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Haunting Readerly Desire: Vampiric Reading, Writing, and Communication in Dracula


Presentation title with formatting

Haunting Readerly Desire: Vampiric Reading, Writing, and Communication in Dracula

Presentation author(s)

Qiongyi Feng ’23, Chongqing, China

Major: Undeclared

Abstract

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) is a vampiric book, not only because its subject is vampires, but also because even its tiniest details are tainted by a vampiric tinge and can be viewed through the narrative logic of vampirism. Dracula is a collage of various written shards: its narrative is structured as a collection of diaries, letters, telegrams, and newspaper clippings, and the interaction among characters relies on the circulation of these different media. In this sense, Stoker’s characters are “writers” of their own novel. Meanwhile, all of these writers are predestined to “read” others’ texts, which serve as the only means of communication in the novel.

In addition, my project broadens our definition of “vampiric reading” into a readerly desire shared with the audience of the book. Stoker brilliantly establishes a vampire-host relationship with his readers: on the one hand, he makes us voracious vampires who devour private texts with growing voyeurism; on the other hand, he transforms us into victims, whose drive to read is inspired by his thrilling writing and ageless vampiric icon – Dracula.

Sponsor

Tamara Ketabgian

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