The Evolution of Vampires in Literature

The Evolution of Vampires in Literature

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  1. Before becoming the ever-popular fiction characters of romance and horror books that they currently are, vampires were first seen primarily in eighteenth century poems. However, back then they were much less human-like, lacked any emotion, and were a lot more terrifying than in the more recent depictions.

    Classics written in the 1800’s such as The Vampyre by John William Polidori and Bram Stoker’s Dracula have served as some of the most influential works for the vampire writers of today. But what was once believed to be a terrifying truth to people living in that era has become a supernatural craving for fiction readers of all types.

    The History of Vampires in Literature

    Early vampire literature was based on the belief that vampires were very real. In the 1720s and 1730s the bodies of suspected vampires were actually exhumed and decapitated to ensure that they couldn’t return to the land of the living and terrorize local villages.

    Among the earliest testimonials of vampires in history is the report of Kameralprovisor Frombald in which he states that after exhuming and examining the corpse of suspected vampire Peter Plogojowitz, his body was staked for having shown characteristics associated with vampires such as new skin and fingernails, remnants of blood in the mouth, and recent hair and beard growth.

    Throughout the nineteenth century, vampire stories became all the more popular with the publication of such classics as The Skeleton Count by Elizabeth Caroline Grey, which is said to be the first vampire story written by a woman, and Sharidan le Fanu’s Carmilla– a classic novella featuring a vampire with lesbian tendencies, as well as Dracula, which still remains the most iconic in vampire lore.

    The twentieth century brought even more popularity to vampire literature with the introduction of vampires into the science fiction, romance fiction, and fantasy fiction genres. In addition, the first appearance of vampire epics became widely popular by authors such as Marilyn Ross and Anne Rice.

    Today vampires have evolved into conventional sexual roles in various erotic stories and paranormal romance novels such as Christine Feehan’s Dark series, Lynsay Sands Argeneau Vampires, and Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga, all of which feature extraordinarily good looking vampires males as lead characters.

    While over the years many things have changed in the vampire fiction genre, several characteristics remain the same. Vampires still require blood to sustain their lives, and do not require human food or drink of any kind. The most often used defense against a vampire remains to be garlic, holy water, and a crucifix, as well as the traditional method of a wooden stake through the heart or decapitation to kill one.

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