I definitely feel as if I learned a lot this semester, and I honestly enjoyed everything that we read -- and I especially enjoyed reading everyone‘s blogs. Throughout the semester , we explored the concepts of the Byronic Hero, the uncanny, and Orientalism, among other themes, and applied these ideas to the study of the vampire novel. I found this to be quite interesting, as while most may look at the obvious characteristics of the vampire and the vampire novel, there is much more beneath the surface.
The vampire is significant in literature because of what it says about culture. While early vampire novels often reflected (among other things) the decline of Victorian society, fear of immigration, and female sexual awakening, modern vampire literature conveys ideas of social anxiety, race relations, isolation, and love. I had already read Dracula before this class years ago, but I looked at it in a new light because of this class.
I think out of all the novels, I enjoyed Matheson’s I am Legend the most. I had preconceived notions regarding this book because of the Will Smith film, but this book definitely turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Not only was it an entertaining story, the subtext, which revolved around isolation and race relations, offered an intriguing look at 1950’s America.
I wish I had experimented with the blog format a little more, although I think that it took a while to get used to blogspot. The online classes that I had taken before were all taught on D2L, which I will admit made it a this class a little difficult at first, making sure I was following everyone and that everyone was following me. But in the end, I found the format to be an effective and useful way to discuss the readings and discussion topics. I thought that aside from the novels we read, the best part of the class was reading everyone’s point of view on the stories and discussion prompts.
So far, I think my final project is coming along quite well. I’ve begun by analyzing the use of the journal by Harker, Mina, Lucy, and Seward in Dracula, and now plan to focus on the use of the journal in Carmilla and possibly Interview with the Vampire. I think it is interesting that in early vampire tales, the use of the written (and recorded, in the case of Dr. Seward) word is important in conveying the characters’ sanity and often times their implied superiority over the vampire and what the vampire represents.