Vampires give me a Boner


If you’ve been reading the PoolBoy blog at all you are probably aware that I’ll use any excuse to post pics of R-Patz. NPR recently offered me another opportunity when they wrote this Bloody Book List. And it’s not just a vampire reading list (though there is a pretty good one at the end), but an article about how one can know what’s happening at a certain point in history by checking out the vampire lit of the time. Don’t believe me?

Take Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

“It was written at the end of the 19th century, at a time when England had some of the largest ports in the world,” says Benita Blessing, who teaches modern European history at Ohio University. “Here you have a ship arriving from Eastern Europe, bearing soil from another country, and a plague-like person who is going to bring death and destruction. The concerns at that time were foreign illnesses, unwanted immigrants. What Dracula is about is the fear of what we might today call globalization.”

That’s just the first example. The article discusses Anne Rice’s vamp novels, Whitley Strieber’s The Hunger, and the current wave of blood sucking books like Mormon Meyer’s Twilight series and Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels

So what does the recent infatuation with deadly immortals tell us about the national subconscious today? Well, in both Twilight and the Sookie Stackhouse series the main vampire characters try to deny their animal instincts and be more moral, in an attempt to be more human. Vampires, even Sookie’s Bill Compton, are predators, but then again, so are humans. Dracula wasn’t concerned about mainstreaming or following a set of moral rules. So why does Edward Cullen care about weather he drinks the blood of an animal or a human?

Apparently it’s because humans are killing the Earth and we feel really bad about it. According to Whitley Strieber:

“Our prey is our planet,” he says. Today’s fear is not the Cold War or AIDS, it’s the fate of the Earth: “We sense that there is something wrong with the environment, that the planet itself may not be able to sustain us very long, and so we are beginning to romance death once again.”

I buy it. It seems that vampires, who usually represent fear of death, appear in literature to reflect what the major fear of the time is, from immigration, to disease, to the uncertainty at the end of the Cold War, to pollution. If you are into vampires or how literature reflects culture and what’s happening in the world, this article is a must read.

I’ll leave you with a little Eric from True Blood to get you through the day.

Have a good Tuesday, biznatches.

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