Introduction By Rhonda V.

Wilcox and David Lavery

 “The
Black
Death.
.
.
.
The
fun
part
of
the
Black
Death
is
 that
it
originated
in
Europe
how?
As
an
early
form
of
 germ
warfare.
If
you’ll
look
at
the
map
on
page
63
you
 can
trace
the
spread
of
the
disease
into
Rome
and
 then
north.
And
this
popular
plague
led
to
what
social
 changes?”
 —Sunnydale
High
School
teacher,
“Welcome
to
the
 Hellmouth,”
 Buffy
the
Vampire
Slayer
pilot
 
 It
is
a
particularly
pleasing
example
 of
the
witty
depth
of
the
Buffy
text
that
the
 first
words
we
see
any
teacher
write
on
a
chalkboard
in
Sunnydale
High
School
are
 “The
Black
Death.”
Naturally,
the
words
are
appropriate
for
the
horror
element
of
 this
series.
But
the
scene
is
redolent
of
other
meaning
as
well.
The
teacher
 presenting
her
lesson
is
an
excellent
representation
of
part
of
the
difficulty
the
 students
will
be
facing
in
high
school
life:
Given
the
knowledge
she
imparts
in
this
 brief
scene,
she
seems
competent,
and
yet
she
does
not
truly
engage
the
students’
 minds.
She
asks
them
questions
but
moves
on,
neither
getting
nor
apparently
 expecting
an
answer.
In
terms
of
high
school
in
America,
she
is
quite
typical—and
in
 fact
she
is
benign,
if
relatively
ineffectual;
but
she
is
part
of
the
general
lack
of
 communication
between
adults
and
youth
that
marks
Buffy
(see
Wilcox
“There
Will
 Never
Be”).
She
thus
indicates
problems
in
the
educational
system
in
particular,
and
 in
intergenerational
relationships
in
general.
 Not
only
the
teacher’s
methodology,
but
the
content
of
her
remarks
is
 significant.
As
already
noted,
the
subject
of
the
Black
Plague
is
appropriate
for
 horror.
And
of
course
there
are
humorous
undertones
(“the
fun
part”—as
the
teacher
 obliviously
or
ironically
puts
it)
to
the
fact
that
these
words
are
Buffy’s
introduction
 to
her
new
school,
the
place
that
so
clearly
tells
us
high
school
is
hell.
But
note
 further
that
the
teacher
places
the
Black
Plague
in
the
context
of
its
political
and
 social
significance:
The
Black
Plague
was
not
simply
a
biological
horror,
but,
 according
to
the
teacher,
a
tool
of
germ
warfare.
Before
Buffy
even
meets
her
first


The Collected Works of David Lavery 2

vampire
in
Sunnydale,
the
horrific
already
hints
at
social
significance.
And
the
scene
 ends
with
a
question
about
possible
social
changes.
 Those
familiar
with
the
comments
of
Buffy
creator
Joss
Whedon
know
that
 from
the
beginning
he
has
asserted
that
he
wished
the
series
to
be
an
agent
of
social
 change.
The
earliest
scene
of
classroom
teaching
in
Sunnydale
High
is
first
and
 foremost
an
establishing
scene
of
mild
humor—setting
the
tone
of
the
series
and
 beginning
the
relationship
between
Buffy
Summers
and
one
of
the
other
major
 characters,
Cordelia
Chase,
who
represents
the
girl
established
and
accepted
in
the
 high
school
world.
But
at
the
same
time,
the
scene
is
suggestive
of
much
that
is
to
 come
in
the
series.
Just
as
the
Black
Death
is
more
than
we
have
thought
it,
so
too
 the
horrors
and
monsters
Buffy
faces
will
turn
out
to
signify
much
more
in
the
way
of
 social
and
psychological
problems.
The
scene
is
in
part
significant
because
it
is
so
 typical
of
passages
in
the
Buffy
series:
so
many
moments
are
symbolically
resonant.
 They
are
the
product
of
a
mind
constantly
conscious
of
the
implications
of
word,
 image,
music.
Many,
many
of
us
have
been
infected
with
the
desire
to
discuss
the
 many
meanings
of
Buffy;
and
it
is
pleasing
to
know
that
the
contagion
has
indeed,
as
 the
Sunnydale
teacher
says,
“spread
.
.
.
into
Rome”
and
all
across
Italy.
 In
fact,
Italian
scholars
have
been
analyzing
Buffy
for
quite
some
time
now.
 Very
early
in
Buffy
studies,
Massimo
Introvigne
lectured
at
Harvard
University
on
the
 subject
of
religion
in
Buffy.
We
were
very
pleased
when
Giada
da
Ros
published
and
 English‐language
version
of
her
essay
on
Buffy
and
soap
operas
in
Slayage:
The
 Online
International
Journal
of
Buffy
Studies.
These
two
Italian
scholars
thus
 represented
two
of
the
major
streams
of
discussion,
in
that
the
one
focused
on
 theme
while
the
other
focused
on
genre
studies.
Buffy
is
rich
in
thematic
implication;
 thus
scholars
from
the
disciplines
of
religion,
sociology,
political
science,
psychology,
 women’s
studies,
literature,
philosophy,
and
more
analyze
the
work.
And
the
series
 is
famous
for
its
fascinating
confluence
of
genres—horror,
humor,
action,
romance,
 soap
opera,
adventure,
teen
drama,
and
more.
Barbara
Maio’s
2004
Fiction
TV
book
 on
Buffy
the
Vampire
Slayer
has
already
introduced
Italian
readers
to
some
of
the
 richness
of
the
Buffy
text;
and
her
work
in
the
Cult
TV
series
has
provided
more
 specific
analysis.
 In
the
introduction
to
the
series
in
this
volume,
Barbara
Maio
has
carefully
 provided
an
overview
of
the
characters
and
events
of
the
series.
Many
viewers
and
 scholars
have
focused
on
the
pleasures
of
Buffy
as
a
strong
female
hero
(although
 she
is
happily
not
required
to
be
inhumanly
perfect
in
character).
Indeed,
over
the


2

The Collected Works of David Lavery 3

course
of
the
seven
years,
she
follows
through
the
stages
of
the
hero’s
monomyth
as
 described
by
Joseph
Campbell.
Just
as
important,
in
the
context
of
the
series,
is
the
 group
of
friends—Xander,
Willow,
Giles,
and
more—that
interact
with
her.
The
theme
 of
friendship
and
community
is
one
of
the
most
important
in
the
series,
and
it
is
not
 of
friendship
won
cheaply;
the
genuine
difficulties
of
sharing
psychological
space
are
 explored.
Among
other
things,
the
idea
that
a
young
man
(Xander)
could
be
led
by
a
 young
woman
is
one
of
the
most
significant
of
many
gender
reversals
represented
in
 the
series.
The
series
can
also
be
seen
as
equivalent
to
a
bildungsroman,
a
novel
of
 growth;
Whedon
and
the
group
of
writers
he
selected
to
work
with
him
have
 carefully
developed
the
characters
over
the
course
of
the
series’
seven
seasons,
and
 the
theme
of
change
and
growth
in
character
is
a
significant
one,
making
good
use
of
 the
televisual
narrative
long‐term
form.
The
importance
of
self‐sacrifice
and
duty— not
only
by
Buffy
but,
on
one
occasion
or
another,
all
of
the
major
characters—is
 repeated,
while
the
psychological
damage
such
sacrifice
can
inflict
is
explored
in
 ways
that
simpler
series
would
ignore.
The
characters
in
Buffy
are
not
simply
black
 and
white;
they
are
three‐dimensional
in
their
chiaroscuro.
And
the
shadows
grow
 deeper
as
the
series
proceed.
Heroism
is
never
lost,
but
it
is
never
free.
When
Buffy
 and
her
friends
fight
monsters,
the
dangers
are
not
merely
physical;
and
the
 resolution
does
not
come
at
the
end
of
a
single
episode
(cf.
Lavery
“Apocalyptic”).
 This
all
sounds
quite
solemn,
and
in
fact
Buffy
is
quite
serious
in
its
larger
 meaning;
and
yet,
minute
by
minute
it
is
often
quite
hilarious.
The
wit
and
play
of
 the
language
of
the
series
are
part
of
what
makes
it
both
humorous
and
beautiful,
 part
of
what
makes
it
art.
In
fact,
the
language
of
Whedon
and
Company
inspired
 some
of
the
earliest
scholarly
work
on
the
series.
A
short
history
of
Buffy
studies
 appears
as
part
of
the
inaugural
issue
(Spring
2006)
of
the
new
Manchester
 University
Press
journal
Critical
Studies
in
Television:
Scholarly
Studies
of
Small
 Screen
Fictions
(Wilcox
“In
‘The
Demon
Section’”).
The
article
argues
that
Buffy
is
 one
of
the
crucial
texts
to
demonstrate
the
artistic
significance
of
television,
and
 adduces
the
number
and
variety
of
scholarly
analyses
to
support
that
view.
The
 series
having
begun
in
1997,
scholars
were
publishing
on
its
language
as
early
as
 1999
(Adams,
Wilcox).
In
the
same
year,
Buffy
was
analyzed
in
terms
of
its
social
 significance
and
purposeful,
literary
symbolism
(Owen,
Wilcox).
In
2001,
we
 established
a
journal
on
the
subject,
a
peer‐reviewed
quarterly:
Slayage:
The
Online
 International
Journal
of
Buffy
Studies
(www.slayage.tv).
It
is
currently
in
its
sixth
 year,
having
finished
21
issues
to
date.
In
2002,
two
collections
of
scholarly
essays


3

The Collected Works of David Lavery 4

on
various
topics
were
published,
one
in
the
U.K.
(edited
by
Roz
Kaveney)
and
one
in
 the
U.S.
(edited
by
Wilcox
and
Lavery).
In
2003,
its
philosophical
underpinnings
were
 examined
in
a
collection
edited
by
James
South,
and
its
place
in
feminist
history
was
 discussed
in
Frances
Early
and
Kathleen
Kennedy’s
Athena’s
Daughters.
Michael
 Adams
produced
a
book‐length
analysis
of
Buffyspeak
in
2003’s
Slayer
Slang.
Religion
 was
the
subject
of
not
one
but
two
serious
books—by
Jana
Riess
and
Greg
Stevenson‐ ‐in
the
course
of
a
year,
from
2003
to
2004,
the
year
which
brought
us
Barbara
 Maio’s
Fiction
TV
Buffy
book.
In
2004
also,
Media
Education
Journal
devoted
five
 essays
of
Issue
35
to
pedagogical
themes
of
Buffy
(consider
the
first
part
of
this
 introduction).
In
2005
another
journal,
the
European
Journal
of
Cultural
Studies,
 devoted
an
entire
seven‐article
issue
to
a
single
Buffy
character,
the
ensouled
 vampire
Spike,
himself
a
locus
of
topics
ranging
from
religion
to
gender
studies
to
 medieval
literary
parallels.
2005
also
brought
a
book
on
a
central
Buffy
topic,
Lorna
 Jowett’s
Sex
and
the
Slayer;
another
on
the
topic
of
chosen
families
(cf.
the
 comments
on
friendship
and
community),
Jes
Battis’s
Blood
Relations;
and
the
Wilcox
 book
Why
Buffy
Matters:
The
Art
of
Buffy
the
Vampire
Slayer.
Early
in
2006
came
 Matthew
Pateman’s
The
Aesthetics
of
Culture
in
Buffy
the
Vampire
Slayer;
and
soon
 to
come
are
Lynne
Edwards’
book
on
race
in
The
Other
Sunnydale
and
Richardson
and
 Rabb’s
The
Existential
Joss
Whedon.
Lavery’s
Joss
Whedon:
Wonder
Boy,
a
study
of
 the
imagination
of
the
Buffy
creator,
will
follow.
This
is
merely
the
briefest
of
 overviews,
but
may
perhaps
give
some
sense
of
the
vibrancy
and
variety
of
Buffy
 studies.
 The
last
time
we
heard
of
Buffy
the
Vampire
Slayer
(on
television
at
least)
she
 was
cavorting,
in
Italy,
with
a
being
called
The
Immortal,
much
to
the
chagrin
of
both
 her
always‐bickering,
ensouled
vampire
lovers
Spike
and
Angel.
 So
it
seems
fitting
that
the
latest
manifestation
of
the
international
scholarly
 phenomenon
known
as
Buffy
Studies
would
come
out
of
Italy
as
well.
 Il
caso
The
Vampire
Stayer:
Studi
critici
su
Buffy
is
a
welcome
addition
to
the
 field,
coming
as
it
does
from
editor
Barbara
Maio,
the
author
of
the
first
Italian
 monograph
on
the
most
written‐about
series
in
American
television
history.
The
 essays
in
this
volume
promise
to
shed
light
on
a
variety
of
topics
already
familiar
to
 scholarly
visitors
to
the
Buffyverse:
religion,
narrative
innovation,
the
comicbook
 superhero
and
horror
genres,
the
teen
drama.
Others
venture
into
less
familiar
 terrain
of
the
Buffyverse:
reading
Buffy
in
light
of
Yvonne
Tasker’s
interesting
 approach
to
the
action
series,
considering
(in
the
Da
Ros
essay
previously
published


4

The Collected Works of David Lavery 5

in
our
online
journal
Slayage
(slayage.tv),
Buffy
as
a
soap
opera,
examining
more
 carefully
than
has
been
done
before
Buffy’s
relationship
with
her
mentor
Giles,
 contemplating
Buffy
as
an
apocalyptic
text.
 We
may
never
know
what
transpired
in
Buffy
Summer’s
Italian
sojourn.
But
 Buffy
the
Vampire
Slayer,
as
this
new
volume
makes
clear,
may
have
come
to
Italy
to
 stay.
 


Works
Cited

Adams,
Michael.
“Slayer
Slang,
I‐II.”
Verbatim:
The
Language
Quarterly
24.3
(1999):1‐ 4
and
24.3
(1999):1‐7.
 Adams,
Michael.
Slayer
Slang:
A
Buffy
the
Vampire
Slayer
Lexicon.
Oxford/New
York:
 Oxford
UP,
2003.
 Battis,
Jes.
Blood
Relations:
Chosen
Families
in
Buffy
the
Vampire
Slayer
and
Angel.
 Jefferson,
NC:
McFarland,
2005.
 Da
Ros,
Giada.
“When,
Where,
and
How
Much
Is
Buffy
a
Soap
Opera?”
Slayage:
The
 Online
International
Journal
of
Buffy
Studies
4.1‐2
[13‐14]
(2004).
 <www.slayage.tv>.
 Early,
Frances,
and
Kathleen
Kennedy,
eds.
Athena’s
Daughters:
Television’s
New
 Women
Warriors.
Syracuse:
Syracuse
UP,
2003.
 Edwards,
Lynne.
The
Other
Sunnydale:
Representations
of
Blackness
in
Buffy
the
 Vampire
Slayer.
Lexington
Books,
forthcomng.

 Introvigne,
Massimo.
“God,
New
Religious
Movements,
and
Buffy
the
Vampire
 Slayer.”
2001.
Available
at
http://www.cesnur.org/2001/buffy_march01.htm.
 Jowett,
Lorna.
Sex
and
the
Slayer:
A
Gender
Studies
Primer
for
the
Buffy
Fan.
 Middletown,
CN:
Wesleyan
UP,
2005.
 Kaveney,
Roz,
ed..
Reading
the
Vampire
Slayer:
An
Unofficial
Critical
Companion
to
 Buffy
and
Angel.
London/New
York:
I.B.
Tauris,
2002.
 Lavery,
David.
“Apocalyptic
Apocalypses:
Narrative
Eschatology
in
Buffy
the
Vampire
 Slayer.”
Slayage:
The
Online
International
Journal
of
Buffy
Studies
3.1
[9].
 <www.slayage.tv>.
 Lavery,
David.
Joss
Whedon:
Wonder
Boy.
London/New
York:
I.B.
Tauris,
forthcoming.
 Maio,
Barbara.
Buffy
the
Vampire
Slayer:
Fiction
TV.
Rome:
Aracne,
2004.
 Owen,
A.
Susan.
“Buffy
the
Vampire
Slayer:
Vampires,
Postmodernity,
and
 Postfeminism.”
Journal
of
Popular
Film
and
Television
27.2
(1999):
24‐31.


5

The Collected Works of David Lavery 6

Pateman,
Matthew.
The
Aesthetics
of
Culture
in
Buffy
the
Vampire
Slayer.
Jefferson,
 NC:
McFarland,
2006.
 Richardson,
Mike,
and
Doug
Rabb.
The
Existential
Joss
Whedon.
Jefferson,
NC:
 McFarland,
forthcoming.
 Riess,
Jana.
What
Would
Buffy
Do?
The
Vampire
Slayer
as
Spiritual
Guide.
San
 Francisco:
Jossey‐Bass,
2004.
 South,
James
B.,
ed.
Buffy
the
Vampire
Slayer
and
Philosophy:
Fear
and
Trembling
in
 Sunnydale.
Chicago:
Open
Court,
2003.
 Stevenson,
Greg.
Televised
Morality:
The
Case
of
Buffy
the
Vampire
Slayer.
Dallas:
 Hamilton
Books,
2003.
 Wilcox,
Rhonda
V.
“’There
Will
Never
Be
a
“Very
Special”
Buffy’:
Buffy
and
the
 Monsters
of
Teen
Life.”
Journal
of
Popular
Film
and
Television
27.2
(1999):
16‐ 23.
Republished
in
Slayage:
The
Online
International
Journal
of
Buffy
Studies
 1.2
(2001).
<www.slayage.tv>.
 Wilcox,
Rhonda
V.
“In
‘The
Demon
Section
of
the
Card
Catalogue’:
Buffy
Studies
and
 Television
Studies.”
Critical
Studies
in
Television:
Scholarly
Studies
in
Small
 Screen
Fictions
1.1
(Spring
2006):
37‐48.
 Wilcox,
Rhonda
V.
Why
Buffy
Matters:
The
Art
of
Buffy
the
Vampire
Slayer.
 London/New
York:
I.B.
Tauris,
2005.
 Wilcox,
Rhonda
V.,
and
David
Lavery,
eds.
Fighting
the
Forces:
What’s
at
Stake
in
 Buffy
the
Vampire
Slayer.
Lanham,
MD:
Rowman
&
Littlefield,
2002.


6

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