TitleThe decadent vampire
NameSpatola, Justine J. (author), Ledoux, Ellen Malenas (chair), Martin, Timothy (co-chair), Rutgers University, Camden Graduate School,
Vampires in literature,
Decadence (Literary movement)
DescriptionJohn William Polidori published "The Vampyre" in 1819, and, as the first person to author a work of English vampire fiction, he ultimately established the modern image of the aristocratic vampire, which writers such as Bram Stoker later borrowed. The literary vampire, exemplified by Lord Ruthven, reveals the influence of Burkean aesthetics; however, the vampire's portrayal as a degenerate nobleman and his immense popularity with readers also ensured that he would have a tremendous impact on nineteenth century culture. "The Vampyre" foreshadows the more socially-aware Gothic literature of the Victorian period, but the story's glorification of the perverse vampire also presents a challenge to traditional morality. This essay explores the influence of the literary vampire not just on broader aspects of nineteenth century culture but also its influence on the Decadent Movement (focusing on the works of writers such as Charles Baudelaire, Théophile Gautier, and Oscar Wilde) in order to show how it reflects the decadent abnormal. In doing so, however, this essay also questions whether decadence ought to be understood as a nineteenth century European phenomenon, as opposed to a movement that was confined to the late Victorian period; the beliefs shared by decadent writers often originated in Romanticism, and the Romantics' fascination with the supernatural suggests that they were perhaps as interested in perverse themes as the Decadents.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Justine J. Spatola
CollectionCamden Graduate School Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.