This is for you, Vampire Lovers!
You have probably heard of Dracula, but perhaps not of Varney the Vampire. In this podcast, recorded at the Late Summer Lecture Series, Lauren Owen introduces this nineteenth-century character who appeared in a nineteenth-century “penny dreadful.” She suggests that a modern equivalent to Varney can be found in Thomas Harris’s compelling serial killer, Hannibal Lecter.
Lauren starts by examining the importance of Varney, the Vampyre as a piece of vampire literature, and suggests that Varney, despite his self-pity, ineffectiveness, and dubious supernatural status, is a vampire worthy of attention.
Varney is a vulgar tale: unlike earlier vampire tales, like John William Polidori’s “The Vampyre” (1819), Varney does not pretend to high art. Instead it is funny, preposterous, repetitive, and quite evidently written to entertain. Varney himself is a lover of adventure and romance – this is the only thing that keeps him tied to humanity.
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