Open Graves, Open Minds: Vampires and the Undead in Modern Culture
16-18 April 2010, University of Hertfordshire, UK
The irony of creatures with no reflection becoming such a pervasive reflection of modern culture pleases in a dark way. Since their animation out of folk materials in the nineteenth century, by Polidori, as Varney and in Le Fanu and Stoker, vampires have been continually reborn in modern culture. They have stalked texts from Marx’s image of the leeching capitalist, through Pater’s Lady Lisa of tainted knowledge, to the multifarious incarnations in contemporary fictions in print and on screen. They have enacted a host of anxieties and desires, shifting shape as the culture they are brought to life in itself changes form. More recently, their less charismatic undead cousins, zombies, have been dug up in droves to represent various fears and crises in contemporary culture.The aim of the conference is to relate the undead in literature, art, and other media to questions concerning gender, technology, consumption, and social change. It will provide an interdisciplinary forum for the development of innovative and creative research and examine these creatures in all their various manifestations and cultural meanings.
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