include both species cohabiting in worlds filled with various supernatural races – for example, Buf fy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, True Blood and L. L. Raand’s Midnight Hunters series of erotic novels – a subgenre exists which is best described as vampire vs werewolf fiction. In these texts, vampires and werewolves are incompatible and irredeemable enemies. Often, a werewolf ’s very existence is predicated on their antago- nism towards vampires; almost always, a hierarchical relationship is created between the two species, with vampires embodying power, culture, civi- lization and colonization, and werewolves depicted through primitivism, victimization, infantilization and “underdog” heroism. One of the key distinctions drawn in the construction of this hier- archical relationship lies in the presentation of tribal identity and...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.