Vampire Week, Day Nine: On Werewolves, Vampires, a Note on the British Science Fiction Association — and the Mystery of the Lady in the Nightie Finally Revealed
Today, the next-to-last day of Vampire Week, we have a double-header. First comes a post from last June 6, with a link to a guest blog I did on “Vampires vs. Werewolves” for British author Naomi Clark, a werewolf aficionado herself (at least in terms of her latest novella), who asked guests to explain which they liked better and why. I, taking the vampires’ side (albeit ending by noting that in European folklore there may be less difference than people think), took the occasion to say a few things about VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE), but I also include directions to a second poetry essay on VAMPS under “PAGES,” to the far right, that includes a few words about the history of vampires in literature and art in England. The essay in turn, quoted as well in the blog for Ms. Clark, includes this passage:
“In 1897 British artist Philip Burne-Jones, having been dumped by the popular actress Mrs. Patrick Campbell, exhibited his latest picture depicting Campbell in what looks like a nightdress bending over the helpless, supine form of a young man in bed. He called it The Vampire. This inspired the artist’s cousin Rudyard Kipling to write a poem, ‘The Vampire,’ with these opening lines:
“A fool there was and he made his prayer
(Even as you and I!)
To a rag and a bone and a hank of hair
(We called her the woman who did not care),
But the fool he called her his lady fair
(Even as you and I!)
“The poem in turn inspired a play which became the 1915 movie A FOOL THERE WAS, starring Theda Bara, whose performance popularized the term ‘vamp’ for a sexually predatory female. That is, one who sucks the life, or the love, or the reputation, or honor, or riches from her victims just as the vampires of legend preyed on honest peasants.
“1897 was also the year Bram Stoker published DRACULA, about a more traditional, literal blood-sucking vampire, while Theda Bara’s likeness, in its turn, inspired artist and poet Marge Simon’s cover painting for VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE). . . .”
But for more, you’ll have to use the key phrase, “Vamps in England,” and then use the link to find it for yourself.
And there’s more, still, under “Vamps in England,” a July 5 entry detailing the visit of five “vamps” to the British Science Fiction Association. The vamps in question are five vampire poems, all appearing in VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE), all of which, hopefully, will also be in the BSFA’s magazine VECTOR. One in fact may be at the printer even now. While Poetry Editor Charles Christian spoke of an issue for last October, things got delayed, but just over a week ago I received a PDF of the upcoming poetry pages, and featured is my own “California Vamp” (for more on which see, below, “Got to Call It a Super Sunday” for February 4).
So anyway, now you know the story behind the picture for the Vampire Bite Blog Hop below in the column at the far right. (And for tomorrow. the last day of Vampire Week. . . ?)