UCSD Literature Professor to Shed Light on Today’s Fascination With Vampires on Aug. 24

Geisel Library talk coincides with Guilty Pleasures exhibit in Social Sciences & Humanities Library

Are vampires just sinister creatures that only want to suck your blood or do they speak to us in a more primal way, reminding us of imminent death and the dream of immortality? Regardless of whether you are attracted or repelled by them, there is no doubt that we are in the midst of a national vampire craze, with the undead seemingly everywhere--in books, movies, television shows, and even public service ads. From Twilight and Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Dracula and True Blood, vampires—or at least the idea of vampires—hold great allure for many. But, who are they really and how can we explain our fascination with them?

Lisa Lampert-Weissig, a professor of Literature and the resident vampire expert at UC San Diego, has examined the obsession with vampires in popular culture and literature, past and present. Lampert-Weissig will discuss “A Vampire of One’s Own: Twilight and the Classics” on Tuesday, August 24 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in Geisel Library’s Seuss Room. In her talk, she will examine the themes of forbidden desire, free will, and equality as presented in the Twilight books, Paradise Lost, and Frankenstein. Her talk, sponsored by UCSD’s Social Sciences & Humanities Library, is free and will include refreshments.

Lampert-Weissig, who specializes in Middle English and German-Jewish literature, currently teaches a class on vampires in literature and film. In her teaching, many aspects of vampires and vampirism are explored, including the European vampire “epidemic” of the 18th century, early cases of vampirism and folk traditions surrounding vampires, and vampires in relation to other famous figures, especially the werewolf. She also examines why vampires remain such popular figures and cultural symbols, that have, and still do, give writers an incredibly rich way to explore themes of death, immortality, power, and sexuality.

Lampert-Weissig’s talk coincides with “Guilty Pleasures,” an exhibit in the Social Sciences & Humanities Library celebrating the fun, and quick reads that many find pleasurable, especially during the summer months. The exhibit highlights a variety of books and facts from popular genres such as romance, mystery, science fiction, and horror, and features various books from the library’s collections. For more information on the exhibit visit: http://libguides.ucsd.edu/guiltypleasures.

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