Those who are that way inclined can now read my essay, “Sins of the Blood: Rewriting the Family in
Two Postmodern Vampire Novels” in the March 2010 edition of Journal of Literary Studies (Vol 26.1).
Here’s the abstract:
Postmodern vampire novels often concern themselves with issues surrounding Western family life. In this article I will compare the presentation of family violence in Poppy Z. Brite’s Lost Souls (1992) and Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Sins of the Blood (1995). Brite’s radical subversion contrasts interestingly with Rusch’s appeal to less radically reinscribed, liberal values. These novels position their characters in suburban locales, where traditional family dynamics and upbringings are the accepted norm and where the inequalities of these structures are perpetuated. This traditional milieu, with its veneer of order, is often shown to be the breeding place of psychoses and antisocial behaviour, and of cycles of inherited violence. Whereas Rusch’s liberal critique stops here, a key example of the genre’s radical potential is Brite’s exploration of self-chosen and unorthodox family structures as a subversive option to the violence of the hegemonic norm. The inherently subversive, proximate, queer figure of the vampire acts as a catalyst for this interrogation, playing the role, in its chameleonic fashion, of any family member, from abusive father to alluring sister, or standing on the margins of human society and subtly making us compare it to ourselves.
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