Saturday, February 20, 2010

Vampires everywhere, oh my! What does it mean?

Like a lot of us, Margot Adler over at NPR has been pondering the question: Why are so many vampires popping up in books, movies and on TV these days? And why are they morally conflicted, sometimes even do-gooders? To find out, she read 75 vampire novels, classic and contemporary, and came up with some interesting insights.

The principle observation of Adler’s entertaining essay is that interest in vampire stories surges in times of uncertainty, “used again and again to speak to our fears and concerns.”

The vampire or something like it can be found in most cultures and folklore going back to the beginning of time, but it’s a mistake to think they have all the familiar attributes of Count Dracula. The idea –and the term “vampire” — began to appear in literature in the 18th century. Heinrich August Ossenfelder’s 1748 poem “Der Vampir” may be the first. (You can read it here–and trust me, it’s worth a look).

read on Florida Center for the Arts here