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Our Vampires, Ourselves Hardcover – 9 Nov 1995

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 9 Nov 1995
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 2nd edition (9 Nov. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226032019
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226032016
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,306,020 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From the Back Cover

Sometimes bewitchingly erotic, sometimes repellent, sometimes ravenous, vampires embody their societies' fears and forbidden dreams. In this wry, original book, literary critic and vampire enthusiast Nina Auerbach shows how every age embraces the vampire it needs and, at the same time, gets the vampire it deserves.

About the Author

Nina Auerbach is John Welsh Centennial Professor of History and Literature and Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Communities of Women: An Idea in Fiction; Woman and the Demon: The Life of a Victorian Myth; Romantic Imprisonment: Women and Other Glorified Outcasts; Ellen Terry, Player in Her Time; Private Theatricals: The Lives of the Victorians; and Our Vampires, Our Selves. She is co-editor, with U. C. Knoepflmacher, of Forbidden Journeys: Fairy Tales and Fantasies by Victorian Women Writers.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Auerbach's expertise in the realm of fictional vampires is well articulated in this very readable and thoroughly enjoyable study. Although the text is primarily academic (offering predominately psychoanalytic and feminist readings) the average reader of vampire literature will find much to enjoy in Auerbach's incisive and often witty exploration of the fictional vampire within a range of texts from early poetry, stories and novels to modern day movies. From Coleridge's poetic 'Christabel' to the short stories of Byron, Polidori and Sheridan Le Fanu's classic 'Carmilla' we move onto Stoker's seminal text Dracula and finally onto contemporary culture with fascinating discussions of tales from Rice and King and films such as The Lost Boys and Bram Stoker's Dracula. Relating the vampire figures back to the society which created them, Auerbach intuitively shows us that there is a little bit of vampire in all of us. A thoroughly recommended, extensive piece of work that has to be regarded as a seminal work in its own right, standing alongside Christopher Frayling and Ken Gelder in their expert analyses of the vampire figure.
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Format: Paperback
In Our Vampires, Ourselves, Nina Auerbach's project is to explain how the legendary vampire has changed according to the cultural, political and sexual currents since the vampire's initiation near the end of the 18th century. As the title suggests, the claim is that we get the vampires we deserve, we create the vampires we need at any given time to fill a vacuum in our society. The book starts with Byron and Polidori, examines Dracula closely and ends with the vampires of the early 90s. Political upheaval, like the Vietnam war, Watergate, etc. serve to explain how the vampire changes - from a filthy monster in Stoker's Dracula, through a civilized gentleman with good manners in the 1960's Hammer movies, and to an AIDS-haunted, excluded creature in the 1980s. The role of the family is also central, as well as feminist aspects and gay theories on the subject. Auerbach has, in short, written a seminal work on the history of vampires, from Byron, Coleridge and Polidori, to Rice, King and Dan Simmons at the end of the 20th century. Films, such as the numerous adaptions of Dracula, are also covered, giving an exhaustive survey of this literary and cultural phenomenon. We may think Dracula is the only 'real' vampire, but Auerbach shows us that there is no 'The Vampire', only 'vampires', as they change with time, embodying its own society's fears and dreams. This is, of course, an academic work, but the insightful readings, interesting examples and Auerbach's witty, entertaining style should apply to all lovers of vampires, be they literary or cinematic.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting take on the familiar 27 Feb. 2002
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Cogently argued, thoughtfully presented, entertainingly written. Since purchasing this book when it was first published, I've reread parts of it many times, just for the enjoyable and lively style of argument. Sure, there are many points I disagree with (but I could say the same for Neitzsche and Wittgenstein, too), but I always put the book down impressed by Auerbach's style and imagination. Others may claim that the book warrant only a single star in terms of a rating, for no other reason than their disagreement with the thesis. I say, whether you wind up agreeing or disagreeing--buying into everything Auerbach says or writing her off as wrongheaded--this book gives you plenty to chew on. If you disagree, ask yourself why you disagree; you may end up embracing the viewpoint of the third mind.
18 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Why Do Cultural Ctitics Have To Write Like This? 21 Sept. 2005
By Christopher Weaver - Published on
Format: Paperback
OK--I know that Nina Auerbach is a famous, groundbreaking feminist literary critic. I don't disagree with many of her points in this book. (Though I'm innately suspicious of any system that fits as perfectly as hers does. She never seems to find an example that doesn't fit her thesis--rather like an undergraduate writing a paper and discarding any evidence that doesn't fit.) And I am interested in cultual criticism--particularly the idea that horror fiction reflects the fears, desires, and fixations of particular time periods. This said, I found Auerbach's book tough slogging. Why do cultural critics seem to feel that the "lower" the text they're criticizing, the more jargon-filled, pedantic, and convulted their prose style must become? The endlessly long sentences with their multpile references and their twisting, parenthetical asides made my eyes glaze over. Certainly Auerbach is not the worst prose stylist of any academic I've read, but this fact, itself, is an indictment of the kind of writing that gets university professors published these days.

So, yes, there are insights and arguments in this book that make it worth reading. But I found the experience of reading the book a rather depressing enterprise, and it made me long for clearer, livlier, and more accessible writing from theorists and literary critics. I can't say that I'm optimistic on this count.
4.0 out of 5 stars great book 25 Dec. 2015
By malleyne - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I gave this book a four and a half because I never finish the book but you should get it because the book represents vampire in a new way.
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars jenny wright likes 'Our Vampires, Our Selves' 2 Mar. 2013
By jennifer wright - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
being that i portrayed a character that is written about in the book...Mae from the 80's movie Near Dark
i found the whole book to be fascinating and well written. I am honored to be on the cover...from the feeding scene.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Take 8 Mar. 2009
By M. Jones - Published on
Format: Paperback
For those who aren't interested in a Lit Crit approach: Don't bother to read it, then complain that it's focused on Literary Criticism! If you bother to know what you're getting into however, and want to approach it not as a collection of horror stories but as a provocative take on what these "little stories" mean when applied to the broader cultural perspective, then I definitely recommend it. This is a well-written book by a very intelligent and engaging author.
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