I am a doctoral candidate in English at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. My supervisor is Dr Eluned Summers-Bremner, author of Insomnia: A Cultural History (Reaktion Books, 2008). My thesis is about blood in vampire novels. I hold a Master of Arts with First Class Honours in English which was also supervised by Dr Summers-Bremner.
Blood in Three Vampire Novels, 1897-2005.
Daniel Michael Satele
"Why has the vampire appealed to writers and their readers over such a long period, from the nineteenth century to the present? Almost no other monsters of the Victorian era went on to become so canonical to popular culture as Count Dracula did. My hypothesis is that the opportunity for modern audiences to engage in a fantasy about human blood has drawn them back to enjoy recycled and reinvented vampire stories over successive generations. While the way in which the vampire is imagined has morphed with changing times, the vampire’s blood-drinking has remained a definitive part of this modern myth. Meanwhile, it is not only vampires’ fangs that draw human blood in vampire stories. In the three novels I take as case studies – Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897); Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend (1954); and Fledgling (2005) by Octavia Butler – so do razors, shattered glass, knives, bullets and needles, often wielded by humans, often in efforts to establish or defend the type of community in which they imagine they want to live. Vampire texts turn out to be concerned with human blood in more varied and significant ways than one might have expected of a genre that typically lays no claim to literary or philosophical sophistication. I canvass a number of these texts in the chapters that come between the case studies, including not only novels but also pulp stories, film, television, vaudeville and cartoons."