Date of Completion

Spring 5-7-2011

Thesis Advisor(s)

Mary Burke

Honors Major



English Language and Literature | Literature in English, British Isles | Literature in English, North America


Vampires are the latest fad to appear on pop-culture’s radar, dominating literature, film, and television, but this is not the first time they have latched onto the public consciousness. These bloodsuckers have been a constant presence in literature and film since the 1897 publication of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, arguably the most influential vampire text of all time. Even before Dracula, vampires permeated Eastern European folklore, supposedly terrorizing small rustic communities in the dark of the night and acting as scapegoats for almost anything the locals could neither change nor understand. Since that time, vampires have represented society’s fears about the unknown “other,” and over the past one hundred years, they have evolved from immoral and inhuman monsters to undead humans who point out the monstrosities of living humans themselves. By examining the evil monsters in John Polidori’s “The Vampyre” (1819) and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), the semi-sympathetic creatures in Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend (1954) and Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire (1976), and the immortal victims in Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire series (2001-present) and John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In (2004), these fears and the progression from monster to human will become clear.