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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : English Literature

Undergraduate Course: Fear and Fascination: Vampire Literature in the Long Nineteenth Century (ENLI10433)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryWhat do vampires tell us about our deepest concerns in life? What do they tell us about the collective anxieties of the 19th century, but also about its ambitions, and various modes of subversion? This course provides an exploration of the emergence and development of vampire literature in the nineteenth century. Drawing on approaches derived from monster theory, it places the fearsome yet fascinating image of the vampire at the core of literary enquiry, to ask what vampires tell us about 19th-century society, from medical and scientific progress, to religion and theology, and through to explorations of gender and sexuality, and questions of race and ethnicity.

We will read a series of key texts of vampire literature in the nineteenth century, setting some of the classics of vampire fictions side by side with lesser-known texts, to understand the literary vampire as a valuable literary and historiographical tool in the study of the nineteenth century.
Course description What can we learn about the 19th century by studying literary vampires? From Polidori's Lord Ruthven through to the infamous Count Dracula, vampires act as literary metaphors through which authors and readers alike think through their identities, and make sense of a rapidly-changing world. This course explores the birth and evolution of the literary vampire in literature in English.

In this course, we will work together to understand and analyse vampire literature, using close readings, theory and criticism, to investigate the versatility of the vampire figure, and to showcase its epistemological value.


Introductory Lecture: The Literary Vampire: Birth, Evolution, Un-Death

1. Introductory Seminar: 'Visum et repertum', Johaness Fluckinger (1732)
2. Vampiric Poetics, and the Tropes of the Un-Dead: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 'Christabel' (1801)
3. Early Iterations: John Polidori, 'The Vampyre' (1819)
4. Defining the Genre: extracts from James Rymer, Varney the Vampire; or the Feast of Blood (1847)
5. Vampire Necromancy: William Gilbert, 'The Last Lords of Gardonal' (1867)
6. Vampire Sexualities: J.S. Le Fanu, 'Carmilla' (1872)
7. Representations of Womanhood and the Menopausal Vampire: Mary Elizabeth Braddon, 'Good Lady Ducayne' (1896)
8. Medicine, Magic, and Religion: Bram Stoker, Dracula (1897)
9. Vampires, Race, and Empire: Florence Marryat, The Blood of the Vampire (1897)
10. Forbidden Knowledge: M.R. James, Lost Hearts (1895), Count Magnus (1904)

Note: Materials on the course are readily available, either in print or as e-resources.

Student Learning Experience

This course is taught principally through weekly two-hour seminars. The first week will include a lecture, where you will learn about the origins of the vampire myth, and how it became popular in England and Ireland. We will then go on to read key vampire texts from the long 19th century, focusing on how each addresses specific concerns, while also tracing the thread of the genre from one seminar to the next. During seminars, we will draw on ALG work and we will close-read passages from the text, as we set about understanding and revising key ideas. The mid-semester essay will assess knowledge and understanding of the materials discussed thus far (up to and including Gilbert). During this first half of the course, we will understand the context of the emergence and the definition of the genre.

In the second half of the course, we'll analyse and explore primarily late-Victorian depictions of the vampire, and how the genre changes as we approach the turn of the century. We will follow the same pattern of seminar discussion, and we will continue to refer back to the first part of the course so as to thread through our historical understanding of the vampire figure. The end-of-semester essay will assess knowledge and understanding of vampire literature and its contexts. The final essay will be broader in scope than the mid-semester, requiring an understanding of the range of applications of the vampire figure to historical and literary contexts.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% Coursework

Mid-semester: 1 x 2000-word essay critically engaging with any of the works from the first half of the course (30%)

End of semester: 1 x 3000-word essay on vampire literature during the long 19th-century, using material from across the whole course. This essay should be broader in scope than the mid-semester essay, and demonstrate depth as well as range. (70%)
Feedback This course will present students to new, historically-informed, and critically-driven approaches to a topic that is popular and might seem well-known. Therefore, it will carefully provide a high and sustained level of feedback throughout.

ALG reports in this course will be accompanied by a) peer feedback during the seminar and b) seminar leader feedback in the form of in-class verbal feedback tailored to support knowledge and understanding based on an assessment of students' learning needs

Students will be encouraged to seek feedback during tutors' office hours

Formative feedback in response to the mid-semester essay will be provided

Feedback will be returned in a timely manner to inform the end-of-semester essay
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the history and development of vampire literature in the long 19th century.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of Gothic criticism and monster theory, and apply them to an analysis of vampire literature.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of historical context and its relationship to vampire literature.
  4. Reflect critically on key debates in critical discourse.
Reading List

Braddon, Mary Elizabeth. 'Good Lady Ducayne', in Richard Dalby (ed.) Dracula's Brood: Rare Vampire Stories. London: Harper Collins, 2016.

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, in The Complete Poetical Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Including Poems and Versions of Poems Now Published for the First Time, Vol. 1: Poems. Vol. 1. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1912.

Flückinger, Johannes, 'Visum et Repertum' in Barber, Paul (ed.).'Vampires, Burial, and Death: Folklore and Reality / Paul Barber. New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press, 2010.

Gilbert, William. 'Last Lords of Gardonal', in Richard Dalby (ed.) Dracula's Brood: Rare Vampire Stories. London: Harper Collins, 2016.

James. M.R. James, M. R. (Montague Rhodes). The Penguin Complete Ghost Stories of M.R. James. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1984.

Le Fanu, Joseph Sheridan. 'Carmilla', in In a Glass Darkly / Sheridan Le Fanu; Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Robert Tracy. Edited by Robert Tracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Marryat, Florence. The Blood of the Vampire. Greta Deplege (ed.). Brighton: Victorian Secrets 2010

Polidori, John. 'The Vampyre', in The Vampyre, and Other Tales of the Macabre / John Polidori [ [and Others]]; Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Robert Morrison and Chris Baldick. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Prest, Thomas Peckett, and James Malcolm Rymer. Varney the Vampire; Or, the Feast of Blood. Project Gutenberg, n.d.

Stoker, Bram. Dracula. Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Roger Luckhurst. [New ed.]. Oxford; Oxford University Press, 2011.


Auerbach, Nina. Our Vampires, Ourselves / Nina Auerbach. Chicago; University of Chicago Press, 1995.

Bainbridge, Simon. '"Lord Ruthven's Power: Polidori's The Vampyre, Doubles and the Byronic Imagination." Byron journal 34, no. 1 (2006): 21-34.

Cameron, Brooke. "Domestic Plots and Class Reform in Varney the Vampire." Victorian popular fictions 4, no. 2 (2023): 47-62

Crawford, Heide. The Origins of the Literary Vampire / Heide Crawford. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016.

Edmundson, Melissa. "Generations of the Female Vampire: Colonial Gothic Hybridity in Florence Marryat's The Blood of the Vampire." In Women's Colonial Gothic Writing, 1850-1930, 73-94. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2018.

Groom, Nick. "Polidori's 'The Vampyre': Composition, Publication, Deception." Romanticism (Edinburgh) 28, no. 1 (2022): 46-59.

Groom, Nick. The Vampire: A New History / Nick Groom. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018.

Hackenberg, Sara. "Vampires and Resurrection Men: The Perils and Pleasures of the Embodied Past in 1840s Sensational Fiction." Victorian studies 52, no. 1 (2009): 63-75.

Haekel, Ralf. "Lost in Media: John Polidori's Vampyre as a Serial Figure in Romantic Popular Culture." In The Lost Romantics, 171-187. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2020.

Hughes, Bill, and Sam George, eds. "Open Graves, Open Minds: Representations of Vampires and the Undead from the Enlightenment to the Present Day / Edited by Sam George and Bill Hughes. In Open Graves, Open Minds: Representations of Vampires and the Undead from the Enlightenment to the Present Day. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2015.

Hughes, William, and Andrew Smith. Bram Stoker: History, Psychoanalysis and the Gothic / Edited by William Hughes and Andrew Smith. Basingstoke: Macmillan Press, 1998.

Ifill, Helena. "Florence Marryat's The Blood of the Vampire (1897): Negotiating Anxieties of Genre and Gender at the Fin de Siècle." Victorian popular fictions (2019): 80-99.

Luckhurst, Roger. The Cambridge Companion to 'Dracula. Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Macdonald, David Lorne. Poor Polidori: A Critical Biography of the Author of The Vampire. Poor Polidori. Toronto [Ont.]: University of Toronto Press, 1991.

Milbank, Alison. God & the Gothic: Religion, Romance, & Reality in the English Literary Tradition / Alison Milbank. First edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.

O'Malley, Patrick R. Catholicism, Sexual Deviance, and Victorian Gothic Culture / Patrick R. O'Malley. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Paxton, Amanda. "Mothering by Other Means: Parasitism and J. Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla." Interdisciplinary studies in literature and environment 28, no. 1 (2021): 166-185.

Potter, Madeline. "Body and Blood: Literary Vampirism at the Intersection of Theological Hunger and Physical Waste." Literature and medicine 40, no. 1 (2022): 147-166.

Sage, Victor. Le Fanu's Gothic: The Rhetoric of Darkness / Victor Sage. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

Senf, Carol A. The Vampire in Nineteenth-Century English Literature / [Carol A. Senf]. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1988.

Stiles, Anne. Popular Fiction and Brain Science in the Late Nineteenth Century / Anne Stiles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

The Monster Theory Reader, ed. Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2020.

Thomas, Ardel. Queer Others in Victorian Gothic: Transgressing Monstrosity / Ardel Haefele-Thomas. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2012.

Tomaiuolo, Saverio. "Reading between the (Blood)Lines of Victorian Vampires: 'Good Lady Ducayne.' " In In Lady Audley's Shadow, 60-76. Edinburgh University Press, 2010.

Twitchell, James B. The Living Dead: A Study of the Vampire in Romantic Literature / James B. Twitchell. Durham, N.C: Duke University Press, 1987.

Further reading

Aoife, Dempsey. Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. Cardiff, Wales: University of Wales Press, 2022.

Asma, Stephen T. On Monsters: An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears / Stephen T. Asma. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Belfrod, Barbara. Bram Stoker: A Biography of the Author of Dracula. Kopf, 1996.

Bloom, Clive, ed. The Palgrave Handbook of Steam Age Gothic / Clive Bloom, Editor. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021.

Bloom, Clive. The Palgrave Handbook of Gothic Origins. 1st ed. Cham: Springer International Publishing AG, 2021.

Botting, Fred. Gothic / Fred Botting. London: Routledge, 1996.

Day, Peter. Vampires: Myths and Metaphors of Enduring Evil / Edited by Peter Day. Amsterdam; Rodopi, 2006.

Hirst, Sam. Theology in the Early British and Irish Gothic, 1764-1834. Anthem Press, 2023.

Horner, Avril, and Sue Zlosnik, eds. Women and the Gothic: An Edinburgh Companion / Avril Horner and Sue Zlosnik. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017.

Kibbie, Ann Louise. Transfusion: Blood and Sympathy in the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination. University of Virginia Press, 2019.

Killeen, Jarlath. Gothic Literature 1825-1914 / Jarlath Killeen. Cardiff, Wales: University of Wales Press, 2009.

Macaluso, Elizabeth D. Gender, the New Woman, and the Monster by Elizabeth D. Macaluso. 1st ed. 2019. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2019.

Palgrave Handbook of the Vampire. Springer International Publishing, 2023.

Pedlar, Valerie. "The Zoophagous Maniac: Madness and Degeneracy in Dracula." In 'The Most Dreadful Visitation': Male Madness in Victorian Fiction, 'The Most Dreadful Visitation': Male Madness in Victorian Fiction, Chapter 6. Liverpool University Press, 2006.

Potter, Madeline. "Ecumenism to Ontology: Stoker's Theology of the Host." Journal of Victorian Culture: JVC 27, no. 3 (2022): 526-541.

Punter, David., and Glennis Byron. The Gothic / David Punter and Glennis Byron. Malden, Mass.; Blackwell, 2004.

Smith, Andrew, Andrew Smith, and William Hughes. The Victorian Gothic an Edinburgh Companion / Edited by Andrew Smith and William Hughes. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012.

Sugg, Richard. Mummies, Cannibals, and Vampires: The History of Corpse Medicine from the Renaissance to the Victorians / Richard Sugg. London: Routledge, 2011.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Critical understanding of concepts

Application of specialised skills and techniques of critical analysis

Presentation and communication of ideas on a professional level
KeywordsVampires,Gothic Literature,Victorian Literature,Romanticism
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