Links: Exorcists, Vampires, Shamans, and the New Gothic

Rutina Wesley and Kristin Bauer van Straten in “True Blood.”

So many links, so little time to comment. Pick one, two, or three of these to read. Mix and match. Fill your plate. Come back for more.

Sexy vampires threaten Catholic youth, thus encouraging — you guessed it — “dabbling.”

• Witchy craft: I am building these.

• Another interesting article on the revival of Siberian shamanism.

• “An Ordinary Girl Born into a Family of Witches” — in the famtrad sense. So of course she wants to be “normal,” because this is not Young Adult fantasy fiction. Or maybe it is.

• An interview with Victoria Nelson, author of The Secret Life of Puppets,  on Gothicka, vampire heroes, human gods, and the “new supernatural.” That happens to be the title of her new book.

Vampires and the Big Blue Marble

I shared a cabin with Margot Adler and some other presenters at the Florida Pagan Gathering four years ago. At that point she had read about seventy vampire novels and was still going strong, looking for the answer to the question, “Why do literary vampires fascinate us?”

Now she thinks she knows:

Every age embraces the vampires it needs, writes feminist author Nina Auerbach in her book, Our Vampires, Ourselves. Every age uses vampires to express their fears and concerns, writes Eric Nuzum, in his book, The Dead Travel Fast.

In 1897 when Bram Stoker wrote Dracula, England had the largest ports in the world. There was fear of incoming disease, of foreigners, of immigration. And Stoker created the perfect monster, Eastern European, bringing dirt from a foreign land. You can do this for every period that has had a wave of interest in vampires. In the 80’s, with Aids, vampires were often described in novels as parasites. You became infected by vampirism, like a disease.

Here is the whole text and video of  her recent presentation.  Read it, and the title of this post will make sense.

Hogwarts for Vampires

Maybe if I had a bookish teenage daughter I would know this, but the boarding-school-for-vampires (etc.) genre has exploded.

Here is a typical cover blurb:

Two years after a horrible incident made them run away, vampire princess Lissa and her guardian-in-training Rose are found and returned to St. Vladimir’s Academy, where one focuses on mastering magic, the other on physical training, while both try to avoid the perils of gossip, cliques, gruesome pranks, and sinister plots.

Margot Adler and I were discussing vampire books about four years ago, when her quest to read them all had passed ninety titles. Cradle-Marxist that she is, she was trying to understand the vampire craze as being somehow a critique of capitalism.

I don’t think so—and definitely not in the Young Adult classification. Check out this list of suggested titles, linked from a website of a public library near me.

It could be more work for Joseph Laycock, the go-to guy in religious studies for vampire-ology, but he has moved on to otherkin, of which more anon.

RELATED? “We are more interested in the zombie at times when as a culture we feel disempowered,” [Clemson professor Sarah] Lauro said. “And the facts are there that, when we are experiencing economic crises, the vast population is feeling disempowered. … Either playing dead themselves . . . or watching a show like ‘Walking Dead’ provides a great variety of outlets for people.”

Teens, Vampires, and Seventeen magazine

If I were still teaching magazine writing, I would be sending students to this blog (which I found on Rod Dreher’s blog).

What a great feature-writing idea, albeit in blog form. (Which all goes to show how publishing is changing, &c. &c., and I am glad not to have to be the one to explain it all.)

In essence, high-school senior Jamie Kelles is attempting to live her life according to the dictates of Seventeen magazine—and blogging about it at The Seventeen Magazine Project.

At one point she realizes that a majority of the mag’s “hot guys of summer” are “associated with a vampire franchise.”

Must be super weird for devoted Seventeen readers when they finally follows all the tips, achieve the perfect tan and “healthy” sun-kissed glow, and then realizes that the ultimate Hot Guy of Summer is just a sexed-up, long-haired version a of pale, nocturnal Xbox gamer .

And then there is more about the senior prom, &c. &c.

If you want more on the literary history of vampires, Michael Sims assesses it  in The Chronicle of Higher Education:

So, wondering how I would find a new angle on vampire stories, I said yes. Anthologizing is a dusty sport, half antique hunting and half literary gossipfest, and I love it. I went home and prowled my shelves and realized how many of the Victorian-era stories I had already read. Why, here’s that pasty-faced bastard Lord Ruthven, by Byron’s doctor and hanger-on, John Polidori, and so obviously based upon Byron himself. Here is Théophile Gautier’s crazy priest, in love with a vampire courtesan and wrestling with his naughty soul. And there were many stories I hadn’t read before—gay vampires, child vampires, even an invisible vampire.