Call for Papers Special Issue: Vampires – Consuming Monsters and Monstrous Consumption

Revenant: Critical and Creative Studies of the Supernatural is a peer-reviewed, online journal looking at the supernatural, the uncanny, and the weird. Revenant is now accepting articles, creative writing pieces and book, film, game, event, or art reviews for a themed issue on ‘Vampires: Consuming Monsters and Monstrous Consumption’  (due 18 January 2020), guest edited by Dr Brooke Cameron and Suyin Olguin.

Everyone knows that vampires suck. They suck blood, and they suck the life out of you. Still, we cannot help but feel drawn to these mysterious creatures—through feelings of repulsion and/or desire—because they manifest such deviant appetites. This special issue of Revenant celebrates our continued fascination with the blood-sucking nosferatu. We wish to explore the idea of the vampire as a monster defined by theories of consumption, from bodily appetites and ravenous hunger to dissident desires and cannibalism. Looking at the Victorian period and beyond, we are also interested in modern adaptations or rereadings of vampire narratives.

Since its first appearance in modern culture, the vampire has been defined by acts of deviant consumption. Even if not engaged in drinking human blood, this monstrous creature has always been written as a parasite sucking the life out of his human counterparts. Nick Groom, in his touchstone study, The Vampire (2017), talks about early folk narratives of reanimated corpses revisiting and predating upon family and friends (e.g., the Arnold Paole case [c. 1726]). Later, literature of the nineteenth-century wrote this parasitic creature into popular imagination as a body of unruly desire. Bram Stoker’s iconic Dracula (1897) gives us the perverse vampire whose consumption of blood resembles both a sexual act and a corruption of the religious sacrament of communion. However, other early narratives avoid graphic accounts of bloodlust and instead focus on the terror of parasitic relationships (Polidori’s The Vampire [1819] & Byron’s ‘Giaour’ [1813] are early examples of this approach). Similarly, Le Fanu’s Carmilla (1872) explores the idea of dissident consumption and lesbian desire, while Marryat’s The Blood of the Vampire (1897) traces a relationship between colonial exploitation and the parasitic monster.

More recent narratives have had fun with the theme of consumption in representations of the undead nosferatu. There is the vegetarian vampire in Meyer’s Twilight saga (2005–8), and those that are tied to questions of capitalist consumption in Dracula 2000 (2000). In a reversal of the power dichotomy, we also have humans marketing and drinking vampire blood in Harris’s Southern Vampire Mysteries (2001–13). This is not to mention the abundance of fan fiction on, and film adaptions of, vampire stories signaling our own ravenous cultural appetites for representations of this libidinal Other. Furthermore, the consumer-friendly vampires in twentieth- and twenty-first century works present us with a very new or ‘post-Victorian’ vampire who can be, as Nina Auerbach suggests, ‘everything we are’ because of his relationship to food (Our Vampires, Ourselves [1995] 130). Matt Haig’s The Radleys (2010), as well as Kevin Williamson’s and Julie Plec’s television adaptions of L. J. Smith’s literary series, The Vampire Diaries (2009–17), are even more avant-garde (or ‘post-Victorian’) in their representation of contemporary vampires who enjoy partaking in ‘human’ acts of eating and drinking. In every case, the vampire is defined as ‘Other’ because of appetites that challenge or draw attention to human rules of consumption.

We invite abstracts that discuss the vampire as a body of consumption in literature, film, television, art, or any other cultural narrative. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Vampires and food
  • Vampire diets (vegetarian or carnivore)
  • Bodies of sexual desire in vampire fiction
  • Gendered appetites in vampire fiction
  • Appetite and the vampire child
  • Deviant desires and the vampire body
  • Consumptive bodies and vampirism
  • Vampiric appetites in transnational and postcolonial vampires
  • Consuming the Other
  • Curbing vampiric appetites
  • Consuming vampires in popular literature
  • Neo-Victorian vampires

For articles and creative pieces (such as poetry, short stories, flash fiction, videos, artwork, and music): please send a 300–500 word abstract and a short biography by 18 January 2020. If your abstract is accepted, the full article (maximum 7000 words, including Harvard referencing) and the full creative piece (maximum 5000 words) will be due 1 June 2020.

Additionally, we are seeking reviews of books, films, games, events, and art that engage with vampires (800–1,000 words in length). Please send a short biography and full details of the book you would like to review as soon as possible.

Further information, including Submission Guidelines, is available at the journal site: www.revenantjournal.com.

Please e-mail submissions to brooke.cameron@queensu.ca. If emailing the journal directly at revenant@falmouth.ac.uk please quote ‘vampire issue’ in the subject box.