Geo-political vampirism: how and why has Western literary scholarship appropriated and then re-mythologised the socio-historical origins of the vampire?

Article


Dalton, A. 2024. Geo-political vampirism: how and why has Western literary scholarship appropriated and then re-mythologised the socio-historical origins of the vampire? Humanities and Social Sciences Communications. 11 (1). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-023-02576-z
TypeArticle
TitleGeo-political vampirism: how and why has Western literary scholarship appropriated and then re-mythologised the socio-historical origins of the vampire?
AuthorsDalton, A.
Abstract

The article considers the claims of Western academics like Frayling (1992) that the literary vampire began with Polidori's The Vampyre (1819). Crawford (2016) identifies a German literary vampire tradition existing one hundred years before Polidori, yet that work has strengthened Eurocentric claims concerning the literary vampire by academics like Bloom (2018). The article reviews Anatol's (2022) challenge to the dominant position of Dracula in vampire criticism, Anatol identifying a literary tradition pre-dating Stoker, that tradition seeing the documenting of Caribbean vampire folklore by British colonialists/slave owners, travel writers and journalists. In sympathy with Anatol's non-Eurocentric consideration, the article re-examines/disputes Western academia's 'mythology' concerning the Villa Diodati (1816), when Lord Byron's reading from the German Fantasmagoriana apparently inspired Polidori and Mary Shelley to write their novels. The article identifies an Ottoman literary tradition that directly influenced Byron's 1813 poem 'The Giaour', his unfinished story 'A Fragment' (1819), and Stoker's Dracula. The article explores Ottoman vampire ('obur') literature, starting with Celebi's Book of Travels of 1666, which refers back to the fifteenth century 'vampire fatwas' in the Balkans under Ottoman rule. The article traces how the dominant Turkic languages of the region informed the proto-Albanian language, the 'vampire' (as both term and demonised 'other') entering Albanian folklore. The Ottoman empire declining, the rising Austro-Hungarian and then British empires appropriated the vampire westward, exoticising and demonising non-central Europeans. Finally, the article provides a post-colonial reading of Southey's 1801 orientalist poem Thalaba the Destroyer, reading the first true 'vampire' in English literature.

Keywordsvampire; Ottoman; Dracula; Dalton; Byron; Albanian
Sustainable Development Goals4 Quality education
Middlesex University ThemeCreativity, Culture & Enterprise
LanguageEnglish
PublisherSpringer
JournalHumanities and Social Sciences Communications
ISSN
Electronic2662-9992
Publication dates
Online06 Feb 2024
Publication process dates
Submitted11 Aug 2023
Accepted21 Dec 2023
Deposited05 Feb 2024
Output statusPublished
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
Accepted author manuscript
File Access Level
Restricted
Copyright Statement

Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Additional information

Part of the collection 'Studies in horror and the Gothic': https://www.nature.com/collections/nsfrsncwwy

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-023-02576-z
Web of Science identifierWOS:001157193300009
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https://repository.mdx.ac.uk/item/z73x0

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