IN THE BLOOD. Why do vampires still thrill.

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IN THE BLOOD. Why do vampires still thrill.

Postby maggatha3 » Sat Nov 19, 2011 8:07 pm

A cool article tweeted by Anne Rice. :hearts:

http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/a ... e_acocella

It is a long one, 6 pages, but I liked it and thought I 'd share. Since the writer mentions Twilight and Vampire writers but neglects you-know-who, I had to :giggle: at the end of the article.
Whoosh! Why is the curtain blowing so strangely? Oh, my God! There is a man in my study, with a briefcase—he claims he is a lawyer, from Los Angeles—and, by his side, another, taller figure, in black, with pointy teeth. They say they want to help me revise my article. I must break off! ♦


Let me know what you think. :wave:
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Re: IN THE BLOOD. Why do vampires still thrill.

Postby allegrita » Sun Nov 20, 2011 9:43 am

I think the author made a grave (heh) mistake in not mentioning the REAL vampires... and that she is now learning the error of her ways. :snicker:

(But really, it's a pretty cool article.) :thumbs:
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Re: IN THE BLOOD. Why do vampires still thrill.

Postby jen » Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:45 am

Agree.

Cool article. Society is repleat with many intriguing stories, some that have made their way into literature and others that exist still in the realm of shadows and stories, but they provide a fertile ground for our imaginations.

Sounds like Mick and one of the attorneys from Kostan Industries paid Ann Rice a visit.

Hope she was a mind to be reasonable. After all, what better place to hide than within popular fiction.

:flowers: :dracula: :flowers:
Last edited by jen on Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: IN THE BLOOD. Why do vampires still thrill.

Postby Luxe de Luxe » Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:09 am

am working my way through the article and hope to have a comment soonish.
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Re: IN THE BLOOD. Why do vampires still thrill.

Postby Luxe de Luxe » Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:26 am

very thought provoking article, maggatha, discussing vampires in general and dracula in particular to explore some of the themes that arise in vampire literature. so much to enjoy about it....

Classic vampire literature is dark -- it's about death and other things that are worse than death (I'm thinking of the sexual taboos it skirts with - and how in Victorian times, public knowledge of any unconventional sexual practices was social suicide). Modern, Twilight-y vampire fic is more like a bodice ripper than a horror novel -- yet, still, it's about sex and the fear of it. Both often seem to contrast the sexy potency of the vampire with the ineffectual impotence of the ordinary human man. Who wouldn't want someone willing to break all the rules for you??

The other contrast this article pointed out that I liked was the tension between the rational/irrational in the classic vampire novel. Maybe it's that tension that creates the horror -- 'there are more things in heav'n and earth Horatio.. blah blah' -- we're super rational beings and the truth may be out there, but we just don't bl@@&y know what it is. Horror lives in the gap.

Another thing that I really liked about this was the notion that the vampire novel illuminates something 'true' about the human condition. I think I agree with that, and I started wondering what 'truths' our fic writers have revealed in their fics. Hmmm... might have to go back and start re-reading some of my faves to see if I can see the hidden truth.

The final thing I liked about this was the link between vampire fiction and ye olde 'penny dreadful'. Oh my god, they had fan fic back in the 1850's! Well, not quite, but the serialization of tales of supernatural misdeeds sounded so much like our multi-chap fanfics I couldn't resist! :teeth:

Thanks Maggatha!
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Re: IN THE BLOOD. Why do vampires still thrill.

Postby jen » Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:36 am

Great points.

Vampire lore is a reflection of the time and society in which it was written and is as scientifically based as possible--which in that era means 'not so much' not that we have everything figured out now. Our horror just tales a slightly different shape today.
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Re: IN THE BLOOD. Why do vampires still thrill.

Postby Luxe de Luxe » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:20 am

jen wrote:Great points.

Vampire lore is a reflection of the time and society in which it was written and is as scientifically based as possible--which in that era means 'not so much' not that we have everything figured out now. Our horror just tales a slightly different shape today.

Interesting thoughts, jen, about the scientifically based stuff. the writer seems to think that when vamp fiction first came about it included all the latest mod-cons (like typewriters!) and I also felt a bit smug sitting here in the 21st century about our level of scientific knowledge. then I thought that back in their day, they felt pretty superiorly scientific too! I had to re-think my smugness. what will 22nd century science think of where we are right now? I think that science can't answer it all (to rephrase Hamlet AND Van Helsing).... which is where the scary-scary comes in.
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Re: IN THE BLOOD. Why do vampires still thrill.

Postby darkstarrising » Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:15 pm

Thanks for the article, maggatha. Quite a bit to chew on, pardon the pun, but I found myself agreeing with the author of the article in that a work of fiction can be over-analysed.

In such a context, we do not need to look for political meaning in Dracula’s transactions with women. The meaning is forbidden sex—its menace and its allure. The baring of the woman’s flesh, her leaning back, the penetration: reading of these matters, does one think about immigration?


I don't disagree that there are other subtexts in 'Dracula', but one can get carried away.

So why are vampires still thrilling? The quote above is in part an answer. Sex sells. The hard part is making it thrilling from a literary point of view for today's audience.

As indicated in the article, Stoker's original audience was totally different than today's audience. Sex was whispered about, dalliances and affairs weren't flaunted, not if you valued your reputation. As we entered the 20th century, little had changed from the perspective of the audience who viewed the 1931 'Dracula'. Bela Lugosi's interpretation of the Count tended to highlight the attractive and downplay the repulsive. We see nothing of the gargoyle like 'Nosferatu', but rather a refined, elegant, mysterious count from a foreign country. No wonder the ladies swooned.

In the interim, we've had the sexual revolution in literature and on-screen. Not much, if anything, has been left to the imagination. The subsequent interpretations of vampires in the last 30 or so years have kept much of what makes the vampire attractive, but added a sympathetic dimension as well. Case in point, Mick St. John and Angel - both physically attractive men who have 'regrets' they're trying to atone for. We've made the vampire more acceptable and given him something he never had before - the hope of salvation.

Modern interpretations of the vampire lore tend to fall into one of two categories - those that harken back to Stoker's view of a creature superficially attractive and mysterious, yet basically reprehensible, relying on the life's blood of others to survive. Take Anne Rice's Lestat. Over the course of her works, he outwardly transforms himself to fit the era he finds himself in, but within, is still Lestat, a vampire who will do what it takes to survive. By the time we get to 'Memnoch, the Devil', though, even Lestat begins to question himself and his path.

The author cites 'Twilight' and 'Buffy' as examples of the second category which tends to highlight the attractive and mysterious, while downplaying the repulsive. Why? Because the target audience has become more diversified, in short, younger. Pre-teen and teenage girls have joined the ranks of the swooning Victorian ladies who have fallen under the vampire's spell.

As for the final quote in the article, 'Moonlight' didn't come to mind, rather 'Angel' did.
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Re: IN THE BLOOD. Why do vampires still thrill.

Postby librarian_7 » Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:09 pm

Oh, dear, I could go on at length about this article...but I will say, I tried to read the Beresford book that is so prominently cited, and quickly gave up on it. He tended to make a lot of unverified assertions, concerning the folklore, and some amazing leaps from data to conclusion. Which might have been true, but without the intervening information, were a little hard to take. I don't remember examples particularly, but it was along the lines of the classic logic mis-statement which goes, "Socrates is a man. All men are mortal. Therefore, all men are Socrates."

The article was an entertaining read. I'm very fond of the Klinger Annotated Dracula; I bought my copy in Chicago, when I was there for the Moonlight Gala. And I have to add, I once met Professor McNally, who co-edited the previous edition. He was speaking at the college I attended, on Halloween night, 1975. Fun times!

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Re: IN THE BLOOD. Why do vampires still thrill.

Postby Luxe de Luxe » Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:39 pm

darkstarrising wrote:So why are vampires still thrilling? The quote above is in part an answer. Sex sells. The hard part is making it thrilling from a literary point of view for today's audience.

As indicated in the article, Stoker's original audience was totally different than today's audience. Sex was whispered about, dalliances and affairs weren't flaunted, not if you valued your reputation. As we entered the 20th century, little had changed from the perspective of the audience who viewed the 1931 'Dracula'. Bela Lugosi's interpretation of the Count tended to highlight the attractive and downplay the repulsive. We see nothing of the gargoyle like 'Nosferatu', but rather a refined, elegant, mysterious count from a foreign country. No wonder the ladies swooned.

Really interesting point, dsr. What's fascinating is that the whole sexy vampire thing has flipped on its head since the sexual revolution. the audiences these days have no problem getting into bed with the vampires and the vampires are still sexy, but its because of their sexual restraint, e.g Our Mick, Angel, Edward Cullen. What makes them so darned attractive (besides the fact that they're gorgeous) is that they hold themselves back, the sex isn't casual for them. There is a moral element to their sexiness. I hadn't thought about that til I read your post. :teeth: So I guess that means vampires are STILL defying convention. :snicker:
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Re: IN THE BLOOD. Why do vampires still thrill.

Postby darkstarrising » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:56 pm

Interesting point, Luxe....so today's vampire's have become a type of 'forbidden fruit', one that human's long for, but remains out of reach because of their restraint.

That highlights another way we've altered the vampire persona in some recent literature. Looking at some of the more recent vampires, not only do they have some sense of morality, they try to deny their very nature, distancing themselves from past, repulsive vampiric aspects. Mick, the Cullens and even Bill won't drink (or try not to) from humans, substituting morgue, animal or 'synthetic' blood. So, in some cases, the vampires we're being offered today appeal to a variety of our senses; their physically attractive, and because they're more 'human', tragically turned into something they never wanted to be, they appeal to our sympathetic nature as well.

No wonder we swoon.
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Re: IN THE BLOOD. Why do vampires still thrill.

Postby Luxe de Luxe » Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:36 am

Exactly. They're kind of like the modern version of medieval chivalric knights -- straight up deadly killers, but with a code of honour that puts women (or humans) on a pedestal, thereby allowing us to flirt with danger without actually being in any. Simply thrilling.
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Re: IN THE BLOOD. Why do vampires still thrill.

Postby allegrita » Tue Nov 22, 2011 8:49 am

Ooooh... reading that, I've gone all shivery (in a good way)! :happysigh: :happysigh:
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Re: IN THE BLOOD. Why do vampires still thrill.

Postby Luxe de Luxe » Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:11 am

allegrita wrote:Ooooh... reading that, I've gone all shivery (in a good way)! :happysigh: :happysigh:

Oh yeah, I'm right there with you, Alle. Oh yes indeedy, ma'am! :snicker:
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