By Erik Butler
For the final 300 years, fictions of the vampire have fed off anxieties approximately cultural continuity. even though more often than not represented as a parasitic aggressor from with out, the vampire is in reality a local of Europe, and its "metamorphoses," to cite Baudelaire, a distorted snapshot of social transformation. as the vampire grows powerful every time and anywhere traditions weaken, its representations have accelerated with each political, fiscal, and technological revolution from the eighteenth century on. this day, within the age of globalization, vampire fictions are extra virulent than ever, and the monster enjoys looking grounds as mammoth because the foreign market.
Metamorphoses of the Vampire explains why representations of vampirism started within the eighteenth century, flourished within the 19th, and got here to eclipse approximately all different kinds of monstrosity within the early 20th century. a number of the works through French and German authors mentioned right here have by no means been offered to scholars and students within the English-speaking international. whereas there are lots of very good stories that learn Victorian vampires, the undead in cinema, modern vampire fictions, and the vampire in folklore, beforehand no paintings has tried to account for the unifying common sense that underlies the vampire's many and infrequently it sounds as if contradictory types.
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Additional resources for Metamorphoses of the Vampire in Literature and Film: Cultural Transformations in Europe, 1732-1933
The amazement that Frombald and Flückinger record stemmed in large part from the insubordination of the peasants. The former states in his account that “the people grew more outraged than distressed” when he attempted to intervene: the officer feared that the villagers might turn their rage on him if he did not permit them to destroy the vampire. For the duration of the vampire extermination ritual, relations of power between hajduks and imperial officers were reversed: rustics brushed aside the representatives of the Habsburgs and professed an understanding of events to which Frombald and Flückinger, however reluctantly, deferred.
42 Forsaking sideways glances at each other, the rustics focused their ambient discontent and personal aggression upon an enemy recognized by everyone in the village as a fitting target for righteous violence. The ritualized extermination of the vampire, an embodiment of social chaos and contagion, offered the salutary illusion that there was a cause of problems within the community that might be eliminated to the benefit of all — a view preferable to admitting that everyone was powerless. The destruction of a common, domestic enemy who had been contaminated by foreign influence promised a return to normal.
When Luther decried the Pope as the Antichrist in the 1500s, he was being quite serious. His followers in the following centuries likewise saw the Devil and his agents as real forces. Protestants, as much as Catholics, based their claims for organizing human affairs on metaphysics. The vampire reports offered them, too, an opportunity to argue theology and politics. Thus, after reviewing a copy of the Flückinger document, the members of the Prussian Academy of Sciences shared the following sarcasm with their patron, King Friedrich Wilhelm I: Es ist gewiß, daß die ERscheinung [sic] dieser Blutsauger, auch worinne selbige bestanden, [im Bericht] mit nichts dargethan und wir keine Spuren davon in der Historie, und in den hiesigen so wenig als andern Evangelischen Landen iemahls gefunden.