Literature of Horror, Fantasy & Sci-Fi

Course Blog for LMST345 Ringling College of Art

Over the last hundred and fifty years the representation of the vampire has shifted from merciless monster of the evil dead, through suave continental lover, to troubled boyfriend from a dysfunctional family. What makes vampires so sexy? Is it because they want something more than sex? Has the vampire become the representation of a male who really understands women and will listen to what they want? What's with all the high school girl vampires these days? The Vampire seems to have completely evolved into a gender neutral concept.

Reading Assignment: This week's featured novel, Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire, transformed and familiarized the concept of the vampire and radically altered the context of the vampire story. 
If you have read Anne Rice or you wish to sample the vampires of the moment, alternatively, you can try reading Vampire Academy, the first work in two series of books and a recent film based in the vampire world of Richelle Mead. These are the featured works we are discussing this week along with a number of vampire movies.

The contemporary vampire tale has become a means of exploring a relationship with a complex and contradictory character, revitalizing the plot of forbidden love. In your reading for the week what pairs of  ideas or representations does the author place in opposition to one another? Does the author seem to privilege one set of ideas or values over the other? What set of values does the vampire represent? Are those the dominant or privileged ideas advanced in the work? How does the story you read embody larger arguments about values in human society? Does the work seem to express a simple morality on the surface, but a more complex moral environment once one considers the issues at more depth? What values does the work really seem to portray? 

This week's required movie is Only Lovers Left Alive directed by Jim Jarmusch or alternatively, Neil Jordan's Byzantium which we will be seeing a selection from in class. Please check the course resources page and the syllabus for alternative texts. 

If you have not yet created your blog and/or sent me the url for it so I can link it to this course blog, please do so now.

The image above is by Edvard Munch is often called "The Vampire" because of a critic who saw that theme in the work. But Munch's title for the work was "Love and Pain," the woman comforting the man whose head she cradles, not sucking his blood.



Next week we will talk about J-Horror, the various themes of horror and macabre events that we associate with storytelling from Japan, especially the recent wave of popular horror films. The featured work is a contemporary ghost story by Haruki Murakami, one of Japan's major writers, entitled A Wild Sheep Chase. The recommended alternative choice is Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things by Lafcadio Hearn. Another possible book to read might be Battle Royale: The Novel by Koushun Takami.
Panels from Joss Whedon's Buffy The Vampire Slayer Comic

0 comments:

Post a Comment

Course Blogs for Spring 2017

Course Blogs for Fall 2016

Class Blogs for Spring 2016

Class Blogs for Fall 2015

Class Blogs for Spring 2015

Class Blogs for Fall 2014

Class Blogs for Spring 2013

Class Blogs for Spring 2012

Class Blogs for Fall 2011

Class Blogs Fall 2010