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"There are Kisses for Us All": The Undying Appeal of the Vampire Narrative!

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Jennifer E. Palais! Cel: (310) 795.9933 ! Website: http://www.jenniferpalais.com! Email: jenniferepalais@icloud.com!

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College of Liberal Arts, University College, Dublin!

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Submitted to the Faculty of the Department of English in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters in Modern English and American Literature, !

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November, 1996!

Abstract! ! Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897) is the most enduring depiction of the vampire in all

of fiction, for Stoker created a compelling character that continues to fascinate modern audiences. Anne Rice resurrected the vampire with her fresh perspective in Interview with Vampire (1976), which became an instant cult classic and, along with its sequels, soon earned a mainstream readership. Vampire literature drew Victorian and ancient audiences with equal fervor, and continues to enchant present day readers. That such seemingly disparate cultures converge in their interest in vampires suggest that vampire fiction must be accomplishing some important cultural work that transcends any particular historical moment. Focussing on Bram Stoker's Dracula and Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, the two seminal vampire treatments up to the present day, this thesis traces the manner in which each author crafted novels that communicate so well with so many. I uncover the salient features of vampire mythology and fiction that have kept people coming back to the bookstores, libraries and movie theaters for a century, in not longer.! ! One principal feature of the vampire stands out: The creature is always a parasite,

draining its host of vitality, energy, life itself. As such, its very nature relegates it to the border of society, the outcast, the Other. From ancient folklore, to Stoker's Victorian rendering, to Anne Rice's postmodern treatment, the constant element of the vampire story's appeal, I argue, is its ability to let readers grapple with the "Other."! ! After briefly surveying the history of vampires and the impact of vampire

mythology on Western culture, I turn to the literary vampire, analyzing the fiction of Stoker and Rice in terms of their readership. I concentrate on what attracts readers to

vampire narratives. Through an examination of narrative techniques I show how each author incites the reader to identify with the vampire -- a technique that, while not always obvious, is part of the pleasure of reading. Finally, I investigate the manner in which the "Other" appears in the text through sexuality and gender, the two most intriguing and significant facets of otherness in the fiction in question.!

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Bram Stoker's Dracula has been a bestseller since its original publication in 1897. The title character of Stoker's classic survives not only in print, but on film; the movie industry has immortalized Count Dracula who is now "the most filmed character in history" (Bedford x). Dracula is the most enduring depiction of the vampire in all of fiction. Molding and embellishing upon the folkloric vampire, Stoker created a compelling character that continues to fascinate modern audiences.1!
 

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Dracula's popularity grew over the years, and with it came a glut of mostly

uninteresting reincarnations of the vampire in film and literature. Almost one hundred years after Stoker's Dracula, Anne Rice resurrected the vampire with her fresh perspective in Interview with the Vampire. An instant cult classic, the 1976 novel and its sequels soon earned a mainstream readership. Modern audiences continue to devour Rice's vampire fiction as quickly as Victorian audiences devoured Stoker's Dracula. Although Rice's other occult novels have sold well, the Vampire Chronicles are her most successful venture, and all have appeared on the bestseller lists.2!
 

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It seems the vampire's immortality is no fiction, but a marketplace reality.

Vampire literature drew Victorian and ancient audiences with equal fervor, and continues to enchant present day readers. That such seemingly disparate cultures Not only has Dracula been a popular novel, it has also been considered a "lucky" play. The Hamilton Deane-John Balderston stage adaptation of Dracula were considered to bring luck - and lucre - to the production company; according to Belford, "whenever a company was in trouble, it was exhumed the old count from his coffin and good fortune followed" (201).
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Rice's Vampire Chronicles include: Interview with the Vampire (1976), The Vampire Lestat (1985), The Queen of the Damned (1988), The Tale of the Body Thief (1992), and Memnock the Devil (1995); for the purposes of this thesis, I will concentrate on Interview and Lestat as it is in these novels that most of the cultural work of the fiction is done.!
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converge in their interest in vampires suggests that transcends any particular historical moment. Focussing on Bram Stoker's Dracula and Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, the two seminal vampire treatments up to the present day, this thesis will trace the! manner in which each author crafted novels that communicate so well with so many. I will attempt to uncover the salient features of vampire mythology and fiction that have kept people coming back to the bookstore, libraries and movie theaters for a century, if not longer.! ! Vampire mythology speaks to people in a way that no other lore does. Women

and men, young and old, heterosexual and homosexual - everyone knows about vampires. To understand how the popularity of the vampire transcends culture, class, gender and sexual boundaries, it is necessary to investigate the core aspect of vampire mythology. One principal feature of the vampire remains: The creature is always a parasite, draining its host of vitality, energy, life itself. As such, its very nature relegates it to the border of society, the outcast, the Other. ! ! After briefly surveying the history of vampires and the impact of vampire

mythology on Western culture, I will turn to the literary vampire, analyzing the fiction of Stoker and Rice in terms of their readership. I will concentrate on what attracts reader to vampire narratives. Through an examination of narrative techniques I will show how each author incites the reader to identify with the vampire--a technique that, while not always obvious, is part of the pleasure of reading. Finally, I will investigate the manner in which the "Other" appears in the text through sexuality and gender, the two most intriguing and significant facets of otherness in the fiction in question.!

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I. Unearthing the Vampire: Historical and Critical Conventions! ! When Anne Rice published Interview with the Vampire in 1976, she startled the

literary world. Reviewers repeatedly commented on the freshness of her approach, and readers delighted in the new dimensions she brought to the well worn vampire story. Rice's human characters, unless they are the unfortunate victims, concern themselves with becoming vampires rather than destroying them. Unlike Stoker's bloodless and heartless demons, Rice's vampires ponder the evil that they may or may  not embody, and philosophically examine their modes of existence. These new-age, postmodern vampires defy conventional expectations. ! ! But what are those expectations and whence do they derive? To some extent,

everybody knows something about vampires. Owing to the popularity of Dracula, even if we have never read about vampires or seen films about them, we have been infected with some knowledge of the lore:  we know their fearful reaction to crosses, their intolerance to sunlight, their incredible power, and their defining trait--an undying craving for human blood. But within these parameters, vampires exist on continuums between life and death, male and female, reality and fantasy, fiction and culture. Our responses to vampires, therefore, occupy shifting ground as well, somewhere on the continuum between horror (because they kill in a disturbingly seductive manner) and fascination (because they are immortal, engaging, and powerful).! ! Despite the inherent life-threatening characteristics of vampires, both fictional

characters and actual readers respond to them with fascination. Ken Gelder, author of Reading the Vampire, notes that many who have written on the subject of vampires find unflagging interest in these creatures among even those who never before conveyed

their enthusiasm. He attributes this interest to the way in which vampires challenge our belief systems:! ! . . . [vampires] evoke a response that is not entirely "rational"--a response that ! may sit somewhere between disbelief and, in fact, a suspension of disbelief.  ! Vampires are both textual and extra-textual creatures; one can even "know" ! about them (and "irrationally" wish to know more about them) without actually ! reading vampire fiction or watching vampire films. In this sense, they are "in" ! culture. . . . (x)!

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Vampires are not just "in" official culture in the nineties, they are in fashion, and appear everywhere in popular culture. Candace R Benefiel, a Senior Humanities Reference Librarian, quips in her article "Fangs for the Memories:  Vampires in the Nineties" that "Anyone who doubts the current popularity of the vampire in print and on the screen has not spent enough time in the dark" (35). In the United States, for instance, the vampire icon is the center of advertisement campaigns for everything from "Count Chocula" cereal to Circle K convenience stores. There are vampire comic books, fan clubs, and innumerable vampire films at the video store. Even the information highway shows evidence of this vampire craze. Cruising the net, one finds numerous chat boards and on-line magazines devoted, with varying degrees of skill, to the subject of vampires.3!
 

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Vampires are a cultural reality, yet one might "irrationally" wonder if they are a

factual, fleshly reality. The success of the recent spate of realistic vampire novels by Rice and others perhaps owes something to the number of people who believe (or claim to

Chat groups abound, but Alsirate and The Interno are a few examples. There are sites for role-playing , for writing fiction, and sites where fans can banter about their favorite authors and vampire fiction.!
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believe) that vampires are real creatures. 4When I asked a participant in a vampire "chat
 

room" if he/she believed in vampires, the response was, "Dear, I am a vampire."! ! Rice's Vampire Chronicles have given the vampire a new market force. Not only

has Rice given impetus to the current vampire mania, she has dramatically changed the face of vampire fiction, and the face of the vampire itself. Rice has "left her permanent mark on an American cultural icon . . . she was among the first to ditch the moldy crypts, the garlic, the quasi-Catholic claptrap that threatened to make vampires merely quaint and icky" (Kendrick 55). In keeping with Stoker, most of Rice's vampires are humanoid and aristocratic, while her departures are what give her fiction their current market value. Rice capitalized on the fact that vampires can change throughout and with the times.! ! With this recent surge of interest in vampires, it is perhaps easy to forget that

vampirism has had a long and rich mythological, cultural, and literary tradition. Many of the Romantics incorporated into their works the image of the vampire that had long been prevalent in folklore. James B. Twitchell lists a dizzying array of literary representations of the vampire:! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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[T]he vampire was variously used to personify the forces of ! maternal attraction/repulsion (Coleridge's Christabel), ! incest (Byron's Manfred), oppressive paternalism (Shelley's ! Cenci), adolescent love (Keats's Porphyro), avaricious love ! (Poe's Morella and Berenice), the struggle for power (E. Bronte's ! Heathcliff), sexual suppression (C. Bronte's Bertha Rochester), ! homosexual ! attraction (LeFanu's Carmilla), repressed sexuality ! (Stoker's Dracula), female !domination (D.H. Lawrence's ! Brangwen women), and, most Romantic of all, the artist !

Stephen King's highly acclaimed 1975 thriller Salem's Lot deliberately retold Stoker's Dracula, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Poppy Z. Brite, Brian Lumley, Kim Newman, and Roderick Anscombe, and Suzy McKee Charnas are among the most recent authors of successful vampire tales.

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himself exchanging energy with aspects of his art ! (Coleridge's "Ancient Mariner", Poe's artist in The Oval ! Portrait, Wordsworth's "Leech Gatherer", Wilde's Dorian ! Gray, and the narrator of James's The Sacred Fount). (4-5)!

Vampire fiction was not simply a horrific tale to provide the reader with a thrill. The vampire tale was the vehicle for exploring issues that would be too disturbing if placed in the context of human/human relations.!  ! Scholars who have studied the myth of the vampire in literature and in folklore

find that vampire mythology is rooted in differing traditions. Every culture and every period has had its vampire lore, with various differences converging on certain similarities. Twitchell nicely summarizes some of this history of the "truly ancient" vampire:! ! Devendra P. Varma has traced him into the Himalayas, where, Varma contends,

the proto-vampire first proliferated through a host of different guises: the "Kali" or blood-drinking mother goddess; the "Yama" or the Tibetan lord of Death; the Mongolian God of Time afloat on a an ocean of blood. From these highlands the vampire descended into the low countries, carried in the myths of the Huns and the Magyars into Eastern Europe, then into Greece, and finally into the Arabian and african cultures.    (7)! ! No matter where it travelled the vampire myth described a fearsome

bloodsucking creature. Stoker most likely was aware of some of the vampire folklore that led to the tradition of the Western vampire of the Romantics. He was intrigued by the occult, as well as mythologies that hark back to pagan civilizations. During the course of Stoker's research he studied "the historical Dracula", Vlad Tepes, Prince of Walachia "who signed his name as Dracula in several letters (meaning son of Dracul 'the

Dragon,' referring to his father, Vlad Dracul)" (Treptow 7). Moreover, Dracul means both dragon and evil in Romanian. In the process of protecting his country, Romania, from Turkish overthrow, Vlad Dracul was renamed as Vlad the Impaler for notoriously impaling his enemies in the 15th century (McNally and Florescu, Complete 3). Belford notes that Stoker's Irish heritage offered its own version of the vampire: "The Dearg-due (the red bloodsucker) was said to tempt men with her beauty and then suck their blood. Irish fairies were bloodless, feared by children as bogeymen who would abduct them for their blood" (64). 5 According to Radu Florescu and Raymond McNally, it was this mythological, historical, and literary tradition that gave Bram Stoker the background for Dracula. From their research and study of Stoker's notes, these modern scholars argue that he was aware not only of the meaning of Dracul, but also much of the history behind Vlad the Impaler's reign.! ! Stoker created Dracula over the course of six years and from a patchwork of

different sources. 6 The cut and paste writing process Stoker typically used perhaps!

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5 Barbara Belford's fine biography of Stoker is not only the most recent, but also the most informative and interesting biography on Stoker to date.! 6 Although Stoker did employ his usual patchwork style in the pulling together of sources for Dracula, he thoroughly researched this novel, unlike his other works. Belford finds this "obsessional, not to say, unusual," for him, concluding that "This was the only novel he took within himself" (260).!

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accounts for the unpopularity of most of his works -- their poor plotting, unclear structures, and cliched treatment of subject matter. A novel like Dracula, however, may have required just such a patchwork because of the complexities of its subject; but that complexity may also account for the lasting appeal of the tale. Carol A. Senf attributes the novel's success to Stoker's ability to make it "[mean] different things to different people" (quoted in Johnson 20). A "horror" novel in some respects, it nevertheless provides readers with more than thrilling climaxes. Though written in the Victorian period, the novel is Gothic in nature. Judith Halberstam writes:! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Gothic...may be loosely defined as the rhetorical style and ! narrative structure designed to produce fear and desire within ! the reader. The production of fear in a literary text...emanates ! from a vertiginous excess of meaning. Gothic, in a way, refers ! to an ornamental excess...a rhetorical extravagance that produces, ! quite simply, too much. Within Gothic novels, I argue, multiple ! interpretations are embedded in the text and part of the experience ! of horror comes from the realization that meaning itself runs riot.  ! Gothic novels produce a symbol for this interpretive mayhem in ! the body of the monster. (2)!

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It seems odd that stoker would write such a novel well after the heyday of Gothic literature, but perhaps the Gothic worked best for his needs. It certainly seems to meet the needs of its readers. The many sides of the Count, and the latent, yet obvious, sexual issues contribute to the phenomenon that widely varied readers respond powerfully to Stoker's vampire. Disempowered readers respond to the power the vampire possess; sexually repressed readers respond to the sexuality of the vampire; lower class readers respond to the demise of an aristocratic tyrant; the xenophobic reader rejoices in the

extermination the vampire who would colonize the "mainland"; the religious reader is thrilled to see the power of their symbols in the destruction of !

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the vampire. All of them, however, position Dracula in opposition to a norm in some way; that is, the vampire is always on the boundaries of normative society. These responses to the tale have been amply explored in the critical literature but do not come to bear on my discussion.7 All of them, however, position Dracula in opposition to a norm in some way; that is the vampire is always on the boundaries of normative society. I will concentrate on this otherness, and on the sexual and gender issues of otherness that I believe are the most significant contributor to the lasting nature of not only the book but the myth itself.!

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II. Raising Yourself From the Dead: The Unacknowledged Other Within!  ! Vampires threaten humanity physically, sexually, and socially. In so doing, they

are positioned in opposition to humanity and labeled "evil." Burton Hatlen nicely summarizes Frederic Jameson's concept of how the Other in society becomes identified with evil:!

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     It is becoming increasingly clear that the concept of evil is at one with the category of Otherness itself:  ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Evil characterizes whatever is radically different from me.  ! Whatever by virtue of precisely that difference seems to constitute ! very real and urgent threat to my existence. So from earliest ! times, the stranger from another tribe, the "barbarian" who ! speaks in an comprehensive language and follows "outlandish" ! customs, or, in our own day, the avenger of cumulated resentments ! from some oppressed class, or else that alien being -- Jew o[r] ! Communist -- behind whose apparently human features an ! intelligence of a malignant and preternatural superiority is ! thought to lurk -- these are some of the figures in which the ! fundamental identity of the representative of Evil and the ! Other are [sic] visible. The point, however, is not that in such ! figures the Other is feared because he is evil; rather he is evil ! because he is Other, alien, different, strange, unclean, and ! unfamiliar. (120)!

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7 There are quite a number of excellent treatments of some of the facets of otherness I mention: see, for instance, Regina Gagnier on the complexities of Victorians' relationship with sexuality, Rhys Garnett on British Imperialism in Dracula, Jennifer Wicke on the importance of modern technology employed by the characters in Dracula, Mark Seltzer on the relationship between vampirism and the rise of serial killing at the turn of the century, Cannon Schmitt on nationalism and xenophobia in the same period, Jeffrey Spear on Dracula's gender politics and idealization of motherhood, Michelle Masse on women's relationship to masochism, Alan Johnson on biting and neckbreaking as an allegory of Victorian rebellion, and Nina Auerbach on Dracula as a profeminist drama. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but merely a selection of

particularly interesting examples that show the extent of the critical work done on Dracula.! ! Vampires are "evil," therefore, because they are Other, and pose a serious threat

to the established order. What makes vampires especially compelling, I would argue, is that these evil others reside within each of us and we recognize our complicity in their evil.!  ! One reason we cannot let the vampire die is that vampires are figuratively a part

of each of us. Viewed from both a Jungian and a Freudian perspective, the vampire is psychologically intertwined with us. Carl Jung posits that in the process of individuation, each person must confront the archetypes of the collective unconscious, both good and evil, and assimilate them. He defines the three archetypes of the unconscious as the shadow, the anima, and the animus. The shadow is the archetype that informs the discussion of vampires.! ! According to Jung, a shadow is "a moral problem that challenges the whole ego

personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort". To take part in the process of individuation, acquire self-knowledge, and become conscious of the shadow, one must recognize the reality of the dark aspects of one's personality.  (McDonald 133)! ! Beth E. McDonald explains that once these archetypes are "modified and become

a part of tribal lore, they are no longer a part of the unconscious; they have been formulated to become outward symbols of the inner workings of the mind" (133). The trickster figure, which evolved out of this process of individuation, represents that seemingly evil part of our psyche that we must confront and assimilate. Vampires

are one of the many incarnations of this same trickster, an image carried over from humanity's earliest beginnings. In this way, vampires can represent to every age the dark side of the human psyche.! ! In Freud's terms, confronting one's own dark side is what constitutes the

"uncanny" in literature. In his essay on this theme Freud defines the uncanny as "that class of the frightening which leads back to what is known of old and long familiar" (340). The vampire arouses fear because it emanates from a part of ourselves that has been unconscious and is now exposed. When we confront the vampire, we confront aspects of our psyche that we found too dark and unacceptable to deal with directly.!  ! Vampires, then, are not monsters altogether separate from humans. Vampires

are part of the continuum of human desire, a disturbing spot without boundaries, without clear distinctions. The vampire goes where we go not, they dare what we dare not, and in this way they are both thrilling and threatening. They are what humans desire to be, yet must not be. At the end of Stoker's novel, Dracula is restored to dust, but somehow the threat he represents is not gone. As Gregory A. Waller puts it, "The disease continues . . . the vampire lives" (3). Waller points to a crucial paradox about humanity's relation to the vampires. "The undead," he argues, "must be understood in the context of the living, even when such monstrous creatures seem to be the antithesis of what we deem to be human" (5).!  ! The Other in human society is beyond the pale, blurring the borders of acceptable

behavior. The notion of acceptable in society embodies values, morals, and identities compiled by those who always deem themselves acceptable. The acceptability of these

notions repeatedly goes through permutations, and the barriers shift. In the Western culture that concerns as here, the morality that originated with the strictures and prejudices of patriarchy and Christian religion remains intact though the dominance of the traditional establishment erodes.! ! Vampires make excellent representatives of the Other in society, because they

occupy so many specific behaviors that fall outside the norm. The vampire is sexually ambiguous, and so can represent the Other to both male and female readers. Removed from the everyday life of most humans, it must sleep during the day and go about its business at night. They undermine not only human life, but also the values which society tries to instill in each member of the community. The vampire in literature must negotiate this paradoxical realm of the me/not me as the reader attempts to come to terms with the Other within. This assimilation of humanity's dark side in the text of Dracula is attempted through the destruction of the vampire, while in the Vampire Chronicles it is carried out through an examination of the vampire's unique position in society.!

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III. Evil Is a Point of View: Narrative Technique in Bram Stoker's Dracula and Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles! ! To understand how the vampire changes from Stoker to Rice and touches

different audiences, we must look at how the fiction about vampires delivers satisfaction to the reader. To observe how the vampire functions in literature, I will look closely at how each author positions the reader in relations to the narrative. Although they utilize different writing styles and different narrative perspectives, both Stoker and Rice invite

their readers to a certain point of involvement in the text. The narrative style of each author directs the journey that readers will take once they elect to read a vampire narrative. Richard Dyer characterizes the reader's experience this way:! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! On the one hand, much of the suspense of the story is about ! "finding out". . . . However, it is probably the case that one ! seldom reads a vampire story without knowing that that is what ! it is . . . Rather what we enjoy is knowing that plagues, fatigues, ! scratches and holes spell vampire, and the suspense that that ! affords us:  when will [the victim] find out what we already know ! and will it be in time. . . ? A special inflection here lies in the ! use of first person narrators, so that all we get is the narrator's ! perceptions and yet we know, as old hands at the genre, what ! those perceptions mean. So the sense of menace, as the narrator ! rubs shoulders with the person we know is a vampire, is greater ! for us than her/him -- we know better. (59)!

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Stoker sets up his narrative in order to engage the reader's sympathy for the victims of the vampire. He manipulates our sympathies and expects us to hate and to want to kill the vampire. Rice lets the vampires have their own say, creating a sympathetic vampire, one more closely related to its pre-vampiric self. The vampire's former self was human, and therefore the reader is drawn into a certain kinship with him -- or at least an understanding.! ! In Dracula, Stoker employs "actual" documents contributed by various

characters. These include diaries, journals, and newspaper clippings. The novel begins with Jonathan involvement journal. He makes entries as he travels from England to Transylvania, and it is through his journal that the reader is introduced to Count Dracula and the female vampires in Dracula's castle. Harker realizes that he is trapped in the castle with all its horrors, and finds solace in writing down his troubles. He feels that he will more easily differentiate imaginings from reality through the entries of his

journal. Additional documents include Mina's letters to Lucy, Lucy's letters to Mina, clippings from newspapers, various notes and memos, Dr. Seward's phonograph! records about Reinfield and relevant events, and Van Helsing's journal. The technique of erasing the authorial voice distances the author from complicity with the events of the novel. In effect, Stoker's voice is negligible to the reader, who is absorbed in the diaries and journals of the characters. Readers become more involved when the document they read is a personal diary, just as the human characters bond quickly as they read each other's diaries.!  ! Mina takes all these documents and collates them to form a chronological

narrative. It is of interest why Mina would be the one chosen to organize the evidence. Perhaps her name is a clue. If pronounced with a long I -- as in the mimicking myna bird (also spelled mina) -- the suggestion would be that she will repeat the documents, in ape-recorder fashion, reliably and precisely. If pronounced with a short I -- as in minimum -- then perhaps she is viewed as one with minimal influence, who will give little personal interpretation during the process of typing and collating documents. With either interpretation, the veracity of the text appears to be thus solidified: the text speaks for itself through "factual" documentation, not through conscious editorial crafting. !  ! Stoker's apparent use of factual documents is an attempt to lure the reader into

suspending possible disbelief. Stoker begins his novel with a claim for its accuracy. From the outset, we enter a world that the author wishes us to believe in:!  ! How these papers have been placed in sequence will be made manifest in the

reading of them. All needless matters have been eliminated, so that a history almost at

variance with the possibilities of later-day belief may stand forth as  simple fact. There is throughout no statement of past things wherein memory may err, for all the records chosen are exactly contemporary, given from the standpoints and within the range! of knowledge of those who make them.  (Stoker xxiv)8! ! The reader should automatically suspect a text that claims no possibility of error;

event he perspective of the contributors is claimed to be infallible. Yet as the novel progresses, the narrative conventions of journal entries and newspaper clippings encourage belief. The initial claim of accuracy, in conjunction with pseudodocumentation, creates a tension between belief and disbelief.!  ! To complement the documentary for of his narrative, Stoker includes many

details drawn from real life. He used real train schedules and worked out a chronology of events which is, as McNally and Florescu claim, "functionally almost impeccable" (Essential 49). Florescu and McNally discuss the play between reality and illusion, belief and disbelief in reference to the power of narrative voice.! ! The notes reveal that he took enormous pains to make certain that the facts in

this book were correct. . . . The places described do exist. Stoker was obviously trying to create an atmosphere of reality to the story of Dracula. Why? In order to make the vampire seem real too. If one can believe that the details are correct, why not believe in the Count by the time he appears in the novel? Thus, the entire opening passages stress reality, so that by the time the Count first climbs head-first down the side of his castle wall like a lizard, the reader has been so lulled into belief in the tale's authenticity that he accepts the vampire's actions as part of that Transylvanian reality.  (Essential 18)!

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Stoker brings his readers into the text by offering surroundings that we can accept as real. Our defenses against the reality of the monster are lowered once we accept the world that surrounds the vampire. Stoker creates a credible background for the unbelievable vampire creature.  !

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8 Due to the popularity of Dracula, almost every publishing house offers its own edition. The most scholarly edition thus far, edited by Leonard Wolf, offers thorough annotations, a filmography, and a bibliography. It does not claim to be the definitive edition, most likely because there have been no problems with the text thus far. The first publication of Dracula appeared in Stoker's lifetime, and his slavery to detail has been well established by Belford, suggesting he most likely presided over publication to ensure its proper completion.! ! Nevertheless, readers are not invited os far into the text that they are allowed to

gain any information about the vampire from the vampire himself. Carol A. Senf points to his interpretive problem:! ! ! ! ! ! ! The difficulty in interpreting Dracula's character is compounded ! by the narrative technique, for the reader quickly recognizes that ! Dracula is never seen objectively and never permitted to speak ! for himself while his actions are recorded by people who have ! determined to destroy him and who, moreover, repeatedly question ! the sanity of their quest. (95)!

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The fact that the other characters continually report on Dracula, his actions and his motivations, colors our interpretation of him. The text, therefore, invites readers to

believe not only in the plot and the vampire, but also in what vampire opponents report. In this way, Dracula is the definitive outsider; he is always talked abut and speculated upon, but never allowed to give his own story. ! ! Because Stoker's readers are given no direct access to the character of Dracula,

they are encouraged to identify with his victims, with whom they share a common humanity. Moreover, out alliance with the humans enables us to cheer them on in their quest to destroy the vampire.9 This tendency fits nicely with the Victorian need to believe that man can overcome evil, even as their world was casting doubt on the triumph of good. Contemporary life, however, is imbued with a cynicism that does not require the triumph of good. Rice appropriately weaves a narrative that has no conclusive conclusions, no completely evil vampires, and no completely innocent victims. !

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_______! 9 Though Stoker's narrative technique seems to set Dracula in utter opposition to the humans who participate in shaping the narrative, I will later show how easily the human and the monstrous collapse into one another. The novel's characters themselves display occasional ambivalence in relation to Dracula; after all, they invite Dracula into their rooms, and seem unable - often even unwilling - to resist him.! ! While Stoker's narrative consists solely of human victims' accounts, Rice's

narratives rely on first person narrators who are themselves vampires. In this way, Rice brings her modern readers into closer proximity to the vampire/the Other. As in Dracula, readers are drawn in by the seeming "truth" of the vampire story. The first

novel in the Vampire Chronicles, Interview with the Vampire, uses the narrative framework of a young reporter who interviews the vampire Louis. The veracity of Rice's text is heightened by our notions of journalistic truth: documents written by a journalist in good faith must be true. At an early point in the interview, the reporter states:!  ! "This really happened, didn't it?" the boy whispered.  "You're telling me

something . . . that's true."!  ! "Yes," said the vampire, looking at him without surprise. (13)!

The vampire's matter-of-fact statements lull us into a state of belief as readily as Stoker's putative documents did.! ! Rice's choice of the vampire as narrator has consequences for the novel's

trajectory. Because Stoker's narrative is given from the victim's point of view, the plot centers on the act of ridding society of the vampire. Vampire tales, Richard Dyer explains, normally have two-part structures: "the first leading up to the discovery of the vampire's hidden nature, the second concerned with his/her destruction" (58). This cleansing of society is the main ingredient absent from Rice's narrative. By acquainting the readers with the vampire in the first person, Rice transforms him into a human through our own sensibilities. We must attempt to assimilate the vampire in our own terms. In this way, Rice suggests that the vampire and the human actually share common ground. She facilitates this recognition by equipping her vampires with just enough human attributes to allow us to empathize with them.! ! Rice always offers her readers a life history of her key vampires, filling out a

complete picture of their personalities before they became undead. She gives her readers quite a long history of both Louis and Lestat before they were made into vampires.

 Readers see the specific troubles and difficulties associated with being not only a vampire, but also a human. Her vampires are still Other, but they invite sympathy because they have certain human attributes--principally the longing for love and connection. They want to connect with other individuals and link up with what is still human in themselves. That is the "reason" the books are written. The various vampire narrators want to tell their story once and for all, make themselves known to humanity, and explicate the moral dilemmas they face. Louis, for instance, expresses the agony of his condition in just these terms:! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Never since I was a human being had I felt such mental pain . . . ! I knew peace only when I killed, only for that minute; and there ! was no question in my mind that the killing of anything less than ! a human being brought nothing but a vague longing, the discontent ! which had brought me close to humans, to watch their lives ! through glass. I was no vampire. And in my pain, I asked ! irrationally, like a child, Could I not return? Could I not be ! human again? Even as the blood of that girl was warm in me ! and I felt that physical thrill and strength, I asked that question.  ! The faces of humans passed me like candle flames in the night ! dancing on dark waves. I was sinking into darkness. I was weary ! of longing.  (Interview 97)!

!

Louis protests his own nature saying, "I was no vampire." He seems to believe that if he were a vampire in the true sense of the word, he would not feel human emotion.  Excruciating longing, however, characterizes all Rice's figures. They seem to be forever searching for love and acceptance, whether it be from humans or other vampires.! ! Part of these vampires' difficulties with immortality is that although they span the

ages and populate the globe, they are frozen at the point in time they were made into vampires. They hold onto not only the traits and values of their own time period -- as do humans -- but will forever look the same and be the same without option. While humans

may live to ripe old ages, they usually retain the essential values, morals, and world views of their youth. An elderly person today may have a difficult time understanding the "computer age" even resent and reject it, feeling rejected by such a foreign world.  Yet, within limits, human have the option of keeping up with the times, the option to change. It comes as quite a shock, therefore, when the vampires discover that they are going to be forever as they were when they were made. Gabrielle, upon being made into a vampire by her son Lestat, cuts her hair but when she awakes finds that it has all grown back. The unreasonableness of her reaction shows that she realizes that she is forever unchangeable:! ! Then suddenly she made a low hissing sound, and her body went rigid.  She was

holding her long tresses and staring at them. !      "My God," she whispered.  And then, in a spasm, she let go of her hair and screamed . . . !      "Stop it, stop in now!" I shouted louder, her body shaking so violently I could hardly keep her in my arms. "It's grown back, that's all!" I insisted. "It's natural to you, don't you see? It's nothing!" . . . ! (Lestat 199-201)! The fact that Gabrielle will forever have long hair is a physical manifestation of her complete stasis. Similarly, Rice's vampires will always maintain the world view that colored their lives as humans. They take whatever beliefs they held in life to the furthest extent imaginable in their undead life. If, they believed in God as humans then they want to find out if their vampire nature makes them damned creatures. If they were

brought up in a godless time, then notions of sin and evil do not influence their conscience. ! ! The situation is illustrated in The Vampire Lestat, as Lestat attempts to deal!

with Armand, leader of a coven of vampires who live in a Paris cemetery. These vampires say they are children of Satan, and think they will spontaneously combust upon entering a church. After Lestat argues with Armand to no avail, he suddenly recognizes the immutability of the latter's world view.!  ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! And I realized quite clearly what he was -- not demon or angel ! at all, but a sensibility forged in a dark time when the small ! orb of the sun traveled the dome of the heavens, and the stars ! were no more than tiny lanterns describing gods and goddesses ! upon a closed night. A time when man was the centre of this ! great world in which we roam, a time when for every question ! there had been an answer. That was what he was, a child of ! olden days when witches had danced beneath the moon and ! knights had battled dragons.  (249)!

!

Hoping to bring Armand to understand that his old superstitions have no bearing or meaning in the world anymore, Lestat attempts to explain the changes. He points to the alterations of religious beliefs, the waning of superstition, and the rise of scientific philosophy. "How many men in this age believe in the crosses that frighten your followers?" he asks Armand. "Do you think mortals above are speaking to each other of heaven and hell? Philosophy is what they talk about, and science! What does it matter to them if white-faced haunts prowl a churchyard after dark?" (249-250) Armand becomes an anachronism. While Gabrielle experienced shock over a physical manifestation of vampire stasis, Armand finds himself to be misplaced in time. We sympathize with such vampires who must watch in agony as he world and the value systems they knew and understood pass away before their eyes.!

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As Rice allows the vampires to explain the troubles, heartbreaks, and obstacles to which their peculiar situation gives rise, readers see more clearly what it is to be the Other in society. Vampires are able to mix with human society, always aware of the danger that someone will discover their secret, but more so that they will come to love that which they can never be again. Vampires can mingle, but they can never be accepted by human society. All they can do is watch from the margins.!      The first person narrative pulls the reader into the pain and the longing, but also into the wonder and ecstasy of their immortality. Catherine Belsey explains that, "it is not much that the reader is now invited to endorse the vampire, identity with it, fill it with imagined presence, as that we glimpse what it would be like to occupy a space which cannot exist" (89). I would go further than Belsey in this regard: the position of the vampire as narrator invites the reader not simply to "glimpse what it would be like to occupy a space which cannot exist." Rather, the vampire's story is so compelling that Rice leaves her readers no other characters with whom to identify. The human characters are easily and swiftly discarded, unlike the powerful, beautiful creatures who live forever. The text invites readers to consider whether, given the opportunity, they would exchange mortality for immortality. This is precisely what happens at the end of Interview with the Vampire. The cub reporter refuses to accept the anguish of Louis's story, preferring to focus instead on the power he commands. He views Louis's tragedy as "an adventure like I'll never know in my whole life!" Ignoring the pain of Louis's story, he exclaims:  "'Give it to me! . . . Make me a vampire now!'" (365). The human interviewer, who has "heard" the same story that the reader has read, begs to be made

into a vampire, to be given "the power to see and feel and live forever." He does not seem concerned that he will have to kill humans for the rest of his vampire life.!

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     The ambivalence that exists for the reader in relation to vampires in Rice's text is not so pronounced in Stoker's Dracula. In Rice, the reader knows that vampires must kill humans to live, yet the reader is caught up in the otherness of the vampire, and feels sympathy. Conversely, SToker draws out the otherness of Dracula to incite fear and anger. Otherness, then, is the constant hook for readers. But it can take many forms.!

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IV. The inconstant Constant: Varieties of Otherness!

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While the reader's position in relation to the otherness of the vampire varies according to the narrative technique used by the author, that otherness can be constituted in many ways, as I shall show. Yet however much we separate the vampire from the human, these divisions inevitably collapse. The vampire narrative forces us to consider how far we are from becoming that which we deem to be monstrous. Waller puts it this way: "the distance--literally and figuratively--between the normal and the monstrous collapses-collapses just as easily, we could say, as the distance between life and death" (17). The vampire figure makes as much a mockery of the "distance between life and death" as between the "me" and the "not me".!

!
     Bram Stoker created in Count Dracula the quintessential Other for Western readers.  Dracula is not from the West, he jeopardizes the virginal goodness of women, and true

to his vampire nature, he does not respect the sanctity of human life. To begin with, Dracula is from a strange and distant Eastern land, Transylvania. Jonathan Harker, who is sent as clerk to Dracula's Castle finds that "the district [Count Dracula] named is in the extreme east of the country, just on the borders of three states, Transylvania, Moldavia and Bukovina, in the midst of the Carpathian mountains; one of the wildest and least known portions of Europe" (3). Dracula lives in a sort of no-man's land, not belonging to any particular nation, and not fully "known" by anyone. The land is distant, the people have strange customs, the place seems strange and uncanny to Jonathan.!      Dracula knows that his origins will make him an alien, and he wants to learn the ways of English society.  He explains this to Harker:!

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     "Well I know that, did I move and speak in your London, none there are who would not know me for a stranger. That is not enough for me. Here I am noble; I am boyar; the common people know me and I am master. But a stranger in a strange land, he is no one; men know him not--and to know not is to care not for. I am content if I am like the rest, so that no man stops if he see me, or pause in his speaking if he hear my words. 'Ha, ha! a stranger!' I have been so long master of me."  (28)!

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Dracula knows the problems associated with being the Other in society. He recognizes all too well that not having mastery over the language of land puts on in the positions of being mastered. If labeled as the Other, he ca lose control over his life; once spotted as the Other, the stranger, he would arouse suspicions, thereby increasing his chances of being destroyed.!

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The thread of the Other as foreigner is two-fold: not only is Dracula foreign and far away, he wants to move into civilized London and colonize Western culture. His otherness is increasingly threatening because of its proximity, as Harker soon realizes.!

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     I stopped and looked at the Count. There was a mocking smile on the bloated face which seemed to drive me mad. This was the being I was helping to transfer to London, where, perhaps, for centuries to come he might, amongst its teeming millions, satiate his lust for blood, and create a new and ever-widening circle of semi-demons to batten on the helpless.  (67)!

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Dracula succeeded marvelously in this demon dress rehearsal. If he can appropriate the way of the Westerner then he can eradicate his foreignness on at least that account and take one step closer to being "like us." In turn, if it is so simple for Dracula to learn to act like a Westerner, let alone a human, how hard would it be for Harker to become like Dracula, a vampire? The distance between the human and the vampire/Other can seem small indeed.!

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     Dracula, and vampires in general, are not only separated from Western society culturally. They also deviate from human norms metaphysically, physically, and sexually.!

!

     Metaphysically, vampires don't fit normative models. Just as Dracula's Castle borders three states, so too the vampire borders three human states of being: the vampire is other than alive, other than dead, other than a formless spirit. The vampire is more physical than a ghost, for it has a finite physical body. The vampire is dead, yet so animate that it is surely quite alive in its own way. Yet, it is not alive in human terms, as the vampire had to die a human death in order to be resurrected as a vampire.!

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     Physically Dracula does not look quite human. He appears to be normal but there are a few disturbing oddities, as Harker notes in his journal:!

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     The mouth, so far as I could see it under the heavy mustache, was fixed and rather cruel-looking, with peculiarly sharp white teeth; these protruded over the lips, whose remarkable ruddiness showed astonishing vitality in a man of his years. For the rest, his ears were pale, and at the tops extremely pointed; the chin was broad and strong, and the cheeks firm though thin. The general effect was one of extraordinarily pallor . . . Strange to say, there were hairs in the centre of the palm. The nails were long and fine, and cut to a sharp point. As the Count leaned over me and his hands touched me, I could not repress a shudder. It may have been that his breath was rank, but a horrible feeling of nausea came over me, which do what I would, I could not conceal.  (25-26)!

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The "peculiarly sharp white teeth," the "remarkable ruddiness" of the lips, the pointed ears, the "extraordinary pallor" of his skin, hair on the palms and long pointed nails

paint a rather startling picture. All these details indicate that Dracula is not human" (16).  !

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     Dracula's very touch creates "nausea" in Harker, signaling the threatening physicality of the vampire. Robert Tracy stresses the importance of the vampire's corporeality:!

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     If the eighteenth-century Gothic novel is about psychological terror, the vampire novel is about physical, and specifically sexual, fear. The shift from ghosts to vampires indicates a reordering of the categories of fear. A ghost can only frighten or warn. It is bodiless, and the and therefore incapable of causing physical harm--though, as Horatio shrewdly suggests, it might frighten a victim into harming himself. But the vampire has a body, and therefore represents at once a physical, a supernatural or spiritual, and a sexual menace.  (33)!

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Dracula's sexuality is threatening not just because of its violence but also because of its ambivalence. He only attacks women yet consistently emphasizes that he appropriates the men through the women. Who is it that he really wants? The reader is never sure.  Dracula has three "wives" in his Castle, but the reader is never sure of his relationship with them. The female vampires could have been his mother, sisters, lovers, children in human life, but now the relationships are in disarray, distorted with the vampire taint.!

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     These manifestations of otherness would seem to drive the reader away from the vampire. Once more, however, the paradoxical nature of vampirism comes into play.

 Burton Hatlen argues that vampirism is: "the embodiment of all the social forces that lurked just beyond the frontiers of Victorian middle class consciousness. Count Dracula represents, then, the repressed and the socially oppressed." It is for this reason that our response to him is so ambivalent. Halten aptly states, "When the repressed/oppressed returns, we shudder with horror, and with hunger" (120). Vampires represent "the repressed and the socially oppressed," the dark side of humanity. When the vampire surfaces, the horror is understandable, for he threatens our person and our values. But what of the hunger? How is it portrayed?!

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     The seductive nature of vampires is illustrated by the characters' responses to them.  After his confrontation with the vampire women in the castle, Harker writes in his journal: "There was something about them that made me uneasy, some longing and at the same time some deadly fear. I felt in my heart a wicked, burning desire that they would kiss me with those red lips" (51). Mina experiences this same reaction. When Dracula attacks her, she says, "I was bewildered, and, strangely enough, I did not want to hinder him" (342-43).!

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     The hunger may arise from the sexually repressed Victorian society that the characters inhabit. When faced with desires that have been repressed, the characters find their desire reasserts itself with a vengeance. "Desire is what is not said, what cannot be said," argues Catherine Belsey.  Invoking Derrida, she claims, "What is not able to be said is what presses to be given form" (76). If the problem is repression--these desires "press[ing] to be given form," lurking in the shadowy unconscious mind,

hovering around the corners of the text of Dracula--the vampire myth helps bring those desires up into the light and fulfills them directly, if momentarily.!

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Anne Rice's vampires are separated from Western society in much the same way as Stoker's Dracula.  Rice deemphasizes ethnic foreignness and lets her vampires transcend nationhood; her vampires are not depicted as the Other from a strange land, but they do become strangers in a strange time.  They travel the continents, but more importantly, they travel the centuries.  Rice's vampires are Other in time, living hundreds of years, and most often, becoming anachronisms like Armand.!

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     Like Stoker's Dracula, Rice's creatures betray their otherness in their physical features, with a frighteningly unearthly look.  The human interviewer in Interview with the Vampire has the following reaction to his first glimpse of the vampire:!

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. . . the boy, staring up at the vampire, could not repress a gasp . . . "Dear God!" he whispered, and then he gazed, speechless, at the vampire.!      The vampire was utterly white and smooth, as if he were sculpted from bleached bone, and his face was as seemingly inanimate as a statue, except for two brilliant green eyes that looked down at the boy intently like flames in a skull.  But then the vampire smiled almost wistfully, and the smooth white substance of his face moved with the infinitely flexible but minimal lines of a cartoon. (6)!

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They have a few other physical anomalies, such a translucent fingernails and odd movements if not controlled, but if the vampires have fed, their faces resume a warm, almost human hue.!

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     But he overriding aspect of the vampire in Rice is that of beauty, not horror.  In Interview with the Vampire, Louis, the interviewee of the title, describes how the vampire Lestat looked to the human eye.  His comely aspect can be compared to the terrifying specter of Dracula.  Dracula's "general effect was one of extraordinary pallor" while Lestat's "gray eyes burned with an incandescence" (17).  Harker responded to Dracula with nausea, while Louis experiences Lestat's touch with "the pleasure of passion" (23).  Louis says, "The moment I saw him, saw his extraordinary aura and knew him to be no creature I'd ever known, I was reduced to nothing" (17).  He goes on to say that to look at Lestat was "to be spellbound by the sheer beauty of his appearance" (20).!

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     Rice's vampires deviate from human norms sexually, as does Dracula.  In Interview Louis explains one particular act of vampirism, in which the victim lived in the vampire Armand's home as a kind of slave.!

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     ...through the gloom and I saw that mortal boy watching me, and I smelled the hot aroma of his flesh.  The vampire's facile hand beckoned him, and he came towards me, his eyes fearless and exciting, and he drew up to me in the candlelight and put his arms around my shoulders.!

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     "Never had I felt this, never had I experienced it, this yielding of a conscious mortal.   But before I could push him away for this own sake, I saw the bluish bruise on his tender neck.  He was offering it to me.  He was pressing the length of his body against me now, and I felt the hard strength of his sex beneath his clothes pressing against my leg.  A wretched gasp escaped my lips, but he bent close, his lips on what must have been so cold, so lifeless for his; and I sank my teeth into his skin . . . . Wave after wave of his beating heart passed into me as, weightless, I rocked with him, devouring him, his ecstasy, his conscious pleasure.   (248)!

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The boy in this scene is and has enjoyed satiating the blood lust.  He is seduced by the beauty, luminescence, and sensuality of Louis.  While Stoker's humans appear to dislike the vampire attacks and Rice's languish in it, either response positions the vampire's behavior as deviant, as Other.!

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Rice and Stoker's narratives bring readers into either the victim's or the vampire's story, yet each gives the readers perspective on how the vampire is the Other.  Though on is not struck by the foreignness of Rice's vampires, they will remain Other, like Dracula, because of their nature as predators of humans, their physical difference, and their extremely ambivalent sexuality.  They are predators who kill with little mercy, yet their vampirising has an astonishing effect on their victims and on them.  With varying degrees of emphasis, both Stoker and Rice treat the vampire as other culturally, metaphysically, physically, and sexually.  While there are innumerable ways of

positioning the vampire, I agree with Richard Dyer that "the sexual symbolism of the vampire does seem the most obvious, and many of the other meanings are articulated through the sexual meanings" (54).  I will devote the rest of my discussion to a detailed analysis of sexuality and gender in vampire narratives, focussing on the ways in which viewing vampires as sexually other serves the needs of a wide range of readers.!

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V. That Man is Mine: Homoeroticism and Subterfuge!

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If we examine the details of vampirism, it is not too difficult to see the presence of sexuality.  Dyer notes that:!

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Biting itself is after all, part of the repertoire of sexual acts; call it a kiss, and, when it is as deep a kiss as this, it is a sexual act; it is then by extension obviously analogous to other forms of oral sex acts, all of which (fellatio, cunnilingus, rimming) importantly involve contact not only with orifices but with body fluids as well.  (54-55)!

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It is not too great an interpretive leap to view the attack of the vampire in terms of a sexual encounter.  As Dyer continues, "Even when the writing does not seem to emphasize the sexual, the act itself is so like a sexual act that i seems almost perverse not to see it as one" (35).!

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Not only does the specific act encourage sexual reading, so too does the space that the vampire typically inhabits.  The vampire enacts his defining act in dark and private

places--typically the bedroom--while alone with the object of his attention.  This symbolic space constitutes the realm where Foucault contends we are most ourselves.  Humans are most susceptible to the vampire when they are most themselves.  When society is not in full control of their actions, these publicly respectable humans are able to give in to thoughts and desires that they would not normally let themselves entertain.!

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     Therefore as we read about specific acts of vampirism we are viewing what we should not view--someone else's sexual experience.  Dyer sees voyeurism as!

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[the] central narrative device in the vampire story; it is the means by which the hero discovers the vampirism of the vampire and the sensation lies not only in the lurid descriptions of fangs dripping with blood and swooning victims their clothes all awry, but also in that sense of violating a moment of private physical consummation, violating its privacy by looking at it. (57)!

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The violation of privacy which Dyer mentions is seen in particular clarity in a passage in Interview with the Vampire.  Louis had been living solely on animals in order to avoid killing humans, for his conscience deeply affected him even as a vampire.  Nonetheless one evening Louis succumbs to his vampiric desire for human blood and attacks a young girl.  At this point Louis sees a familiar silhouette in the window:  "It was Lestat, who backed away from it now laughing, his body bent as he danced in the muddy street. 'Louis, Louis,' he taunted me, and pointed a long, bone-thin finger at me, as if to say he'd caught me in the act" (83).!

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     Louis is doubly guilty: he feels guilty about killing a human and about being caught in the act by Lestat.10  It is hard to determine whether he is more disturbed by his own actions or by their exposure.  Lestat has waited for this moment, anticipating the time when Louis would give in to his desire for human blood.  Lestat is not the only one dancing with glee at Louis's indulgence.  Even as the reader participates in Louis's act, rejoicing in his long-awaited physical fulfillment, the reader also!

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__________!

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10 We might even say that pedophilia makes him triply guilty.!

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participates in Lestat's pleasure at having caught him redhanded, so to speak.  The reader joins Lestat in experiencing the delights of voyeurism.!

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     Vampirism also poses a threat to the heterosexual relationship.  It exposes the "Other" kinds of sexuality in society by unleashing conscious or unconscious desires.  Against a normative heterosexuality--and one relatively devoid of overt signs of female sexual desire--the vampire stands as Other, whether homosexual Other or desired/ desirous female Other.  Therefore the vampire contains all of the human ambivalences about sexuality and, as an extension, gender roles.!

!

     The vampire myth readily addresses the issue of homosexuality.  First of all, although modern society is making strides towards gay rights, the social taboo surrounding homosexuality is still very strong.  An important issue for homosexuals remains whether to keep their nature to themselves or to "come out".  This is a central theme in vampire literature as well.  Indeed, it is part of the very structure of Gothic suspense, as Dyer argues:!

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Vampirism is not merely, like all our sexuality, private, it is also secret.  It is something to be hidden, to be done without anyone knowing.  There is nothing inherently gay or lesbian in the ideas of privacy, voyeurism and exhibitionism. Yet homosexual desire, like other forbidden sexual desires, may well find expression, as a matter of necessity rather than exquisite choice, in privacy and voyeurism. (57)!

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     Vampires must keep their nature a secret, just as many homosexuals must keep their sexuality secret in order to keep jobs, friends, and even family.  !

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     Both homosexuality and vampirism are the open secret of those in the know.  Dyer explains the link between the telltale physical characteristics of vampires and homosexuals, their "languid, worn, sad, refined paleness":!

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This imagery derives in part from the idea of decadence, people who do not go out into public life, whose complexions are not weathered, who are always indoors or in the shade.  It may also relate to the idea that lesbians and gay men are not "real" men, we

have not got the blood (with its very different gender associations) of normal human beings. (60)!

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The paleness of the vampire like that of the homosexual indicates someone who is unable to engage in a "public life." Both vampires and homosexuals must keep themselves in the dar, separate from the society.  Dyer points to a "vocabulary of queer spotting,"  that supposedly enables homosexuals to recognize one another, and additionally allows others to know what a homosexual looks like.  Passing among others in secret, vampires too can recognize their own kind.  We see the vocabulary of homosexuals in the vocabulary of vampires.  Louis explains, "I saw a vampire in New Orleans, a sleek white-faced young man walking alone on the broad sidewalks of St. Charles Avenue in the early hours before dawn" (Interview 348-49).  He seems to know when and where he can find his own kind, and knows the trademark "white-face" of the vampire.  Given this parallel with queer spotting, it is not surprising that gays were the ones to appropriate the literature prior to Stoker's treatment.  Richard Dyer claims that homosexuals saw that the vampire mythology could "work" for them.!

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     Though many critics believe that Stoker was probably unaware that he was using the imagery of homosexuality when he wrote a novel about vampirism, his own writings nevertheless express in code what he could not express directly.  Stoker's sexual references are, except for a few striking passages, heavily veiled, as one might expect for an author writing at the end of the Victorian era.  Christopher Bentley reminds us that there were both external and internal silences about these matters:!

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The obscenity laws, the tyranny of the circulating libraries, and the force of public opinion were, throughout the greater part of the nineteenth century, powerful constraints on any author who wrote for the general public;  but it is probably that for many writers, including Stoker himself, an even stronger reason for avoiding sexual matters was a personal reticence amounting to repression. (26)!

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 As I will show, Stoker's reticence is rooted in his own sexual inhibitions.  Rice's descriptions are more overt, as we might expect from a twentieth-century writer.  In Dracula, vampirism is described as thrilling, but gruesome.  Harker can smell "a bitter underlying the sweet, a bitter offensiveness, as one smells in blood," on the breath of the vampire women, while words like "repulsive", "churning", and animalistic complete his description (52).  In the Vampire Chronicles, on the other hand, vampirism is described with the lush language of desire and passion.  At the Theatre des Vampires in Paris, Armand kills a beautiful young woman on stage, convincing her that his kiss would make her the bride of Death, allowing her to die a young maiden, and avoid the pain of growing old.  Louis watches the scene:!

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She was languid, her nakedness forgotten, those lids fluttering, a sigh escaping her moist lips.  "No pain," she accented . . . And now, turning her slowly to the side so that they could all see her serene face, he was lifting her, her back arching as her naked breasts touched his buttons, her pale arms enfolded his neck.  She stiffened, cried out as

he sank his teeth, and her face was still as the dark theater reverberated with shared passion.  (Interview 242)!

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The vampires and their human victims experience vampirism as ecstasy not agony.!

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     What is patently explicit in Rice's work, the vampire as homosexual, is only latent in Stoker's work, but nonetheless there.  The extent of Stoker's repression of his sexuality can be seen in his relationship with Oscar Wilde, and Stoker's reaction to Wilde's imprisonment in 1895 for sodomy.!

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     Stoker and Wilde knew each other when they were both at Trinity College in Dublin in the 1870s.  They joined many of the same clubs and shared interests in the theater, literature, and art.  Yet the two men were often at odds with each other, as Stoker positioned himself as a responsible moralist while Wilde continued to fight conventions.  The rivalry came to a head in 1878 when Stoker quickly and quite secretively married Florence Balcombe, the woman whom Wilde was courting.  Stoker and Wilde managed to keep their relationship friendly, however, even after SToker's marriage to Balcombe.  They continued to move in the same circles in the London social scene, even attending parties at each other's houses.  Nonetheless, Stoker does not mention Wilde in his Personal Reminiscences (1906), a tell-all autobiography which mentions every other famous (or infamous) personality he came in contact with throughout his career at the Lyceum. theater.!

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The question is, Why would Stoker feel the need to exclude Wilde from his memoir?  I would contend it is because Stoker himself was a closeted homosexual, strongly interested in keeping closeted and wanting no evidence to the contrary.  When Wilde was imprisoned in 1895 for sodomy, the two men's relationship took a dramatic downward turn.  Stoker lobbied loudly for censorship of literature, publicly distancing himself from Wilde.  He seemed to feel that if he put himself in opposition to Wilde, he would keep his own name clean. 11!

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    Prior to Wilde's public disgrace, Stoker had had fewer scruples about being linked to homosexuals.  In 1872 the twenty-four-year-old Stoker wrote an impassioned letter to American poet Walt Whitman, then fifty-three years old.  The!

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11 According to Talia Schaffer, "Stoker's erasures can be read without much difficulty; they utilize a recognizable code that was, perhaps, designed to be broken.  In texts [such as 'The Censorship of Fiction' (1908) and 'The Censorship of Stage Plays' (1909)] patently about Wilde, Stoker crammed the gaps where Wilde's name should appear with terms like 'degeneracy,' 'reticence,' 'discretion' and references to police arrests of authors.  Dracula explores Stoker's fear and anxiety as a closeted homosexual man during Oscar Wilde's trial" (381).!

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letter (which Stoker held onto for four years before sending) began a correspondence that lasted until Whitman's death in 1892.  It disclosed many of his most private feelings:!

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I would like to call you comrade and to talk to you as men who are not poets do not often talk.  I think that at first a man would be shamed, for a man cannot in a moment break the habit of comparative reticence that has become a second nature to him, but I know I wouldn't be long ashamed to be natural before you. . . You have shaken off the shackles and your wings are free.  I have the shackles on my shoulders still--but I have not wings.  If you are going to read this letter any further I should tell you that I am not prepared to give up all else so far as words go.  (Quoted in Schaffer 382)!

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Ever since the 1860 publication of his "Calamus" poems glorifying "manly love," Whitman's name had become virtually synonymous with homosexuality to a large portion of the reading public.  As Stoker vacillates here between openness and secrecy, the letter's tone reveals a writer who desperately desires discourse on a forbidden topic.  He enjoys dancing around the topic, even as he censors himself before going too far in his exploration of it.  He is torn between his need to expose his thoughts and feelings and his need to keep his nature a secret.  Stoker echoes Whitman's language of "comradeliness" in his letter, and expresses his gratitude to Whitman for "all the love and sympathy you have given me in common with my kind" (Schaffer 323).  It is of great importance that Stoker believed that he had a "kind," that he belonged to a group separate from others in society--a group to which Whitman also belonged.!

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Stoker's love of men mingled with his love of the closet and censorship.  When Wilde went on trial for sodomy, SToker's fear increased and outweighed his pleasure in disclosure.  He became more rigid in his love of the closet or rather more convinced of the necessity of the closet.  And yet, just one month after trial ended, Stoker began to write the novel he had been preparing for over six years.  Not surprisingly, Dracula betrays its author's struggle with homosexuality.  Stoker's treatment of vampirism illustrates what it must have felt like to be a closeted homosexual in the 1890s, for Stoker seemed, consciously or unconsciously, to draw on the connection between vampirism and homosexuality.!

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     Stoker's divided emotions may be at the root of the repressed sexuality in his novel, for he seems to have conflicting emotions through its pages.  Schaffer contends that Stoker "rejuvenate[d] Wilde in the specific form of a vampire."  This form was in line with the late-nineteenth-century attitude toward homosexuals. "Turn-of-the-century 'inversion' theory considered homosexuals neither male nor female, but, in Edward Carpenter's phrase, the 'intermediate sex,' inhabiting a no-man's land like the Undead who were neither dead nor alive" (399).  Stoker's perspective is precarious if Stoker created Wild-as-vampire in order to denigrate Wilde and accuse, because at the same time Stoker knew that he himself could easily be found in a similar position and he empathized, secretly, with Wilde.  This ambivalence toward the vampire becomes apparent in the text.  Schaffer points to the recognition that almost anyone deemed

unacceptable by society could be in the position of the vampire, the Other, and similarly hunted down:!

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To homosexuals, vampirism could be an elegy for the enforced internment of their desires.  Dracula, however, functions as both accusation and elegy.  Stoker used the Wildean figure of Dracula to define homosexuality as simultaneously monstrous, dirty, threatening, alluring, buried, corrupting, contagious, and indestructible.  (399)!

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Stoker artfully creates a vampire/homosexual who is both threatening and alluring.  The first textual suggestion of the homosexuality comes when Dracula saves Harker from the vampire women in the Castle:  "Howe dare you touch him, any of you?," admonishes Dracula.  "How dare you cast eyes on him when I had forbidden it?  Back, I tell you all!  This man belongs to me!" (53).  Upon seeing that his three women were about to devour Harker, Dracula claims him for himself.  Yet he never attacks his guest and does not personally take Harker in an act of vampirism.  Yet he never attacks his guest and does not personally take Harker in an act of vampirism.  Rather, he reaches Harker by attacking Mina his wife.  Since Mina and Harker are united through their marriage it is through this route, with Mina as vehicle, that Dracula reaches Harker.  Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick has documented this pattern of the triangulation of homosocial/homosexual desire in her Between Men: English Literature and male Homosocial Desire (1985).  Sedgewick argues that the men want to bond with each other sexually, but because it is socially prohibited, they allow a woman to stand in as vehicle.  In this way they work out their frustrations at not being able to be direct about their desires.  They channel their

homosexual play for the women, but in reality they are trying to divert their feelings for each other through her.!

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Another example of the triangulation of homosexual desire in Dracula concerns the character Lucy.  As she loses blood to Dracula each night, Arthur, Van Helsing, Dr. Seward, and Quincey Morris replenish her with their own, but to no avail. "That poor pretty creature that we all love has had put into her veins within that time the blood of four strong men," says Morris.  "Man alive, her whole body wouldn't hold it. . . . What took it out?" (191-92).  The men in the novel desperately attempt to understand why Lucy loses so much blood at night.  They realize that the blood transfused from their own veins into Lucy's body has been extracted by someone or something.  Schaffer nicely summarizes exactly how a female is the link in this "between men" scenario: "Lucy has been read as the woman in whose empty veins male fluids can mingle.  As the prototypical victim of the 'between men' scenario, she gets sacrificed to promote homosocial bonding" (410).  As the site where their blood mingles, Lucy's body "promote[s] homosocial bonding" among the human males.  Moreover, she is also the vehicle for Dracula to receive fluids from the men in the story, as he sucks their blood from Lucy's body every night.!

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The sexual connotations of this mingling of fluids is brought out within the novel itself.  Van Helsing, the character who leads the men in the fight to kill Dracula, goes into a fit of hysterical laughter during Lucy's funeral, in response to a comment made by Lucy's fiance, Arthur:!

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When it was all over, we were standing beside Arthur, who poor fellow, was speaking of his part in the operation where his blood had been transfused to his Lucy's veins;  I could see Van Helsing's face grow white and purple by turns.  Arthur was saying that he felt since then as if they two had been really married and that she was his wife in the sight of God. . . . The moment we were alone in the carriage [Van Helsing] gave way to a regular fit of hysterics.  He has denied to me since that it was hysterics, and insisted that it was only his sense of humour asserting itself under very terrible conditions.  He laughed till he cried . . . then he cried, till he laughed again . . . Then when his face grew grave and stern again I asked him why his mirth, and why at such a time.  His reply was in a way characteristic of him, for it was logical and forceful and mysterious.  He said:--!

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". . . Said he not that the transfusion of his blood to her veins had made her truly his bride?"! "Yes, and it was a sweet and comforting idea to him."! "Quite so.  But there was a difficulty, friend John.  If so that, then what about the others?  Ho,ho!  Then this so sweet maid is a polyandrist, and me, with my poor wife dead to me, but alive by Church's law though no wits, all gone--even I, who am faithful husband to this now-no-wife, am bigamist." (217-19)!

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When Arthur equates giving blood to Lucy with the symbolic unity of man and wife in marriage, Van Helsing lapses into wholly inappropriate and even uncontrollable!

laughter.  His excessive response shows his discomfort with that notion, for he realizes the implications of Arthur's statement:  if giving blood to Lucy is analogous to sexual consummation, then they all had sex with her.  Moreover, he may also realize the further implication that since Dracula had taken their blood through Lucy, they have all had sex with Dracula.!

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Curiously, Dracula never drinks from a male, yet he says to the men who chase him, "Your girls that you all love are mine already; and through them you and others shall yet be mine--my creatures" (365).  Dracula wins the men through the women, Mina and Lucy.  Why this secondhand means of capturing the men?  Only the homosexual taboo can fully explain it. 12  If Dracula represents the Other as homosexual, and the male characters in Dracula act in similarly veiled fashions, they all have a commonality.  Destroying Dracula becomes a means to destroy that part of themselves that they or society deem unacceptable and dirty.  Stoker constructs his narrative in order to destroy the vampire/the Other.  The monstrous threatens to collapse into the self and hence must be abolished.!

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Perhaps the best textual proof of the breakdown of the division between Other and self is an incident that occurs in Dracula's Castle:!

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I [Harker] had hung my shaving glass by the window, and was just beginning to shave.  Suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder, and heard the Count's voice saying to me, "Good-morning."  I started, for it amazed me that I had not seen him, since the

reflection of the glass covered the whole room behind me.  In starting I had cut myself slightly, but did not notice it at the moment.  Having answered the count's salutation, I turned to the glass again to see how I had been mistaken.  This time there could be no error, for the man was close to me, and I could see him over my shoulder, but there was no reflection!

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12 See Dyer for an exhaustive array of examples of this same triangulation in the text of Dracula.!

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of him in the mirror! The whole room behind me was displayed; but there was no sign of a man in it, except myself.  (34)!

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If a demon stands behind Harker, and yet no one shows up in the mirror but his own reflection, the demon truly resides within Harker.  The monstrous and the self fuse irrevocably.  The victims in the narrative are "guilty" of being the very thing they are attempting to destroy.  By the end, the human males are just as terrifying as the vampire.  They sneak about graveyards and houses in the night, stake women for their own good, break into houses, brandish stakes and chant in Latin.  Through all of the pages of the novel, the humans' complicity with the vampire evolves--the "evil"/the Other is within.!

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Stoker may have used his novel to work through some of his ambivalence about his own sexuality and his relationship with Wilde, but in doing so, he created a novel full of veiled references to the internal monster in us all.  Capping Van Helsing's list of rules of vampirism is one which holds the key to an understanding of the internal nature of the monster.  Above all the vampire cannot come into a dwelling without consent from the "victim,"  Carol A. Senf concludes from this that, "a vampire cannot influence a human being without that person's consent.  Dracula's behavior confirms that he is an internal, not an external, threat" (98).  The victims, by admitting Dracula into their homes, show that the threat, the Other, is within.  The distance between ourselves and the vampire finally is illusory, because the thing of which we are truly afraid is the dark side of our own psyche.!

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Stoker treats this dark side indirectly, using triangulation, inference, and analogy to reveal that which cannot be discussed, either in fiction or in polite society of the 1890s.  Rice operates without the strictures that necessitated Stoker's subterfuges.  She can draw a clear picture of issues that Stoker could not.  Moreover, Rice may have had the additional prerogative of gender:  perhaps society finds it less threatening for a woman to write on issues of male homosexuality than for a man to do so.!

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The homoeroticism is overt, not covert, in Rice's works.  The most significant relationships in the Vampire Chronicles are between men:  Louis and Lestat, Magnus and Lestat, Marius and Lestat, Armand and Louis.  Nor should we forget that the

initiating novel in the series is called Interview with the Vampire not Memoirs of the Vampire: Louis has the ability to tell his own story, but Rice deliberately frames the narrative with the scenario of an innocent young man interviewing an experienced vampire.  Not incidentally, the two have met in a bar in the Castro, the most notoriously gay section of San Francisco, the city where, as Armistead Maupin has quipped, "the love-that-dare-not-speak-its-name never shuts up."  The novel, then, begins in a time and place in which homosexuality need not be wholly private or secret.  Dyer finds an analogy between this narrative strategy and "the shift, and insistence upon it, from lesbians and gay men as persons who are spoken about to persons who speak for themselves" (65).  As persons who speak for themselves they exert control over their own stories.  They determine what the reader will discover and when.!

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In Dracula, much of the suspense surrounds the discovery of the vampire.  The reader is put in the position of the one who knows or suspects the dread secret and reads in anticipation of confirmation of that knowledge.  Dyer links this anticipation to the life experience of gays/lesbians, for "much of a life lived in the closet is, precisely, will they find out?" (59).  However, in Rice's work, the suspense and anticipation of discovery does not guide the reader in the same way.  Because these vampires have control of their narratives, they also have control of their own "coming out".  The vampires have come out of their own accord, since they are publishing their own accounts of their lives by writing.  Within their narratives, they seem to believe that if they "out" themselves to a human, that human should consider it a privilege.  Vampirism is not so much a secret in

Rice's work as it is a sort of honor, and the reader participates in that "honor" by being privy to the vampires' stories. 13!

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The vampires for the most part are chosen carefully before they are created by other vampires.  Lestat voices this sense of privilege when, upon being deserted by Magnus, the vampire who made him, he decides to inspect Magnus's rooms.  Lestat finds a dungeon full of dead and decaying mortals:!

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And it came to me suddenly that all these dead victims had been men . . . and every single one of them had yellow hair, very much like my own hair.  The few who had features left appeared to be young men, tall, slight of build.  And the most recent occupant here--wet reeking corpse that lay with its arms outstretched through the bars-so resembled me that he might have been a brother. . . .Why wasn't I locked in this cell?  What test had I passed that I was not creaming now as I shook the bars. . . ?  (Lestat 119-121)!

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Lestat realizes that he has been singled out in order to be given the gift of immortality.  He alone possessed suitable strength and a sense of adventure.  Indeed, Magnus had waited many years before he found so fit a specimen.  Lestat soon realizes why such strength is required:  most who are given the gift become insane, as they are unable to accept the irrevocable life/death changes vampirism requires.  Marius, the vampire who made Lestat, destroys himself in flames because, in Armand's words, "Live!

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13 The reader is also participating in voyeurism--as all reading can be considered a form of voyeurism.!

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 among men, and the passing years will drive you to madness . . . . To see others grow old and die, to see kingdoms rise and fall, to lose all you understand and cherish--who can endure it?" (Lestat 251-52).  Those who survive the centuries, successfully dealing with their vampire natures should be commended, even admired.!

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Vampirism in Rice's universe is more than a gift.   It is offered up as a luscious alternative lifestyle, closely linked with homosexuality. The significant characters in the Vampire Chronicles are all male and the important relationships are those that exist between men.  The explicit scenes of vampirism and those where vampires are made are between men, and the eroticism is not hidden, but rather celebrated.  When Lestat makes Louis into a vampire, Louis remarks that, "[Lestat's] movement [was] so graceful and so personal that at once it made me think of a lover."  He goes on to say, "I remember that the movement of his lips raised the hair all over my body, sent a shock of sensation through my body that was not unlike the pleasure of passion" (Interview 22-23).  Rice shows her straight readers the sublime pleasure to be derived from taboo desires.  For gay readers, she affirms that their secret is now out and may be seen as deadly, but wonderful, and wonderfully powerful.!

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For those who have not experienced it, Rice describes vampirism even as she insists that it defies explanation.  The vampires repeatedly assert that language does not hold the words to illuminate what and who they are.  Louise explains to his interviewer:  "I can tell you about it, enclose it with words that will make the value of it to me evident to you.  But I can't tell you exactly, any more than I could tell you exactly what is the experience of sex if you never had it" (18).  It is as if the Other lies just outside of discourse; it lies in the shadows and cannot be explained to those who have not experienced it.  As the verbal container for that which cannot be verbalized, the vampire novel can only offer glimpses of things readers cannot know firsthand.  The indescribably nature of vampirism helps keep the reader involved in the narrative.  We want to grasp what it would be like to be a vampire but that knowledge remains tantalizingly out of reach.!

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Transgressing the bounds of heterosexual love is finally something that neither Stoker nor Rice can describe for the reader.  He can't talk about it directly, but only through triangulation and inference;  she finds language itself inadequate to the experience.  This leaves the gay reader a sense of vindication, knowing there is so much power and glory in that which they are.  Straight readers remain intrigued and titillated by their vicarious transgression.!

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VI. "Strike the Blow that Sets Her Free": Female Desire and Its Consequences!

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The vampire myth's treatment of sexuality and otherness is inextricably linked to issues of gender, for women have traditionally been positioned as the Other, both in society and in literature.  In studying gender issues in vampire literature there are two groups to look at, the human woman and the vampire woman.  Both groups trespass beyond the bounds of socially acceptable behavior for women, especially with regard to their sexuality.  The institution of marriage exerts social control on passion, offering an acceptable site for sexuality because it offers containment.  Historically this control has applied mostly to women, who dare not violate the sanctity of their marriage bed for fear of ostracism.  Marriage has not operated so forcefully to contain men's sexuality.  Society seems to have a silent understanding that men's passions will overflow the bounds of matrimony, and men are often excused or only lightly punished for sexual transgressions.  In dealing with his female characters, Stoker emphasizes how vampires disrupt the marriage bond and unleash female desire.  Rice does not stress marital transgression, perhaps attesting to the fact that marriage does not contain female sexuality so exclusively in contemporary society as it did in Stoker's day.!

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The strictures on female behavior  were being more and more openly challenged in Victorian society.  The figure of the New Woman embodied many of these challenges, for the New Woman was one who had a measure of economic and sexual freedom.  Stoker may have modeled the character of Mina on the New Woman, as some critics contend, yet he still relies heavily on gender stereotypes in her depiction. 14  Mina, in a letter to Lucy, makes fun of the notion of the New Woman, seemingly in oder to distance herself from that notion of womanhood.  At the same time, she does exhibit some of the

qualities of the New Woman in that she supported herself before she was married, and she is educated in modern technology that she puts to good use in tracking Dracula.!

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Mina is at the same time, and to a greater extent, portrayed as the perfect wife, the good woman, the model of femininity.  Stoker portrayers her as the embodiment of goodness and virtue, blending the best of male and female characteristics.  Van Helsing offers this testimony to her perfection:  "Ah, that wonderful Madam Mina!  She has a man's brain-a brain that a man should have were he much gifted--and a woman's heart.  The good God fashioned her for a purpose, believe me, when He made that so good combination" (284).  When Mina offers to tell Van Helsing all she can about!

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14 Matthew C. Brennan, for instance, argues that Mina is an excellent depiction of the New Woman because of her developed persona.!

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Lucy's sleep-walking habits, he says, "Ah, then you have good memory for facts, for details?  it is not always so with young ladies" (227).  Mina is respected for her intellectual abilities on the one hand, but continually judged in comparison to the limited view of typical female ability. !

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Even so, the male characters allow her to help them in their crusade against Dracula, but only within limits.  She assembles all of their papers, but she is forbidden to participate

in the hunt;  moreover she cannot participate in their discussions of the appropriate course of action.  The men control access to knowledge in this novel:!

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"And now for you, Madam Mina, this night is the end until all be well.  You are too precious to us to have such risk.  When we part to-night, you no more must question . . . . We are men and are able to bear; but you must be our star and our hope . . . . (293)!

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In response Mina writes, "their minds were made up, and, though it was a bitter pill for me to swallow, I could say nothing, save to accept their chivalrous care of me."  Mina must thank them for treating her like a child.  It turns out to be worse for her that they excluded her, for knowledge is power.!

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By leaving her in the dark--figuratively and literally--they put her right into Dracula's clutches.  Dr. Seward describes Dracula's conquest of Mina:!

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The moonlight was so bright that through the thick yellow blind the room was light enough to see.  On the bed beside the window lay Jonathan Harker, his face flushed and breathing heavily as though in a stupor.  Kneeling on the near edge of the bed facing outwards was the white-clad figure of his wife.  By her side stood a tall, thin man, clad in black.  His face was turned from us, but the instant we saw all recognized the Count--in every way, even the scar on his forehead.  With his left hand he held both Mrs. Harker's hands, keeping them away with her arms at full tension; his right hand gripped her by

the nightdress was smeared with blood, and a thin stream trickled down the man's bare breast which was shown by his torn-open dress.  The attitude of the two had a terrible resemblance to a child forcing a kitten's nose into a saucer of milk to compel it to drink.  (336-37)!

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The scene shockingly enacts adultery, as Dracula attacks Mina--labelled "Mrs. Harker" here though she is usually called "Mina"--while her husband lies asleep in their marriage bed.  By letting the vampire in, she has defied appropriate female behavior, yet she remains somehow innocent because she did not go out and seek Dracula  She is the apparent victim, "forced" to do what the villain compels.  Yet Mina does not resist the attack, and later even admits that she had no wish to resist Dracula.  In this way she can seem as if she is acting in the traditional female role, maintaining her wifely virtue quietly rebelling.  The scene dramatizes the clear threat the vampire poses to the martial containment of sexuality, as Mina cheats on her husband in his very presence.!

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What about the unmarried woman?  Stoker sets up Lucy, another human female in Dracula, as a sexually desirable young maiden courted simultaneously by Quincey Morris (the American), Dr. John Seward (psychiatrist owner of insane asylum), and Arthur Holmwood.  But Lucy is also a sexually desirous woman and for this she is punished.  When she receives three marriage proposals in one day, she writes to Mina, "Why can't they let a girl marry three men, or as many as want her, and save all this trouble?" (78).  Her desire leads her to engage in sleep-walking (street-walking?), and in this state she is confronted by Dracula.  Once she admits him into her room, the efforts

of Van Helsing and her three suitors to save her can only fail.  Eventually Lucy dies and becomes a vampire herself, feeding on children.  But Stoker makes her eroticism seem more horrifying than the fact that she victimizes the most helpless humans.  Dr. Seward describes the vampiric Lucy as "diabolically sweet in her tones," with "eyes unclean and full of hell-fire, instead of the pure, gentle orbs we knew" (257).  The feminine qualities that attracted her three suitors mutate into horrifying carnality.  Dr. Seward continues:!

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She seemed like a nightmare of Lucy as she lay there; the pointed teeth the bloodstained, voluptuous mouth--which it made one shudder to see--the whole carnal and unspiritual appearance, seeming like a devilish mockery of Lucy's sweet purity.  (260)!

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Once Lucy's sexual desire becomes apparent, she must be destroyed by Van Helsing, Seward, Holmwood, and Morris.  The little gang of men meets Lucy at her tomb where she exhibits her desire, beckoning for her fiance, "Come to me, Arthur. Leave these others and come to me.  My arms are hungry for you.   Come, and we can rest together.  Come, my husband, come!" (257).  Her wanton display of desire confirms the men's belief that she must be killed once and for all.  They go back the next night to complete their task:!

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Van Helsing opened his missal and began to read, and Quincey and I followed as well as we could.  Arthur placed the point over the heart, and as I looked I could see its dint in the white flesh.  Then he struck with all his might.!

The Thing in the coffin writhed; and a hideous, blood-curdling screech came from the opened red lips.  The body shook and quivered and twisted in wild contortions; the sharp white teeth champed together till the lips were cut, and the mouth was smeared with a crimson foam.  But Arthur never faltered.  He looked like a figure of Thor as his untrembling arm rose and fell, driving deeper and deeper the mercy-bearing stake, whilst the blood from the pierced heart welled and spurted up around it.  His face was set, and high duty seemed to ring through the little vault.  (262)!

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Arthur wields the phallic stake on behalf of all four men, creating in the name of "high duty" a scene with an uncanny resemblance to a gang rape.!

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Lucy as human tried to contain her sexuality, but it always lay close to the surface, as seen in her enjoyment of three suitors.  Indeed, courtship had been the only arena for her sexuality and her power.  One would think that becoming a vampire would liberate her--no more hiding in coy courtship dances and pretending to be sweet and pure.  Examination of Dracula's vampire wives proves otherwise.  The three voluptuous vampiresses who tempt Harker in the Castle exemplify what happens to women who indulge their sexuality.  They now are pushed even further into otherness and subordination, even further removed from society's realms of power.!

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We might expect that in the world of the undead women could find freedom of expression, that without the earthly trappings of society they could revel in the darkness.

 But they are still restricted and do not even have the run of their own immortal lives.  They always have to answer to their warden Dracula even for their food:!

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"Are we to have nothing tonight?"  said one of them, with a low laugh, as she pointed to the bag which [Dracula] had thrown upon the floor and which moved as though there were some living thing within it.  For answer he nodded his head.  One of the women jumped forward and opened it.  If my ears did not deceive me there was a gasp and a low wail, as of a half-smothered child. (53)!

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The male controls the strength, the food, the blood, even in the world of the undead.  The women cannot hunt their own prey, but must wait inside the castle for their master to bring meat home.  They eat after Dracula has finished and get only the scraps he leaves them. This scene even suggests that they are rationed severely, and even go without food.  When they first sight Harker the vampire women size him up, knowing they must share the meal.  Dracula speaks to these women as though they were children, yelling at them like an authoritarian father:  "With a fierce sweep of his arm, he hurled the woman from him, and then motioned to the others, as tough he were beating them back; it was the same imperious gesture that I had seen used to the wolves" (53).  In gesturing them away as if they were animals, Dracula establishes himself as both wifetamer and wolf-tamer.!

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Stoker describes the vampire women as extremely voluptuous, so much so that they frighten the repressed Victorian man because of the desires they arouse in him.  When confronted by the vampire women in the Castle, Harker says:!

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I felt in my heart a wicked, burning desire that they would kiss me with those red lips . . . I was afraid to raise my eyelids, but looked out and saw perfectly under the lashes.  The girl went on her knees, and bent over me, simply gloating.  There was a deliberate voluptuousness which was both thrilling and repulsive, and as she arched her neck she actually licked her lips like an animal, till I could see in the moonlight the moisture shining on the scarlet lips and on the red tongue as it lapped the white sharp teeth.  (52)!

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Harker is both "thrilled" and "repulsed" by the sexuality of these women as they exert the only power they have, their sexual power.  This is the one power women have always had but when it is taken to the extreme it is grotesque.  Moreover, the female vampire's sexuality is flat, without dimension.  These characters display far less complexity than Stoker's male vampires, suggesting that they serve mainly as plot devices.  While the male vampire represents a homosexual threat, the female vampire plays a one-note samba of carnality.  This flatness suggests that Stoker himself found them less interesting, perhaps because they contributed little to his working gout of homosexual issues.!

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Readers, however, are able to play out the vicarious thrill of sexually explicit behavior, maintaing their own moral purity as they spy on scenes of forbidden lust.  The sexuality

of the desirous women is punished, but the reader still gets to see the wished-for behavior acted out.  Those demonstrating unacceptable behavior inevitably receive their due punishment, but not until the reader has had his or her own passions vicariously satisfied.!

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Women in Dracula, whether human or vampire, are uniformly sexually threatening, in part because all of the sexuality, male or female, has been funneled through the women.  Lucy is the vehicle for the exchange of fluids between the men and Dracula, and by extension, between males, while the vampire women frighten men with  their blatant sexuality.  Arthur's penetration of Lucy is frightening, not sexually thrilling, and Dracula's scene with Mina is a powerful display of his strength, but not altogether appealing.  While Dracula is shown to be powerful, neither he nor the human men is ever depicted as overtly sexual.!

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While Stoker seems uninterested in his female characters, Rice too seems indifferent to hers, but for a different reason.  The principal relationships in Rice's works are male/ male and her female human characters are negligible.  The female vampires Rice does create are all odd.  Louis and Lestat make a child vampire, a girl who will never grow into a woman;  Louis describes himself as "hopelessly her lover" (114), introducing the element of pedophilia.  Lestat's intimate relationship with his mother is nothing if not incestuous.  The Queen Vampire, Akasha, in her relationship with Lestat displays an annihilating hatred of men.  All of these relationships subvert the notion of male/female relations.  The true love of Rice's work is between men and desire, and so all these

relationships are illegitimate.  In the twentieth-century society unspeakable, as she was in Stoker's time.  Rice addresses herself, therefore, to the unspeakable issues of our society.  This perhaps accounts for the strange corners her women characters occupy.  Rice is not trying to say these women are normative, because the real cultural work is done when dealing with the Other, the unspeakable.!

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If this is so, then it seems even more odd that Rice avoids the subject of lesbianism, a pattern of sexuality that still receives little open discussion or literary attention.  There are many possible explanations for this omission.  Perhaps, as a woman, Rice herself is not comfortable with this issue.  Perhaps the men contain all the femininity within her novels, leaving no room for exploration of the female characters' sexuality.  Or there may be a pattern of indirect reference embedded in the text which I have not unearthed, much like the triangulation of homosexual desire enacted in Dracula. It may be that Rice will address this issue later in her series, developing it in a way that can be located in our critical vocabulary.!

!
In Stoker's and Rice's novels, female sexuality receives either negative attention or none at all.  Using a traditional construction of female desire, Stoker punishes desirous women, whether human or vampire.  He presents no arena for the expression of female desire, except the constraints of the marriage bed, which he shows only in their violation. As we might expect from a twentieth-century writer, Rice does not show feminine desire as reprehensible and in need of punishment. On the other hand, she does not offer her readers any female alternative to conventional sexuality. Rather, Rice

offers her women readers a strangely ironic model of sexuality with which to identify:  the only attractively sexual beings in her novels are the male vampires, feminized by their otherness and therefore appealing to women readers who are used to being positioned as sexually Other.  A female reader, that is, can feel herself to be less "other" in relation to a Lestat than she would be to a Rambo.!

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VII. The Enduring Other!

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Vampire narratives offer fertile ground for the exploration of otherness.  The transgressive nature of the vampire itself allows it to personify otherness no matter how that Other is defined.  The vampire is a foreigner, physically distinct from humans, sexually ambivalent and in all ways threatening.  Sexual otherness takes many forms, but the shape-shifting vampire can accommodate them all. Stoker veils the sexual tensions, but he succeeds in fashioning a tale that allows readers to experience repressed sexual desires vicariously--even unwittingly.  Rice presents sexual desire without repression, allowing the reader to luxuriate in sexuality, but almost exclusively through male/male relationships.!

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Stoker and Rice have maintained a large and constant readership because they address so many varieties of otherness.  The reader as consumer is offered a smorgasbord of otherness to choose from.  Within the parameters of the vampire myth, the reader may interpret the vampire's otherness in whatever way suits his or her own needs. The vampire tale offers the reader a safe place to confront the Other within, consciously or

unconsciously.  Readers are free to enjoy identifying with the Other, without peril or threat of social disgrace.!

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The Other, like the immortal vampire, will always be with us.  Society will always have boundaries to transgress, even if those boundaries may shift through time. So too, there will always be internal threats and dark areas of the psyche to come to terms with.  The vampire myth will endure so long as it enables readers to participate in transgression and explore their own otherness.  Just as Stoker and Rice shaped vampire narratives that speak to certain kinds of otherness, future writers will doubtless fashion vampire tales to attract audiences with different needs.  One of !

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Dracula's wives comments on Harker as she and her fellow vampiresses prepare to devour him, and her remarks apply equally well to the vitality and capaciousness of the vampire myth:  "He is young and strong; there are kisses for us all" (52).!

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