As a lover of (good) novels, it might seem slightly out of place to be questioning a perfectly fantastic theme, that of Vampire Literature. But, the reason I am doing so, is because our love for vampires has left books and started seeping into real life. For example, even when I want to explain the condition of my blog (last post somewhere in December of ’11) I have an overwhelming urge to use the word “undead”. This term is often used to describe vampires – they are neither dead nor alive.
But, anyway, the question here is, what is with our sudden fascination with vampires? Or is it even sudden? After some reading about Vampire Lit, and reading some Vampire Lit itself, I discovered it dates back to the 1800’s, around the time after industrial revolution. Science (and it’s dark side) was becoming the central theme of books, and just like Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, her husbands friend John Polidori wrote The Vampyre. Then came a series of books on this theme, one of the best being Dracula by Bram Stoker, which was adapted into a movie in the 1930’s.
The point to be noted here is that the Vampire’s kiss stimulated sexual desire and it was actually a subtle Victorian era attempt at stifling the desire that female sexuality awakens. It was also the contrast between Science that was surging forward and phenomenon that were age old and couldn’t be explained.
But the point here is, what is the difference between Vampire lit then, and now? Also, why is it scarier now?
Because, perhaps, earlier, Vampires were Badass. They weren’t just another form of human beings, with their lovey dovey romance stories. They were a class apart from us. Which is why they were fascinating. They weren’t all goody goody either. Also, if you needed someone to finish of the bad little vamps, you had Buffy, The Vampire Slayer (A brilliant TV show in the 1950’s).
Whereas now, Vampire lit is starting to become synonymous with erotic literature. There is no story-telling involved. But, there are a few books that are saving the face of Vampire Literature, like Silver Kiss and Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause (http://soonrememberedtales.blogspot.in/2011/06/blood-and-chocolate.html)
Why, in the face of good literature, are people preferring the mediocre one? Perhaps, as certain studies predict, the general level of intelligence of the people is going down, and a little sex and violence is all it takes in order to entertain them. And Vampire novels can be the perfect combination of both. But, since books like Silver Kiss and Dracula are still around, let’s hope for the better.
As for me, a vampire novel once in a while is cool, but I am far from having fantasies of loving a Vampire. A normal human being will do just fine for me. (I’d like to keep garlics and stakes close though. Just in case)