Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla was interesting to me as it seems a little different from other vampire novels I’ve read. This isn’t the first time I’ve read a vampire story with a female vampire. It isn’t nearly as common of course, but it has the same tone and feeling to it as a male vampire story. On that subject, I would look to look at question number three. The relationship between the narrator and Carmilla seems to be deeper and more intimate than just simple friendship. 

“I took her hand as I spoke. I was a little shy, as lonely people are, but the situation made me eloquent and even bold. She pressed my hand, she laid hers upon it, and her eyes glowed as, looking hastily into mine, she smiled again and blushed.” (p.259)

“She held me close in her pretty arms for a moment and whispered in my ear, ‘Good night, darling, it is very hard to part with you, but good-night; to-morrow, but not too early, I shall see you again.” (p.261)

In the flow of the story, a relationship between two females (or two males as we may see hints of in other vampire stories such as Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles) is perfectly acceptable. Is this unnatural?  Not at all. Within these stories, it is impossible to resist the beauty of the vampiric character. A character may be drawn to their perfect features or charming nature and become completely infatuated with them. Carmilla is described several times within the first part of the story are being beautiful, the narrator can hardly be blamed for liking Carmilla. 

“She was so beautiful and so indescribably engaging.” (p. 261) 

“Her looks lost nothing in daylight—she was certainly the most beautiful creature I had ever seen.” (p.261)

“She was slender and wonderfully graceful. Except that her movements were languid—very languid—indeed, there was nothing in her appearance to indicate an invalid. Her complexion was rich and brilliant; her features were small and beautifully formed; her eyes large, dark, and lustrous; her hair was quite wonderful I never saw hair so magnificently thick and long when it was down her shoulders.” (p.262)

As the story progresses, so does their relationship.

“I am sure, Carmilla, you have been in love; that there is at this moment, an affair of the heart going on.’
‘I have been in love with no one, and never shall,’ she whispered, ‘unless it should be with you.’ (p.273)

It’s very sweet, yet when I think of when the novel was written (1872) I can’t imagine sexual relationships like this were well accepted, vampire or not. Does vampire literature like this bring controversy? In fact, proper Christian values are mentioned several times. It's interesting to think about the taboo nature of the possible love between the two characters.

 It is also interesting to see, as the story continues, Carmilla’s character unfold. She is the mysterious, dark figure in the story and yet she acts very human-like and childish in parts. She is easily angered, she is upset when the narrator sings for the passing funeral and she acts afraid and lonely. She seems enigmatic and charming in parts, but in other parts she seems quite normal. She is certainly different from Lord Ruthven.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Masterpiece Classic

 For my blog today I watched the film version of Wuthering Heights, the made for television (Masterpiece Classic) version. The first thing I noticed was that a key character, Mr. Lockwood was not in this story and instead we start off towards the end of the novel with Catherine, Linton, Hareton and Heathcliff. This threw me off for a moment as I was so used to the story being told from Mr. Lockwood’s perspective, until we meet Nelly Dean and hear her tales of Heathcliff and Cathy. In the very beginning we see a flustered Heathcliff remembering Cathy, and we hear the famous, “let me in” from his memory rather than the phantom that appears to Mr. Lockwood. Also, for a short time, young Catherine takes the place of Mr. Lockwood exploring the room with Catherine’s things, though we do not see the books she used as a diary. Nelly was the main narrator of the tales between Cathy and Heathcliff and in the movie she is not. I can’t say Nelly was a favorite character of mine, but she was certainly important. And Mr. Lockwood, to me, was put into the book to act as we would. He is a representation of the audience and how we would act. In this movie we see the events of what transpired between Cathy and Heathcliff through what appears to be flashbacks.

So I can’t say for certain why the director took this approach and changed the lay of the story, but I suppose it makes for more interest. To be honest, the very beginning of Wuthering Heights isn’t all that interesting. It sets the scene for the book, and helps the audience to understand what is happening.  It’s not that we don’t care about Mr. Lockwood, it’s just that the mystery of the Heights, and Heathcliff are so much more fascinating and jumping into the story straight away really grabs that audience’s attention. We are drawn by Heathcliff’s character, we ask why is he so angry? 

In the beginning of the movie, Linton comes to Wuthering Heights. Later, young Cathy also comes to the Heights. We are introduced in the beginning of the book to Hareton, the servants, young Cathy and Heathcliff. Young Cathy is very snippy and angry, much like Heathcliff. The characters in the book are darker and full of anger. In the movie they do not have the raw emotion that they seem to display in the book. 

To me, there seem to be character inconsistencies. In the movie Cathy exists as a phantom of Heathcliff’s memory. In the book she is created through the memories of Nelly. She does not seem as stubborn and wild as she is in the book either. Heathcliff does not appear to be the darker skinned, gypsy character that I imagined in the book. Characters such as Joseph and Nelly don’t play as large a role in the movie as they did in the book. 

Many of the quotes remain the same, keeping some of the integrity of the book. Although one part that stood out for me was after Edgar left Cathy, she spoke to Heathcliff and said that he had asked her to marry him. She also says that she has not yet given him an answer. In the book, she says, “To-day Edgar Linton has asked me to marry him, and I’ve given him an answer.” (p.72) She discusses this with Nelly and Heathcliff finds out by eavesdropping. It seems a major plot point, and it does not seem quite as well executed in the movie. It just isn’t as dramatic.

One other major change, was that Heathcliff shows up in the book and Nelly sees him near Thrushcross Grange. In the movie, Cathy received a letter on her wedding day.  Also, in the book Isabella is quite infatuated with Heathcliff and he wants nothing to do with her. It is Cathy’s words that set the idea in his mind to marry her. In the movie, she seems almost wary of Heathcliff and the tension doesn’t seem like it works.

Over all, the biggest change in the movie was the timeline. Things are in a different order in the book than the movie but things such as that are often changed to make room for all the important scenes in a movie without a long, background.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Heathcliff a Byronic Hero?

Wuthering Heights is one of my favorite novels and one of the reasons this novel sticks with me are the characters within the pages. In the introduction we meet Heathcliff,  a character that is bitter and inhospitable and in short, someone that you would not want as your friend. And Cathy, the female equivalent of Heathcliff who is scarcely much better. These characters are stubborn, wild, and short-tempered. Heathcliff could most certainly be considered a Byronic hero. He is stubborn and cunning, jaded and with a troubled past yet there is something magnetic and mysterious about him. We know little to nothing about his past, and while he could be handsome and well-mannered he chooses to let his temper get the best of him as seen on pages 52-54.

"A good heart will help you to a bonny face, my lad.' [...] So I chattered on; and Heathcliff gradually lost his frown and began to look quite pleasant." (p.53) "He ventured this remark without any intention to insult; but Heathcliff's violent nature was not prepared to endure the appearance of impertinence from one whom he seemed to hate, even then, as a rival. He seized a tureen of hot apple sauce, the first thing that came under his grip, and dashed it full against the speaker's face and neck; who instantly commenced a lament that brought Isabella and Catherine hurrying to the place. (p.54)

What is it about Byronic Heroes that makes them so magnetic and appealing? Take for instance some Byronic Heroes in literature/media. Besides Heathcliff we have Lord Ruthven, Erik (The Phantom of the Opera), Sherlock Holmes, and Gregory House. These are just a few, there are hundreds more but each of them shares something in common with the others. For instance, Heathcliff is a Gypsy child and in Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the Opera Erik is born so deformed that his own mother is afraid of him and he is forced to take up company with Gypsies, traveling as a sideshow attraction. These characters are anti-heroes, they have flaws that usually outweigh their good points. They aren't villains exactly but they certainly aren't good guys either. It may not be their fault that they had troubles in their past, but they let those experiences shape them as a person. Catherine of course, being as similar as she is to Heathcliff can also be considered a type of Byronic Hero (or Heroine).

Catherine was described in a very interesting way the very beginning of the book, "And that Lynx, Catherine Linton, or Earnshaw or however she was called-- she must have been a changeling-- wicked little soul! She told me she had been walking the earth these twenty years; a just punishment for her mortal transgressions I've no doubt." (p.24) I've heard the term changeling before in another book, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, "Was Haarlem a haven for such goblin beasts? Iris had heard from time to time a poor infant might be kidnapped from its cradle and replaced with a rotten, illish creature resembling it in looks alone. A changeling is said to be deficient of something essential, either memory or sense, or mercy." (Maguire. 25-6) A changeling can most certainly be closely related to a Byronic hero. I think this is what makes their story so engaging. It is so different form the 'Happily Ever After' endings we read about or see in romance movies.

Feelings such as jealousy, lust, and anger power the novel and make it dramatic. The characters are really the blood of the novel. Few characters in the book have redeemable qualities, and those that are the 'goody two-shoes' kinds of characters such as the Lintons are actually quite boring. To me, Heathcliff and Cathy are the most interesting characters.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

"The Vampyre" and "Giving Up the Ghost"

"The Vampyre"
While reading “The Vampyre” I picked up on some interesting facts 
that I did not previously know. For instance,that in Greece it 
was considered a punishment to condemn one to becoming a vampire 
and feeding on his loved ones. “In many parts of Greece it is 
considered as a sort of punishment after death, for some heinous 
crime committed whilst in existence, that the deceased is not
only doomed to vampyrise, but compelled to confine his infernal
visitations solely to those beings he loved most while upon 
earth--those to whom he was bound by ties of kindred and 
affection.”  It seems a terrible fate, and it makes me question 
briefly why so many people are infatuated with becoming immortal 
and are obsessed with the vampire. Living forever seems like a 
terrible thing when you have to drink the blood of those that you
 love. Aren’t you more of a monster than a man at that point? Of 
course I also have to question myself because I have also been 
swept up in the mysticism of vampirism. 

The second tale was far more engaging and I found myself 
fascinated with both Aubrey and Lord Ruthven. I also was a bit 
shocked to see that Aubrey turned against Ruthven, that he had 
such strength to do so as Ruthven was such a charismatic and 
engaging character. “Aubrey retired; and, immediately writing a 
note, to say, that from that moment he must decline accompanying
his Lordship in the remainder of their proposed tour, ho ordered 
his servant to seek other apartments, and calling upon tho mother 
of the lady, informed her of all he knew,not only with regard to 
her daughter, but also concerning the character of his Lordship. 
The assignation was prevented. Lord Ruthven next day merely sent 
his servant to notify his complete assent to a separation; but did
not hint any suspicion of his plans having been foiled by Aubrey's

The description in this story, particularly around the characters 
is very detailed. “Under the same roof as himself, existed a being,
so beautiful and delicate, that she might have formed the model 
for a painter, wishing; to pourtray on canvass the promised hope 
of the faithful in Mahomet's paradise, save that her eyes spoke 
too much mind for any one to think she could belong to those who
had no souls. As she danced upon the plain, or tripped along the 
mountain's side, one would have thought the gazelle a poor type of
her beauties; for who would have exchanged her eye, apparently the
eye of animated nature, for that sleepy luxurious look of the 
animal suited but to the taste of an epicure. The light step of 
Ianthe often accompanied Aubrey in his search after antiquities, 
and often would the unconscious girl,engaged in the pursuit of a 
Kashmere butterfly, show the whole beauty of her form, floating as
it were upon the wind, to the eager gaze of him, who forgot the 
letters he had just decyphered upon an almost effaced tablet, in 
the contemplation of her sylph-like figure. Often would her
tresses falling, as she flitted around, exhibit in the sun's ray 
such delicately brilliant and swiftly fading hues, its might well 
excuse the forgetfulness of the antiquary, who let escape from his
mind the very object he had before thought of vital” As an 
audience, we can easily picture in our minds what these characters
look like. 
The ending was a little dramatic, though I thought it was very 
clever to have Lord Ruthven the vampire drain Aubrey in a 
different manner than one might expect. No blood was drawn from 
the man but rather a constant battle raged on in his mind as Lord 
Ruthven’s image plagued him and drained him of life. 
“Giving up the Ghost” was also interesting as it added a little 
more detail to the story “The Vampyre” Although I have to admit at
times I was still a bit confused upon hearing all the names and 
trying to keep them all together. 
Overall, both stories were interesting but I think "The Vampyre" was a little more engaging and it made me think more than "Giving Up the Ghost"

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Hello everyone,

My name is Emily and I am new to this class. The fact that we get to blog like this is pretty cool, as I am already really familiar with blogspot. I am a writer although I am also a first-class procrastinator so my writing will sometimes suffer. If I ever do get around to it, you can check out my other blog on here which chronicles my writing journey, Diary of a Mental Patient ;) I am infatuated with horror films and Japanese culture, so anything J-Horror is right up my alley.

I signed up for this class because it sounds amazing and I am a huge vampire geek. Not so much twilight anymore (oh shoot me) but more along the lines of Anne Rice and Bram Stoker. Speaking of, has anyone read Dracula the Un-Dead? It's sitting in my room but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

My favorite novel is a tossup between Water for Elephants and Wuthering Heights. What? They're total opposites? I know but they're both amazing. As for movies, I still love Interview with the Vampire but Sherlock Holmes is right up there with it. This class is just right up my alley so far with all the reading material.

I love a good suspense story, and for some reason I can't get enough of dark or taboo romance novels. And I'm not talking about the cheesy ones with the super muscley guys on the cover in Barnes and Noble.

As a Creative Writing major I've taken a lot of English classes. This is my first one that pertains to vampires but I have taken many mythology classes in the past. As for my knowledge of vampires, it's all over. I have multiple vampire books lying around my room both fictional and mythology. I know a little bit about vampire lore from different parts of the world. Of course I have read and love Dracula and The Vampire Chronicles as well as the twilight series and I find it very interesting how society views vampires as both sexy and deadly. It's kind of like the bad-boy (or bad-girl!) stereotype.

One place I would love to visit in my lifetime would be Tokyo, but more specifically Tokyo Disneyland! It just looks amazingly awesome.

I frequently visit both to write and to read fanfiction stories. Mostly anime/manga stories although I love a good videogame fic as well. Also, here is my Deviant Art which is the other site I frequent: This feels too much like spamming so I'm going to stop now. :P

Back on track! While I prefer a good ghost story to a vampire novel in most cases, vampires are still very near and dear to my heart.