literary vampire; one of these, the Byronic, though born in that Romanticism, is still very much a presence in contemporary vampire texts. In this chapter I will show the evolution of the Byronic vampire as it mutated from its folkloric roots, as documented in the ethnography of the likes of Tournefort, into a powerful literary figure. I will also show that, as this archetype evolved, it did so through an
The Open Graves, Open Minds project discussed in this book relates the undead in literature, art and other media to questions concerning gender, technology, consumption and social change. The story of vampires, since their discovery in eighteenth-century Europe, is one of transformations and interbreedings of genre, which mediate shifts in ways of knowing and doubting. It is marked by metamorphoses of the vampire itself, from monstrous to sympathetic, but always fascinatingly Other. Certain tropes, such as optical figures, and particularly that of reflection, recur throughout, calling attention to the preoccupation with epistemology in vampire narratives. The book focuses on various aspects of these themes as the story unfolds to the present day. It shows how the persona of Lord Byron became an effective vehicle for the vampire of fiction as a transformed Gothic mode, and grapples with the figure of the non-reflecting vampire who casts no shadow, moving deftly between Dracula and Wilde's Dorian Gray and the 'vampire painting' and installations of the contemporary artist David Reed. The book gives a luminous account of early vampire cinema as a 'Kingdom of shadows', and explores the undead at the interface, where knowing becomes problematic: 'unsettlement'. The book also unearths the folklore roots of vampire fiction and offers a glimpse of how contemporary writers adapt the perennial figure.
’s behaviour over the season as he begins to transform from the alluring but dangerous Byronic vampire towards a yet more sympathetic model. Landers argues that current incarnations of the vampire are notable for making conscious choices rather than being driven by innate and inhuman bloodlust, and thus [m]odern vampire representations dissolve the
and archaic apparatuses. The sounds of screeching records and uncanny technologies are not reassuring or comforting but oppressive, shrouding with a heaviness that is suffocating. Similarly, his Romantic individualism reminds one of John Polidori’s Byronic vampire, who is a moral parasite and totally absorbed in himself. Adam’s need for blood is supplied by a medical doctor in
. Sir Christopher Frayling, in his introductory essay to Vampyres: Lord Byron to Count Dracula ( 1978 ), initiated the critical study of vampire texts and invited the undead into the academy. Frayling pays particular attention to the eighteenth-century origins of the literary vampire – an attention which we share. We are also indebted to his identifying the dominant archetypal vampires as they emerge in fiction: the Byronic