21st November 2011: Conservative, Pro-Life Vampires

Our Vampires, Ourselves

Rosie Cross and I saw the latest Twilight movie Breaking Dawn: Part 1 on the weekend. I interpreted Stephenie Meyer‘s story in the vein of pro-life, conservative politics: Bella Swan marries Edward Cullen at 18; has tantrika-suggestive sex; and finally gives birth-in-death to an ‘immortalist’ child, Renesmee. Slate‘s review sums up what a teen angst mess Breaking Dawn is, from wedding speeches to home medical equipment.

The New Yorker’s narrative arc from Dracula to the Cullens mentions a book I reviewed over a decade ago: Nina Auerbach‘s Our Vampires, Ourselves (University of Chicago Press, Chicago IL, 1995). What Auerbach captures is how vampires become the psychic projections of contemporary crises and flashpoints. It feels weird to revisit a 1996 review, courtesy of Disinformation’s site archives.