Vampires first entered the pop culture arena with Bram Stoker's 1897 novel, Dracula. Today, vampires are everywhere. From Buffy the Vampire Slayer to the Twilight Saga to HBO's True Blood series, pop culture can't get enough of the vampire phenomenon. Bringing her literary expertise to this timely subject, Susannah Clements reveals the roots of the vampire myth and shows how it was originally immersed in Christian values and symbolism. Over time, however, vampires have been "defanged" as their spiritual significance has waned, and what was once the embodiment of evil has turned into a teen idol and the ultimate romantic hero. Clements offers a close reading of selected vampire texts, explaining how this transformation occurred and helping readers discern between the variety of vampire stories presented in movies, TV shows, and novels. Her probing engagement of the vampire metaphor enables readers to make Christian sense of this popular obsession.
Susannah Clements (PhD, University of South Carolina) is associate professor and chair of the Department of Language and Literature at Regent University, Virginia. She contributed to the Dictionary of Literary Biography and has presented papers and taught courses on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Jane Eyre, and J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. She is a British literature specialist whose research interests include nineteenth-century literature, popular culture, and the genre of fantasy.
"This book is so entertaining that you might almost miss how good the theology is. Give this book to anyone you know who loves vampire stories. They will not only thank you but they will also find spiritual depths they never knew existed." --Stephen H. Webb, professor of religion and philosophy, Wabash College
It's indisputable that vampires are au courant in America, but according to Clements, an associate professor at Regent University, they ain't what they used to be. In this astute survey, she argues that Christian theology, once essential to understanding the vampire, has been lost through decades of change in vampire characterization, effectively de-fanging the vampire of meaningful theological bite. Clements begins with the iconic monster Dracula, a repulsive creature who represented the power of sin and evil in the Christian metanarrative. Moving through such subsequent incarnations as the vampires of Anne Rice, Joss Whedon (in Buffy and Angel), and Charlaine Harris (the Sookie Stackhouse mysteries on which True Blood is based), Clements chronicles a gradual secularization and social acceptance of vampires. By the time Stephenie Meyer stops hearts with Edward Cullen, the vampire is no longer a grotesque cautionary tale of humanity gone wrong but the apotheosis of humanity, a beautiful angel who stands above humankind. Clements writes well and persuasively as she argues that "vampires are more than just monsters to us," demonstrating that now, as ever, the vampire represents our darkest anxieties and most ardent desires. (Mar.) Copyright 2011 Reed Business Information.