Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2021

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor

LeeAnne Richardson

Second Advisor

Tanya Caldwell

Third Advisor

Marilynn Richtarik

Abstract

The discussion regarding vampire history is a popular topic among scholars dating back earlier than the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century rise of Gothic literature and is echoed within early Gothic texts. Sheridan Le Fanu’s novella Carmilladeserves a secure place within the literary canon for its pull on the genre’s connection to the female image, while preceding Bram Stoker’s Dracula by twenty-six years. Not only does the novella demonstrate a crucial development in the genre, but it also disrupts social norms of Victorian women by queering the title character as well as the heroine. While the connection this novella has with the Gothic is clear, Le Fanu’s motivations behind the text have not been adequately analyzed. Many argue his motivation stems from political fear, but this thesis investigates the deeper connections between vampiric lore and Le Fanu’s past personal traumas in his creation of a queer, monstrous, female vampire.

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