The Vampire in Literature


vampire, in folklore, animated corpse that sucks the blood of humans. Belief in vampires has existed from the earliest times and has given rise to an amalgam of legends and superstitions. They were most commonly thought of as spirits or demons that left their graves at night to seek and enslave their victims; it was thought that the victims themselves became vampires. The vampire could be warded off with a variety of charms, amulets, and herbs and could finally be killed by driving a stake through its heart or by cremation. Sometimes the vampire assumed a nonhuman shape, such as that of a bat or wolf (see lycanthropy). Probably the most famous vampire in literature is Count Dracula in the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker.

See A. Masters, The Natural History of the Vampire (1972); N. Auerbach, Our Vampires, Ourselves (1995).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Blood Is the Life: Vampires in Literature
Leonard G. Heldreth; Mary Pharr.
Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1999
The Monster with a Thousand Faces: Guises of the Vampire in Myth and Literature
Brian J. Frost.
Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1989
The Vampire in Nineteenth-Century English Literature
Carole A. Senf.
Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1988
"Dirty Mamma': Horror, Vampires, and the Maternal in Late Nineteenth-Century Gothic Fiction
Michelis, Angelica.
Critical Survey, Vol. 15, No. 3, September 2003
This Thing of Darkness: Perspectives on Evil and Human Wickedness
Richard Paul Hamilton; Margaret Sönser Breen.
Rodopi, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Chap. One "Twentieth-Century Vampire Literature: Intimations of Evil and Power"
The Naked and the Undead: Evil and the Appeal of Horror
Cynthia A. Freeland.
Westview Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Four "Seductive Vampires"
Victorian Literature and the Anorexic Body
Anna Krugovoy Silver.
Cambridge University Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Vampirism and the Anorexic Paradigm"
Visions of the Fantastic: Selected Essays from the Fifteenth International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts
Allienne R. Becker.
Greenwood Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "The Wail of the Banshee: Vampire Ghosts, Man-Eating Ghosts, and Other Malevolent Spirits in Irish Fairy Tales" and Chap. 15 "Frankenstein and Dracula: The Question of Influence"
The Gothic World of Stephen King: Landscape of Nightmares
Gary Hoppenstand; Ray B. Browne.
Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1987
Librarian’s tip: "Blood, Eroticism, and the Vampire in Twentieth-Century Popular Literature" begins on p. 20
The Gothic World of Anne Rice
Gary Hoppenstand; Ray B. Browne.
Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of vampires in literature
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