Dracula As A Metaphor for George Wickham – Blood Sucker versus Fortune Hunter.

Yesterday I said that there was much written about Vampire Sexuality; written with a great deal of research and scholarly intent. One such piece at Answers.com, The Vampire Book: Sexuality and the Vampire (http://www.answers.com/topic/sexuality-and-the-vampire) is particularly readable.

The history of a sexual association is discussed, … through the folklore of the Gypsies and their neighbors, the southern Slavs. For example, corpses dug up as suspected vampires occasionally were reported to have an erection. Gypsies thought of the vampire as a sexual entity. The male vampire was believed to have such an intense sexual drive that his sexual need alone was sufficient to bring him back from the grave.

Russian folklore, Greek mythology and Malaysian folklore all have similar beings who are sexual.  Russian lore of the vampire appearing as a young stranger crosses the gender line in the La Fanu story Carmilla.  Carmilla tries to seduce young women. Dracula’s sexuality is implied through his defilement of both of the “good” women in the story.  The article points out that the vampire is really an extension of the Victorian literary character type, the rake. Yes, you read it here folks, Dracula is a blood sucking George Wickham ( from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice). The female counterpart is the Vamp, a term from the 1920’s used to describe women who flaunted convention.  Needless to say, a rake has a higher position than a vamp who in polite society is ruined while a man is simply sowing his wild oats.

Recently NPR featured a story with Margot Adler (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123115545) about “good vampires” as a literary  and social phenomenon, so it is not only sexual attraction, good looks and the like that are becoming more and more part of the vampire mystique, nor does making the vampire good (not killing their “donors” and not turning people at all or only with their permission or only as a final measure), de-sex them.  Although the Twilight series is chaste, with the main characters only consummating their relationship after marriage, it is still sexy.  The kiss-scene from the first film gives me butterflies of a teenager on her first date.  The defunct series Moonlight features a detective vampire who is bent on preventing unwilling blood donation and who is trying to “un-vampire” himself.  The Argeneaus don’t like to be called vampires, preferring “immortals” but none the less, they have a strict code against biting except under special circumstances, but the sex scenes in this Lindsay Sands series are blisteringly hot (if somewhat repetitive after the first few installments.  The same holds for the Love at Stake series and Lara Adrian’s Midnight Breed Series. The True Blood and Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mysteries series is less clear cut — it has the battle for good and bad engaging vampires, were-beings, faerie, and human — but, the books had reasonably erotic scenes and the HBO series is a bit warmer still.  Videogum, among many sources, believe that True Blood is a metaphor for the current homophobia issues in America. http://videogum.com/23001/how_much_worse_can_the_true_bl/everyones-a-critic/

In the NPR story a colleague, Eric Nuzum posits that the vampire is a mirror of a period’s society.  In that case while a vampire like Edward oozes brooding sexiness, we seek an immortal with financial stability and family values.  I have often explained Edward’s attraction for women my age as “He’s handsome, polite, rich, does the dishes, and doesn’t expect sex!”

What is most apparent is that blood sharing in sex, is a fast, sure road to orgasm.  Forget the g-spot, the p-spot or any other spot, heck even forget vibrators, in vampire sex, it’s the neck, the upper chest the wrist or the femoral that are the most erogenous body parts. In some traditions, this is a way to make the process painless and even ecstatic, in others it is a sign of a a spiritual bond.  In the bond lies redemption or at least affirmation. Where in stories like Twilight blood sharing is not a factor in others it is vital

There is another excellent article in the Times Online.  Entertaining and well-written, if plagiarism were not illegal I would have simply reproduced it here.  In explaining the reason vampires are so prevalent Wendy Ide writes:

That appetite for tales of undead bloodsuckers has led to more than 200 film versions of Stoker’s Dracula alone, not to mention bizarre vampire-themed spin-offs and subgenres by the coffin load (including vampire pornography, vampire blaxploitation, vampire stripper films and lesbian vampire movies).

Ultimately the sheer volume and variety of the vampire genre comes down to the fact that the vampire myth is so versatile in its symbolism. The vampire is a shape-shifter that can take the form of society’s fears at any particular time. Thus in the 1920s an emancipated, sexually aggressive young woman, unsettling for society, was labelled a “vamp”; her wicked ways would leach the very manhood from her unfortunate victim. Later on, the vampire would come to symbolise, among other things, Aids and drug addiction (Abel Ferrera’s The Addiction) but it could also represent the allure of the outlaw or rebel, the cool gang to which everyone secretly wanted to belong, as in Joel Schumacher’s The Lost Boys. But most of all the vampire represents the outsider, and by extension every confused, misfit teenager in the world.   http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article4523559.ece (8/14/2008)

Speaking of Lost Boys, maybe I will look more into what one article calls the queering of the vampire.  Is homoeroticism more prevalent in vampire literature than other romantic or erotic literature or urban fantasy?

What do you think?  And do you feel this is an important part of vampire allure (that which sells books, movies and little Bella and Edward action figures)?

Thanks for reading and I hope you are well and happy!