The Vampire – Dundes


Alan Dundes’s essay,  ‘The Vampire as Bloodthirsty Revenant: A Psychoanalytic Post Mortem’, gives an overview of (and critique of interpretations surrounding) ‘the vampire’ in folklore. It’s full of references to be followed (and covers the etymology of the word) and allows Dundes to develop his own theory of vampires. He focuses on the folkloric aspect of the vampire (and explains this focus in terms of its place in the triad of mass or popular culture, elite culture and folkore), but I’ll confess I only have a couple of quotes relevant to my own work:

“The attempts to interpret the basic meaning of the vampire figure may for the sake of convenience be divided into two broad categories: literal-historical and metaphoric-symbolic.” (p.19)

“…it is my contention that it is the underlying oral erotic basis of the vampire belief complex which partly explains the endless fascination of this enigmatic creature. In prudish Victorian times, the Bram Stoker novel provided a much-needed outlet for repressed sexuality, but even in the twentieth century, the vampire of popular culture and literature serves a similar function. The fear of being attacked by a vampire – at night, in one’s own bedroom – can be construed as a form of wishful thinking.”

Ref: Alan Dundes (c2002) ‘The Vampire as Bloodthirsty Revenant: A Psychoanalytic Post Mortem’ pp. 16-32 Bloody Mary in the Mirror: Essays in Psychoanalytic Folkoristics 


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