Vampires and zombies, both of which became a popular phenomenon in Victorian Britain, are all the rage. The female vampire Whitley wrote about in “The Hunger” and “The Last Vampire” has been voted one of the most popular vampires of all time by Entertainment Weekly Magazine. One English Professor believes this not just a pop culture trend, but rather a reflection of the strong parallels between that period in Britain and our own here in the US, when society was divided between the rich, who had all the money and power, and the poor.
Victorian Britain was the first industrialized society and the dominant world super power of the nineteenth century. At the height of the Victorian period, one quarter of the world’s population were British subjects. Peter Logan says, “It was the beginning of the world as we know it today and it was beset with some of the same problems associated with being a world power that we are currently facing.” But it didn’t start with Dracula.
Varney, the Vampire (1847) was an aristocrat who walked around in daylight, but he needed the moonlight to survive (maybe a metaphor for the all the nasty things that CEOs do in secret?) Logan says, “The classic scene during this time is of a weakened vampire soaking up the moonlight and being revivified.”
OK, we understand vampires, but what about zombies? Logan says, “It all seems ludicrous at first, until you realize there are some serious things going on.” A current popular novel is “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” a takeoff on the Jane Austen novel.
According to Logan, zombies were already present in the original Pride and Prejudice, if you read between the lines. Jane Austen’s world was a paternalist one where women were constantly threatened by seducers and the consequences of pregnancy outside of marriage really were life and death.
According to Logan, “In novels, an unwed mother would be forced into a life of prostitution in order to support her illegitimate child and would die a pauper in a beggar’s house. In this sense, then, the men were predators.”
Looking at the work from today’s perspective, fighting zombies is the perfect metaphor for the life of a modern woman who is already working both inside and outside the home. “Being a martial arts expert and slaying zombies is just something that is added to the list.”
Vampire lore is very old. Whitley has written three vampire novels and some of the things he takes seriously are made fun of by the rest of the world. If you think the same way he does, be sure to join our chat on Saturday with a MASTER of edge information, but in order to do so you need to subscribe today!
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