English | Vampires: An American Love Affair
W170 | 1940 | Heather Shillinglaw


Projects in Reading and Writing -- Topic:  VAMPIRES: AN AMERICAN LOVE
AFFAIR

Students in this course will join the instructor in exploring the
figure of the Vampire in contemporary American culture.  Up until the
20th century, the vampire was almost always represented as something
monstrous, grotesque and unnatural (though sometimes aesthetically
pleasing).  Yet, in the last several decades, the vampire has found
redemption in novels like Anne Rice's INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE and
television programs like "Angel."  Vampires may now be beautiful,
good, or even cute (as with "the Count" from Sesame Street).  In many
ways, the vampire figure may act as a barometer of moral boundaries,
as it often occupies the space just outside acceptable parameters:
the vampire appears human, but is not; the vampire seems alive, but is
"technically" dead; the vampire experiences pleasure that we
understand in sexual terms, but does not have sex.  In short, the
vampire represents a particularly rich vein of cultural meaning, one
which we will exploit to the fullest, looking at texts spanning over a
century of development.  During the course of the semester, we will
deal with all sorts of cultural artifacts, from novels and short
stories to television programs and movies.