Patrick Colm Hogan 1
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  • 1 University of Connecticut
Narrative Universals, Nationalism, and Sacrificial Terror
From Nosferatu to Nazism
in Film Studies
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It has been widely asserted that nationhood is inseparable from narration. This vague claim may be clarified by understanding that nationalism is bound up with the universal prototypical narrative structures of heroic, romantic, and sacrificial tragi-comedy. This essay considers an historically important case of the emplotment of nationalism - the sacrificial organization of German nationalism between the two world wars. It examines one exemplary instance of this emplotment, F. W. Murnau‘s Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror (1922). However unintentionally, Nosferatu represents the vampire in a way that is cognitively continuous with Nazi representations of Jews. The films sacrificial emplotment of vampirism is, in turn, continuous with Nazi policies. That continuity places the film in a larger discourse that helped to make Nazi policies possible.

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