Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

5-2022

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

English

Degree Program

English, MA

Committee Chair

Lutz, Deborah

Committee Member

Hadley, Karen

Committee Member

Story, Kaila

Author's Keywords

gothic fiction; queer theory; vampire fiction and film; media studies; adaptation studies; medical humanities

Abstract

It is now an almost foregone conclusion that classic depictions of vampirism resonate with contemporary queer audiences. A sympathetic response to the monster’s persecution is often the key factor in these arguments, yet little attention is paid to the textual details that prompt such a process of identification. This study posits that the iconography used to establish a connection between monstrosity and non-normative sexuality has its origins in Victorian Gothic fiction, whose descriptions of vampirism were assimilated into the discourse of the fin-de-siècle medical field known as sexology. Theories that defined homosexuality as an illness with physical and psychological symptoms in turn influenced Late Victorian vampire literature and its translation into twentieth-century cinematic and televisual content. An analysis of these adaptations shows how a readily accessible assemblage of grotesque Gothic symbology and popular scientific ideology help constitute a secure space for exploring queer identity I have termed the “glass coffin.”

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