The Vampire Lectures

The Vampire Lectures

The Vampire Lectures

The Vampire Lectures

Synopsis

In The Vampire Lectures, Laurence A. Rickels sifts through the rich mythology of vampirism, from medieval folklore to Marilyn Manson, to explore the profound and unconscious appeal of the undead.

Excerpt

I started pumping up this corpus called The Vampire Lectures in 1986 on the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara, somewhere between the airport and the beach, or in other words or worlds, somewhere between the middlebrowbeat Back East and the Teen Age on the Coast. It was my new curricular offering, a course load of auto-stimulation, which I made a point of injecting into the student body's circulation system, their curriculum vitae, in order to catch them where they breed. And I had time. All the time of the transference was on my side. Because it was not, not right away, an instant hit; the student body was slow on the intake. “Vampirism in German Literature and Beyond” doubled as intro to psychoanalytic theory: the vampire located on the margin of the psychoanalytic treatment of mourning sickness, where it is as much a symptom as an example, was advanced to the front of the class.

On Halloween eve 1987 the student newspaper ran an interview with me that began with the question of how I came to a topic of study that some might consider “morbid.” My answer back then:

I guess it begins with an interest in Freudian psychoanalysis, and the
impression I have, which is the basis for all my research, that the issue
of mourning is the most vulnerable point of articulation in psycho
analytic theory. So this is what I've pursued throughout, and vam
pirism, haunting, all these morbid manifestations are frequent analo
gies for mourning and aberrant mourning in psychoanalysis. On the
sidelines of that proper pursuit, I necessarily acquired all this marginal
knowledge, and I figured, Why not switch perspectives a little bit, in
the usual move of seeing the marginal as somehow more central than
it had seemed to be, and address vampirism within psychoanalysis
more directly. In the course we're set to do right now I allow vampirism
and the technical media and psychoanalysis to occupy interchange-

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