Date of Degree

12-2005

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Program

English

Advisor

Hector Perez

Advisor

Emily Clark

Advisor

Patricia Lonchar

Advisor

John Perry

Abstract

M. H. Abrams explains that postmodern authors "blend literary genres, cultural and stylistic levels, the serious and the playful, [and] that they resist classification according to traditional literary rubrics". Bram Stoker and Anne Rice both fall into this category of postmodernism. Bram Stoker puts his own spin on the literary vampire, changing the vampire from an aristocratic figure into a monster and adding such features as shape-shifting. He also utilizes various styles throughout the novel under the pretense of several different narrators and narration sources, since Dracula is an epistolary novel that combines the different characters' journals, letters, and even newspaper clippings. Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire is also considered to be postmodern with the anti-hero, Louis, who questions traditional moral and societal boundaries. Rice's work transcends the traditional mythology of the vampire as she rewrites myth and history. The purpose of this thesis is to examine these two major vampire novels from a postmodern perspective, utilizing various different literary theories. In the process, these arguments will relate the vampire to society. The thesis will open with a discussion of Victorian societal fears of de-evolution and reverse imperialism in Dracula. Issues related to feminism, gender studies, and sexuality, followed by a discussion on the power-play dynamics within society and relationships will be explored in both novels. In order to balance out the discussion of the novels, a final chapter on postmodernism and the rewriting of the vampire myth will focus on Rice's novel. The thesis will conclude with a discussion on the contemporary Goth subculture and its relationship to the vampire and the literary vampire. This thesis includes a filmography of several adaptations of Bram Stoker's Dracula and Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire. Due to time constraints, the filmography focuses on theatrical releases from the United States and United Kingdom, with the exception of two versions of Nosferatu. Nosferatu is included here since this production is the first major film based on Stoker's Dracula. Also included in the thesis is a list of Internet resources that readers may find helpful for their own research purposes.

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