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Dracula’s Inky Shadows: The Vampire Gothic of Writing

OWEN, LAUREN,ELIZABETH,SARAH (2017) Dracula’s Inky Shadows: The Vampire Gothic of Writing. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Always a story about a story, the vampire tale is forever in dialogue with the past, conscious of its own status as a rewrite. This makes the vampire a figure onto which readers and authors can project ambivalence about writing – the gothic of living with texts. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) vividly illustrates this connection. The novel presents textual interactions as both dangerous and pleasurable. What is more, Dracula has accumulated significance through criticism and adaptation. These retellings tie the novel even more closely to the processes of writing and rewriting.

This thesis will begin by examining Dracula’s gothic of reading and writing. After this follows a consideration of the vampire fiction preceding Stoker’s novel, beginning with the figure of the embodied author in early nineteenth-century works like John William Polidori’s The Vampyre’ (1819), and James Malcolm Rymer’s Varney, the Vampyre (1845-47). The thesis will then address the gothic of scientific and institutional language in the vampire fiction of the mid nineteenth-century, including Sheridan Le Fanu’s ‘Carmilla’ (1872). A return to the fin de siècle follows, with a consideration of degeneracy and art vampirism outside Dracula, and discussion of works including Florence Marryat’s The Blood of the Vampire (1897) and George Sylvester Viereck’s The House of the Vampire (1907). The thesis will proceed to the twentieth century, studying the gothic interplay of film and literature in works like F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922). It will then trace the resemblance between Victorians and their modern adapters, suggesting that re-imaginings of Dracula, like Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), betray an affinity between Victorians and the ‘enlightened’ twentieth century. The thesis will conclude by examining the vampire as a figure of intertextuality, and considering the way in which postmodern vampires like those of Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) acknowledge that their world is comprised of other texts. Buffy offers the possibility that the world shaped by narratives may also be rewritten, with results that can be either terrifying or liberating.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Vampire literature; Gothic literature; Bram Stoker; Dracula; authorship
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of
Thesis Date:2017
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:03 Oct 2017 14:52

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