Psychoanalysis and Sovereignty in Popular Vampire Fictions

Author: Powell, Anna
Year:2003
Pages:316
ISBN:0-7734-6831-5
978-0-7734-6831-3
Price:219.95
This book explores the uncanny modalities of eroticism in vampire literature and film. It critiques the predominant approaches to a body of texts which depict sovereignty and the will to power, and considers the shortcomings of the overwhelming focuses on sexuality in current Gothic studies, present the vampire instead as a popular cultural version of transgressive human sovereignty. The theoretical trajectory interfaces literary, cinematic, cultural studies, and continental philosophy, and engages with psychoanalysis, and proposes a metaphysics of vampire fantasy.

Reviews

“…presents a lucid, rich and scholarly contribution to the fields of ‘gothic’ studies and the study of the vampire in popular culture. Through the innovative application of a range of discursive paradigms, she has achieved a complex and resonant interlacing of transgression, eroticism, perversity, the sublime and textual pleasures, the meanings of which are interrogated through close analysis of a range of vampire fictions…. Her argument that the vampire of recent film and popular texts, such as the novels of Anne Rice and cinematic vampires, is directly indebted to the libertine figure in 18th century literature is innovative and compellingly argued….She accomplishes an impressive intervention in current debates on the meanings of erotic fictions for a gendered readership, her arguments are subtle and balanced, aided by her considerable knowledge of and research in the field. What is particularly valuable is the effective integration of discourses from a range of sources, including philosophy, critical theory, gender, literary and media studies… which will prove interesting to academics working in a number of disciplines.” – Tanya Kryzwinska, Brunel University

“Most authors writing on the subject of vampires and vampirism use feminist psychoanalytic theory to help us understand western culture’s ongoing fascination with this motif; Powell, however, goes much further…. uses the work of Freud and Nietzsche to theorize what she describes as ‘the numinous excess of eroticism’ from a materialist frame. Especially original is her Nietzschean reading…One of the best things about this manuscript is its enormous range of references and allusions. Powell is at home discussing Nietzsche and Bataille as she is analyzing pop culture, film and television shows. This huge range of cultural references makes the manuscript accessible not only to academics but also to graduate students, undergraduates, as well as the intelligent horror movie buff with a special interest in vampires.” - Mikita Brottman, Maryland Institute College of Art

"This is a piercing analysis of the way in which fantasy can engage with the dynamic of Lack and Plenitude." - British Association for Romantic Studies

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Preface
Introduction: The Sacred, the Secular, and the Numinous
1. Vampires, Pleasure and Transgression: Vampire Fiction Today
2. The Vampire Libertine as Sovereign Subject: Sadiean Gothic and Libertine Vampires; The Metaphysics of Blasphemy; Sadeian Women
3. The Perverse Fantastic: The Lesbian Vampire as Pervert; The Crimson Countess; The Perverse World of Hammer Horror; Mysterical Raptures-The Joys of St. Teresa; A Jouissance beyond the Phallus – Lacan and His Critics; “A Taste of Joy, Wild Beyond Words”
4. The Gothic Erotic: From Bodice-Rippers to Black Lace; Gothic as Porn/Porn as Gothic; Rice as Pornographer; Anne Rice’s Theatre of Cruelty; Activating Porn - The Dynamics of Reading; Getting it in the Neck – The Film Version; Erotic Play as Gender Transgression; Pleasure and Punishment; Nietszche and the Whip
5. The Vampiric Metaphysic: The Nietzschean Overman as Vampire; Living in the Past; Becoming Dionysian; The Will to Power of Vampire; Ligeia and the Mysteries of the Will; Fantasy, Repetition, and the Eternal Return
Conclusion: Lack and Beyond
Bibliography; Filmography; Index