From Upyr' to Vampire: The Slavic Vampire Myth in Russian Literature

dc.contributor.advisor Fortescue, Stephen en_US Townsend, Dorian Aleksandra en_US 2022-03-21T10:14:40Z 2022-03-21T10:14:40Z 2011 en_US
dc.description.abstract The Slavic vampire myth traces back to pre-Orthodox folk belief, serving both as an explanation of death and as the physical embodiment of the tragedies exacted on the community. The symbol’s broad ability to personify tragic events created a versatile system of imagery that transcended its folkloric derivations into the realm of Russian literature, becoming a constant literary device from eighteenth century to post-Soviet fiction. The vampire’s literary usage arose during and after the reign of Catherine the Great and continued into each politically turbulent time that followed. The authors examined in this thesis, Afanasiev, Gogol, Bulgakov, and Lukyanenko, each depicted the issues and internal turmoil experienced in Russia during their respective times. By employing the common mythos of the vampire, the issues suggested within the literature are presented indirectly to the readers giving literary life to pressing societal dilemmas. The purpose of this thesis is to ascertain the vampire’s function within Russian literary societal criticism by first identifying the shifts in imagery in the selected Russian vampiric works, then examining how the shifts relate to the societal changes of the different time periods. The four authors were chosen to represent four distinct periods that proceed from one another to illustrate the continued relevance of this symbolism to literary societal commentary. In order to do this, this thesis employs the methods of Greenblatt and Berdyaev, developing a means of studying the vampiric works through a societal dialectic. Each author is examined, utilizing Greenblatt’s theoretical principle of an “intelligible network of signs.” By concentrating on the “minor feature” of the vampire myth in these works, the “singular, specific, and individual” of the vampiric symbolism within each work reveals a cultural matrix, exposing the mythological, religious, political, philosophical, and societal connotations of the vampire, both in its depictive qualities and in its transitioning role within the works. In order to comprehend the cultural matrix of the network of signs, Berdyaev’s Dostoevskian dialectic was employed as a template, adapting the structure from Berdyaev’s dialectic of theological ideas to a societal dialectic. The originality of this thesis lies in its exposure of the vampire myth as a persistent form of societal symbolism in Russian literature and its discovery of the dialectical nature of the vampire myth. This thesis hopes to serve as a model for future studies of folkloric symbolism in Russian literature. en_US
dc.language English
dc.language.iso EN en_US
dc.publisher UNSW, Sydney en_US
dc.rights CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 en_US
dc.rights.uri en_US
dc.subject.other Gogol en_US
dc.subject.other Russian Literature en_US
dc.subject.other Bulgakov en_US
dc.subject.other Vampire en_US
dc.subject.other Afanasiev en_US
dc.subject.other Lukyanenko en_US
dc.title From Upyr' to Vampire: The Slavic Vampire Myth in Russian Literature en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dcterms.accessRights open access
dcterms.rightsHolder Townsend, Dorian Aleksandra
dspace.entity.type Publication en_US
unsw.relation.faculty Arts Design & Architecture
unsw.relation.originalPublicationAffiliation Townsend, Dorian Aleksandra, German & Russian Studies, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, UNSW en_US
unsw.relation.originalPublicationAffiliation Fortescue, Stephen, Social Sciences & International Studies, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, UNSW en_US School of Humanities & Languages *
unsw.thesis.degreetype PhD Doctorate en_US
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