The Littlest Soapbox

April 10, 2010

Vampires In Academia

Filed under: Books,Film,General Interest — mikecgannon @ 12:41 PM

For those of you now just awakening from your 30-year comas, vampires are kind of huge right now. Apparently so huge, that those crazy Brits on the other side of the pond are now hosting an academic conference on (wait for it) vampire literature!

It’s true! The University of Hertfordshire has a conference scheduled for April 16-17. It will be entitled “Open Graves, Open Minds: Vampires and the Undead In Modern Culture”. From the conferences website:

The irony of creatures with no reflection becoming such a pervasive reflection of modern culture pleases in a dark way. Since their animation out of folk materials in the nineteenth century, by Polidori, as Varney and in Le Fanu and Stoker, vampires have been continually reborn in modern culture. They have stalked texts from Marx’s image of the leeching capitalist, through Pater’s Lady Lisa of tainted knowledge, to the multifarious incarnations in contemporary fictions in print and on screen. They have enacted a host of anxieties and desires, shifting shape as the culture they are brought to life in itself changes form. More recently, their less charismatic undead cousins, zombies, have been dug up in droves to represent various fears and crises in contemporary culture.

H/T Mark Byrne at GalleyCat, who also reports that the conference’s organizer, Dr. Sam George, “will also be starting a master’s degree in Vampire Literature this fall at the University of Hertfordshire.”

And they say the Kindle marks the downfall of Western civilization.

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