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RSSS 315 (Tier 2): Ninth Week (Tuesday). Vampires and Werewolves: Slavic Folklore in Our Culture. News. Topics for today Film comments Interpreting Stoker Religious Sociological Psychological Formalist. Religious. Good vs Evil Infectiousness of evil Links with darkness, decay, death

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RSSS 315 (Tier 2): Ninth Week (Tuesday)

Vampires and Werewolves: Slavic Folklore in Our Culture


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News

  • Topics for today

  • Film comments

  • Interpreting Stoker

    • Religious

    • Sociological

    • Psychological

    • Formalist


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Religious

  • Good vs Evil

  • Infectiousness of evil

  • Links with darkness, decay, death

  • Opposition to Christianity

  • Allegorical

  • Example: Only defense is purity of heart, sacrificial love


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Formalist

  • Sources: folklore and literary

  • Themes and motifs

  • Narrative technique, e.g., unreliable narrators

  • Gothic elements


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Gothic features

  • Mystery, gloom, fog, night, storm

  • Desolation, isolation

  • Animals: wolves, bats

  • Distant past (unforgotten): sense of nostalgia

  • Old castles, mansions, graveyards, churches (cobwebs, spiders)

  • Mysterious sounds (howling, flapping, scratching)

  • Mysterious figures, secrets, threat of violence

  • Dark colors (black), blood, pale features


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Sociological

  • Economic

    • Capital, expanding markets

    • Monopoly on resources

  • Feminist

    • Gender roles

    • patriarchy

  • Dealing the “other,” aliens


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Psychological

  • Non-Freudian

  • Freudian

    • Displaced sexuality

    • Oedipal themes

      • Patricide

      • Matricide

      • Incest

    • Dealing with repressed fears


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Key passages

  • Jonathan and the “daughters”

  • Killing of Lucy

  • Seduction of Mina


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Woman Empowered: Lucy and Nosferatu

  • Men are secondary

    • Van Helsing’s role diminished

    • Jonathan in a trance

  • Face to face with Dracula: she is not afraid

  • Terms of the sacrifice: purity of heart plus dawn

  • Does He hope that she will win?


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Literature into Film: Challenges

  • Background information

  • Imagery

  • Suggestiveness

  • Inner dialogue, monologue


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“The Family of the Vurdalak”

Aleksei Konstantinovich Tolstoi 1817-75


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“Carmilla”: famous lesbian vampire story

First published in Dark Blue, December, 1871 through March of 1872.

Some have said: "probably the best vampire story of all"

Diminished Gothic's emphasis on external sources of terror

Focus on the psychological effects

Lesbianism

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, 1814-73



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Forensic bases

  • Burial practices

  • Decomposition: features

  • Decomposition: duration

  • Possible to explain vampires


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Key facts

  • Shallow or no graves

  • Bloating during decomposition

  • Fluids expelled during decay

  • Dead bodies make noises

  • Decomposition generates heat

  • Skin shrinks back

  • Corpses attract wolves

  • Puncturing is the best treatment for bloat


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Carl Dreyer’s Vampyr (1932)

  • Famous expressionist film director (Danish; 1889-1968)

  • Evil presence, atmosphere

  • Two daughters, one “infected”

  • Reassuring male presence


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Theater background

1931 “hit”

Career swings

Sad ending

Bela Lugosi 1882-1956



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Daughters of Darkness (1971)

  • Another cult “classic”

  • Harry Kumel

  • Combines Carmilla and Bathory


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