The Vampire LecturesBook - 1999
Based on the course Rickels has taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara, for several years (a course that is itself a cult phenomenon on campus), The Vampire Lectures reflects Rickels's unique lecture style and provides a lively history of vampirism in legend, literature, and film. Rickels unearths a trove that includes eyewitness accounts of vampire attacks; burial rituals and sexual taboos devised to keep vampirism at bay; Hungarian countess Elisabeth Bathory's use of girls' blood in her sadistic beauty regimen; Bram Stoker's Dracula, with its turn-of-the-century media technologies; F. W. Murnau's haunting Nosferatu; and crude, though intense, straight-to-video horror films such as Subspecies. He makes intuitive, often unexpected connections among these sometimes wildly disparate sources.
More than simply a compilation of vampire lore, however, The Vampire Lectures makes an original and intellectually rigorous contribution to literary and psychoanalytic theory, identifying the subconscious meanings, complex symbolism, and philosophical arguments -- particularly those of Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche -- embeddedin vampirism and gothic literature.