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Our Vampires, Ourselves Paperback – April 7, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0226032023 ISBN-10: 0226032027
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"My central idea: that vampirism springs not only from paranoia, xenophobia, or immortal longings, but from generosity and shared enthusiasm. This strange taste cannot be separated from the expansive impulses that make us human." Our Vampires, Ourselves is not your ordinary work of literary criticism, but rather an entertaining, thought-provoking tour of the history of vampires in Western civilization. The vampires and works discussed include Lord Ruthven, Varney, Carmilla, Dracula, Fritz Leiber's "The Girl," famous film Draculas, Fred Saberhagen's Dracula, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's Saint-Germain, Anne Rice's Louis and Lestat, Stephen King's Barlow, films such as The Lost Boys and Near Dark, and countless books. As the New York Times writes, "Ms. Auerbach presents her arguments with wit and clarity ... Ms. Auerbach implicitly rejects the Freudian and Jungian interpretations of these figures as either psychosexual metaphors or archetypes, preferring to see them in sociopolitical terms. But such interpretations need not be mutually exclusive. There is, after all, more in vampire metaphors than meets any one mind's eye."

From Library Journal

Literary scholar and vampire enthusiast Auerbach (Forbidden Journeys, LJ 4/15/92) poses this book as a history of the Anglo-American culture through its ever-changing vampires. Tracing the evolution of vampires from 19th-century England through 20th-century America, Auerbach makes a number of new and interesting observations that will undoubtedly spur future scholarly discourse on vampirology. From depictions of vampires by Lord Byron down to those of Stephen King and Anne Rice and their various adaptations throughout literature or film, Auerbach illustrates how vampires are personifications of their age, reflecting and embodying social, political, and cultural change. Auerbach's interjections of personal and political points of view may raise questions about objectivity, but her compelling assertions definitely whet the appetite for further exploration and analysis of vampires and culture. Recommended for most public libraries.
Jeris Cassel, Rutgers Univ. Libs., New Brunswick, N.J.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (April 7, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226032027
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226032023
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #922,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 27, 2002
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.
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16 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Weaver on September 21, 2005
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.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By jennifer wright on March 1, 2013
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.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Jones on March 7, 2009
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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