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A ‘Ghastly Operation’: Transfusing Blood, Science and the Supernatural in Vampire Texts

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This article examines blood transfusion in vampire texts and its connections to vampirism in order to establish the different ways the body and identity of the vampire, and its victim, are constituted and affected by the dangerous circulation of blood. Vampire texts manifest anxieties about identity that arise through the symbolic value of blood, but also through its increasing medicalisation. Nineteenth-century vampire texts focus on blood's symbolisms while twentieth-century texts define blood as a neutral medium to be analysed and explained. In the late twentieth century, however, blood becomes the locus of biomedical interventions which affirm respect for tradition, selfish individualism and responsibility.
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Keywords: Dracula; Near Dark; biomedicine; blood; identity; transfusion; vampires

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Stirling

Publication date: 2013-11-01

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  • The official journal of the International Gothic Association considers the field of Gothic studies from the eighteenth century to the present day. The aim of Gothic Studies is not merely to open a forum for dialogue and cultural criticism, but to provide a specialist journal for scholars working in a field which is today taught or researched in almost all academic establishments. Gothic Studies invites contributions from scholars working within any period of the Gothic; interdisciplinary scholarship is especially welcome, as are readings in the media and beyond the written word.

    Gothic Studies is also available in an unrivalled electronic collection, Manchester Gothic that also includes 40 eBooks on gothic literature and culture written by leading names in the field and covers literature, film, television, theatre and visual arts, dating from the eighteenth century to the present day.

    Manchester Gothic aims to explain why gothic studies is so prevalent in the fields of art, film, literature and culture by providing easy access to digital texts, essays and studies in all things gothic. From the study of gothic and death to monsters, vampires, werewolves and ghosts as well as studies on visionaries such as Terry Gilliam, Alan Moore and Terence Fisher; Manchester Gothic brings them all together in one easy to use resource see Manchester Gothic.
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