Bite Me

Back in my college days, the most interesting class I took was an English class, Romantic Poetry. Romantic as in Romantic period, not romantic as in romance. Romantic as in Lord Byron, John Keats, and Percy Shelley.

One of Finola’s classes for next term is entitled Bite Me: The Cultural and Critical Uses of the Vampire. What? This is considered a comparative literature course? And we’re paying for this?

But then I read the course description.

This course addresses vampire beliefs and their proliferation in cultural forms since the first legends of the undead in Europe and in cultures around the world. What have vampires been made to signify? Starting with early vampire myths and recent anthropological interpretations, we will move historically and thematically through a range of works, considering how vampires have been shaped as carriers of history and genealogy, symptoms of religious and class anxiety, central figures of postcolonial critique, polymorphous sexual identity and addiction, and challengers to prevailing ideologies of gender and sexuality, HIV/AIDS, and immigration as cultural invasion. Theoretical and critical readings will be central.

For someone who wants to major in anthropology, it makes more sense after reading the course description. And the fact that she’s read Bram Stoker’s Dracula several times just for fun can only help.


  1. I think learning more about any subject is a good thing, but you know what really gets my goat? It's the portrayal today of the vampire acts as somehow a good thing to do. Look at the really young teenagers that think, "Yeah, let's do that", and the problems, health and otherwise that result. Crazy. It's all the same as the so-called stars of today with their lives out of control and youngsters thinking they are just so darn neat. Well, I can see I'm traveling way off the path now. Sorry 'bout that. On the plus side, I wish there had been subjects like that and others when I was in school. My years way back then were soooo regular and predictable.

  2. I was about to say something so similar to Jenny that I have just decided to say..." me too"! with emphasis!

  3. After many years of school I have concluded that teachers are more important than course titles. As such I would choose the most interesting and most talented teachers regardless of what the course content was.

  4. Laoch is SO right. I often notice that course (and serious book and article) titles have to 'grab' you - then they can get down to the good stuff.
    A problem seems to be that when something comes into fashion, (psychology, hippy-dom, vampires,...) it gets dumbed down and popularized until it is just a sort of cheap 'wannabe' caricature of something that started out complex, nuanced and meaningful to a lot of people. I thing that we are pretty much dealing with McVampires by now.