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 infamous literary vampire. These elements have now become the blueprint for many cinematic vampires in films such as Dracula’s Daughter (Lambert Hillyer, USA, 1936), The Return of Dracula (Paul Landres, USA, 1958), Count Yorga Vampire (Bob Kelljan, USA, 1970), Andy Warhol’s Dracula (Paul Morrissey, USA, 1974), Love at First Bite (Stan Dragoti, USA, 1979), and My Grandfather Is a
, Murnau’s Nosferatu . The purview of Merhige’s film, however, is far more extensive, meditating on the 1979 remake of Nosferatu by Werner Herzog, the cinematic vampire more generally, the nature of cinematic subjects and spectatorship, our vexed cultural relationship both to modernity as emblematised by visual technologies and, by extension, to death, given
. Although the vampire as murdering monster offers a compelling rationale for not aspiring to un-death, modern vampire narratives introduce an additional drawback: ennui. Immortality, it turns out, may become burdensome because vampires-née-humans are creatures of the world – and the world keeps on turning. Indeed, the passage of time confronts vampires with two challenges: to remain connected to an ever-changing world and to stay ‘lively’. When literary and cinematic vampires as a consequence of longevity can no longer recognise the world through which they stalk, or