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The Vampire Child: Predator and Prey
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Language, Literature and Intercultural Studies. (Kulturvetenskapliga forskningsmiljön (KUFO))ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7640-0639
2013 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The Vampire Child: Predator and Prey

If historically the vampire has unambiguously been cast as the sexual predator and the human being as the victim, the situation is slightly different in more recent novels featuring preteen vampire children that are eroticized by vampire or human adults. As James Kincaid observes in Erotic Innocence, in our culture stories of child molesting are among the most popular (3) – in their virus-like proliferation – and horrifying.Children are increasingly sexualized or eroticized at the same time as adults’ erotic responses to children are not only seen as criminal, but unimaginable (Kincaid 21). Kincaid points out that “[o]ur story of child molesting is a story of nightmare, the literary territory of the Gothic” (10). Not surprisingly, as the vampire novel is traditionally a gothic genre known for dealing in sexual transgressions, there are examples of incest and pedophilia in recent vampire novels. There is, for instance, the incestuous erotic relation between Claudia and her “vampire parents” Louis and Lestat in Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire (1976). Pedophilia is very much present in vampire novels such as S. P. Somtow’s Vampire Junction (1984) and John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In) (2004). Both Somtow’s Timmy and Lindqvist’s Eli have also been subjected to physical maiming: they were castrated before they were turned into vampires in a distant past. Claudia, Timmy, and Eli are moreover doomed physically to be eternal children. In this paper, by focusing on two of Somtow’s vampire characters – Timmy and Lisa – and the black vampire orphan Shori in Octavia Butler’s Fledgling (2005), I will investigate the potential of the vampire child to go beyond dichotomous representations of children. I will argue that the vampire child is another turn of the screw when it comes to ambiguous or uncanny depictions of children and their relations to adults.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013.
Keyword [en]
vampire child, pedophilia, child abuse, childhood
National Category
Humanities
Research subject
English
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-28132OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-28132DiVA, id: diva2:631562
Conference
Devils and Dolls: Dichotomous Depictions of the Child, University of Bristol, U.K., 27-28 March 2013
Available from: 2013-06-21 Created: 2013-06-21 Last updated: 2014-11-21Bibliographically approved

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