Date Thesis Awarded

5-2017

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

English

Advisor

Kim Wheatley

Committee Member

Suzanne Raitt

Committee Member

Deborah Morse

Committee Member

Kathrin Levitan

Abstract

Within vampire fiction, there exists a common narrative of a wide-eyed, innocent victim being pursued and then corrupted by a mysterious figure. At first glance, Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "Christabel" (1816) and Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's novella Carmilla (1872) seem to adhere to this narrative. Both works feature young women, Christabel in "Christabel" and Laura in Carmilla, being pursued by vampires: specifically, female vampires. However, it can be argued that the young women in Coleridge's and Le Fanu's works are not victims; rather, they are liberated agents acting independently in their sexual lives. An analysis of Christabel's and Laura's agency demonstrates that with their vampire companions, the women construct not predator-prey dynamics, but multifaceted lesbian relationships. While some may say labeling the relationships in Coleridge's and Le Fanu's tales as lesbian is anachronistic, a modern queer perspective will uncover fresh interpretations of these texts.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License