Representations of Vampires and the Undead from the Enlightenment to the Present Day
Editors: Sam George and Bill Hughes

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.

Undead aesthetics and mechanical reproduction – Dorian Gray, Dracula and David Reed’s ‘vampire painting’

and interrogate the vampire’s complex relationship to this optical phenomenon. I focus, to begin with, on Stoker’s handwritten notes for Dracula where the vampire’s lack of a reflection or shadow is first located and where this conceit is extended to include its image in photography and painting. 8 From this, I develop the notion of ‘vampire painting’ in the

in Open Graves, Open Minds
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’s Dorian Gray and the ‘vampire painting’ and installations of the contemporary artist David Reed. Anxieties over new technologies of mass reproduction and the loss of aura identified by Walter Benjamin are linked to the absence of the soul that Darwinism seemed to suggest and doubts over what it is to be human; the soulless essence of the vampire cannot be discerned through reflection. Via a reflection on

in Open Graves, Open Minds

they form a tantalizing correspondence with the poem ‘The Haunted Palace’, which figures in Poe’s ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ and is quoted in the movie. Let us note that in this sequence filmic gestures (strumming the guitar) suggest music, while sung poetry is rendered through extra-diegetic images of nature; the sequence coming to a close when Roderick puts down the guitar with one hand to take hold of his palette with the other, in order to resume his vampiric painting. At the close of the following sequence, Madeline falls in slow motion, in a very

in Jean Epstein