Vampirism: A Secular, Visceral Religion of Paradoxical Aesthetics
Vampire stories and folklores have originated from a range of sources; however, it is rather certain that the repulsive but attractive vampiric monster images in present popular culture are primarily derived from Anne Rice’s novel Interview with the Vampire. That being said, it was around the end of the eighteenth century that vampires first invaded the popular literary world, with literary vampires growing noticeably more powerful and perpetual than any of their monstrous predecessors in the years since the publication of John Polidori’s successful short story The Vampyre in 1819 (Punter and Byron 2004, 268). Due to associated aesthetic transformations, vampirism itself has become increasingly popular, to the extent that it now commands some followers who even worship vampiric rituals and lifestyles in spite of there being no solid, physical evidence of actual vampires, but rather only literary and imaginary examples of the creatures. In order to grasp how this fascination with vampires has turned into a quasi-religious phenomenon and ideology, a proper investigation of vampiric mechanisms and aesthetics should be empirical in nature. Utilizing Interview with the Vampire as an example due to its clearly substantial influence on current vampire imagery, this article examines how the paradoxical interchange between aversion and attraction plays its role in the visceral religion of the vampire-immersed world.
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