The Feminist Encyclopedia of German Literature

By Friederike Eigler; Susanne Kord | Go to book overview

V

Vampirism. According to Sigmund Freud ( Totem und Tabu, 1912/ 1913), ghosts and vampires are created by the defense mechanism of projection: one's unconscious feelings toward an object are projected onto this object and then treated as if coming from the outside. These feelings frequently express gendered binarisms: men/women, heterosexuals/homosexuals, normality/perversion, non- Jews/Jews, West/East. The logic at work in most vampire novels is the anxiety of reverse colonization by which the colonizer appears to be colonized: in Dracula ( 1897), for example, Bram Stoker played on fears that the late 19th-century colonial superpower England could be invaded from Eastern Europe. The novel depicts this reversal through the heterosexual male's passivity: he finds himself at the receiving end of the sexual act by the female vampire's "phallic" penetration, allowing her to advance to the status of the "New Woman."

The traditional female vampire in works by male authors figures as the return of repressed sexuality (i.e., Lucy, who desires three men simultaneously in Dracula; the bride of Christ in Johann Wolfgang Goethe's "Die Braut von Korinth," 1797). This traditional pattern is slightly modified in Ossip Schubin's two-volume Vollmondzauber ( 1899), in which a woman who aggressively lives her sexual desire is presented as undead. This story is influenced by E. T.A. Hoffmann 's discussion of female vampirism in Die Serapionsbrüder ( 1819- 1821), Ivan Turgenev's "Clara Milic" ( 1882), and Prosper Mérimée's novella Lokis ( 1869).

Reinterpretations of the vampire in women's literature deal critically with violence against women, their resistance against being vampirized, the pornographic aspects of a dominating sexuality, gender inversion, and lesbian eroti

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The Feminist Encyclopedia of German Literature
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • A 1
  • B 37
  • C 61
  • D 83
  • E 105
  • F 139
  • G 195
  • H 229
  • I 253
  • J 263
  • K 271
  • L 275
  • M 293
  • N 345
  • O 375
  • P 383
  • Q 429
  • R 431
  • S 465
  • T 515
  • U 531
  • V 537
  • W 553
  • Y 579
  • Z 581
  • Appendix of Names 587
  • Index 637
  • Contributors 673
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