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Gender, genre and dracula: Joan Copjec and ‘vampire fiction’

Cocks, N. (2019) Gender, genre and dracula: Joan Copjec and ‘vampire fiction’. Humanities. ISSN 2076-0787 (In Press)

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In Joan Copjec’s celebrated reading of ‘vampire fiction’, the genre is understood to be defined by the ‘overwhelming presence of the real’ for which all ‘interpretation […] is superfluous and inappropriate.’ According to this analysis, criticism that focuses on the textual construction of the vampire will miss what is really important: the anxiety inducing ‘nothing’ upon which all identity is founded. This article questions this Lacanian approach through returning a textual focus to a critical engagement with Dracula. Through such an approach, Copjec’s understanding of ideas of gender and genre as they relate to ‘vampire fiction’ are also critiqued. Close textual analysis disrupts the complex yet limited gender trouble Copjec identifies, whilst also working through some of the attendant difficulties in locating genre either within the bare bones of textual structure, or in an unreadable ‘aura’ surrounding the text. To this end, this article closes with a tentative comparative reading of Dracula and Rousseau’s Émile a text that Copjec takes to be its ‘precise equivalent’.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Language Text and Power
Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Minority Identities
ID Code:83786
Uncontrolled Keywords:Dracula; vampires; gender; children; ‘child-brain’; Rousseau; Joan Copjec; ‘extimate object’.

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