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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Fall 2008


Unique Days Time Location Instructor
35750 TTh
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
MEZ 2.124

Course Description

Request for a 2008-09 Cross-listing for a Graduate Seminar in Comparative Literature Nineteenth Century British with an endorsement requested from ETW Richmond-Garza, The Vampire in Imperial Literature and Culture This course proposes to take a single archetype, that of the vampire, and trace it from its striking emergence in a literary mode at the height of Romanticism. The period 1789-1922 sees the vampire's apogee as the sensationalist vehicle for both the most subversive and conservative of tracts on European identity and culture. The course will track the archetype from its Central and Eastern European folk origins through the imperial literature of Great Britain, France, France and Austria. The vampire combines ideally the centurys two most provocative iconographies of difference in the period, whether that difference is cultural, ethnic and sexual: the Gothic and the Orientalist. From his/her origins as the predator who attacks the next-of-kin, the vampire emerges as an "Other" who combines multiple fantasies of threat and accountability: that of a New-Woman feminine evil, that of Jewish or Slavic contamination, that of Orientalist, diasporic xenophobia, that of localized homophobia, among others. His/her décor is drawn both from Western Europes own atavistic past and from the Eastern Others who increasingly form and transform the British Empire and Europe as a whole. For example, he is both the Turk and the Baron, she is both the transgressing Jew and the independent daughter, and both now inhabit the increasingly uneasy European capital cities. Is the vampire merely a masquerade for demonizing marginal identities or can he/she seductively infiltrate society undetected as more than a dandy or a foreign visitor. The course will begin with a focus on the non-Western-European origins of the archetype and situate this material in the context of the events of 1789 and their aftermath. The centurys preoccupations with immigration, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and class will be mapped against this reliably flamboyant figure. The methodology will combine cultural history, drawing upon the work of critics like Dijkstra, Auerbach, Williams, West and Foucault with a special focus on identity politics as suggested by Phelan, Bulter, Gilman and others. The spine of the course will be a genealogy of texts from Coleridges Christabel (1798) to Murnaus Nosferatu (1922). Its central piece will be a close cultural, historical reading of Stokers Dracula. It will include materials drawn from relevant genres, including painting and film. The British texts will be viewed in juxtaposition with continental ones whose material conditions nuance their presentation of the icon of the vampire in different ways. Thus Polidoris The Vampire will be juxtaposed with Gogols Viy, and Stokers text with Parisian short stories by Rachilde and Lefanu, The suggestion is that the vampire becomes a distinctly contested site of cultural self-definition throughout nineteenth-century Europe. Requirements: Students are expected to attend regularly, and energetically. Each student will give one 30-minute oral presentation to the seminar on a topic of the student's choice, which bears upon the texts assigned for the particular day. Written work will involve the submission of a 20-page seminar paper OR a series of shorter written assignments. Texts will include: backgrounds texts on Vlad Tepes and Erzebet Bathory, and on folk vampires; Burger, Lenora; Karamzin, The Island of Bornholm; Coleridge, Christabel; Byron/Polidori The Vampyre; Keats, La belle dame Sans Merci and Lamia; Gogol, Viy; Maupassant, Horia; the vampire poems from Baudelaire and Kipling; Tennyson Tithonous; Planché, The Vampire, Délibes, Lakmé; Le Fanu, Carmilla; Dion Bouciault, The Vampire (The Phantom); Turgenev, Phantoms; Rymer, Varney the Vampire; Rachilde, Monsieur Venus and The Blood Drinkers; Schoenberg, Anticipation; Wilde, Salomé and The Picture of Doria


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