Vampires have never been as popular in Western culture as they are now: Twilight, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries and their fans have secured the vampire’s place in contemporary culture. Yet the role vampires play in how we remember our pasts and configure our futures has yet to be explored. The present volume fills this gap, addressing the many ways in which vampire narratives have been used to describe the tensions between memory and identity in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
The first part of the volume considers the use of the vampire to deal with rapid cultural change, both to remember the past and to imagine possible futures. The second part examines vampire narratives as external cultural archives, a memory library allowing us to reference the past and understand how this underpins our present. Finally, the collection explores how the undead comes to embody memorial practice itself: an autonomous entity that gives form to traumatic, feminist, postcolonial and oral traditions and reveals the resilience of minority memory.
Ranging from actual reports of vampire activity to literary and cinematic interpretations of the blood-drinking revenant, this timely study investigates the ways in which the «undead memory» of the vampire throughout Western culture has helped us to remember more clearly who we were, who we are, and who we will/may become.
Simon Bacon is an independent researcher and Network Manager – Conferences for Inter-Disciplinary.Net as well as the editor of the journal Monsters and the Monstrous. He has published extensively on vampires in popular culture and is currently working on a monograph on alternative readings of the undead.
Katarzyna Bronk is Assistant Professor in the Department of English Literature and Literary Linguistics, Faculty of English, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland. She teaches the history of English literature but her research focuses on the history of sin/virtue, sexuality and gender, and, in particular, representations of women and femininity in English history and culture.