UVic Torch -- Fall 2004
Autumn 2004,
Volume 25, Number 2

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Image and the Modern Vampire - Photography
                            by VINCE KLASSEN. Image and the Modern Vampire
Vampire lunch: Peter Gölz gives a noon hour public lecture at UVic Downtown, just ahead of Halloween.
Photography by VINCE KLASSEN.

PETER GÖLZ HAS A NEW PAIR OF TRICK VAMPIRE FANGS that his dentist advises against wearing because the glue might not un-stick from his real teeth. So the canines sit displayed in a small plastic box—proud additions to the vampirologist’s kitschy collection of clothing and capes, books (scholarly and not), DVDs, a lunchbox—all dedicated to vampires.

Gothic ghouls have been, well, in the professor’s blood since his doctoral studies and the interest continues in his teaching and research in the Germanic and Russian Studies department. Gölz teaches a popular course on cinematic and literary vampires and, in time for Halloween, he’ll give a public talk about the ways the image of vampires has evolved from repulsive and rat-like to modern versions that seem neither good nor evil.

The vampire myth has been around for centuries and maintains current prominence on TV and in theatres with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Blade trilogy. “There isn’t a figure that has occupied our imagination for so long and in so many ways. That’s because, I think, they’re our double, our dark side,” says Gölz.

Academic interest in vampires is thriving and includes a Norton Critical Edition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which Gölz considers the “academic stamp of approval. Basically every literary theory could apply.” There’s also an explanation of American cultural history based on vampire movies called Our Vampires, Ourselves. Current debate is focused on vampires and the post-human condition. “If you think of the classic vampire on film, the story was often set in the historical past. Nowadays there seems to be more interest in what will become of us, what makes us really human…what sets us apart?”

Seventy-five students signed up the first year Gölz’s course was on the calendar. This year, enrollment has grown to 150 with another 25 on the waiting list. “The feedback (from students) is incredible. Pop culture has come a long way. If you take it seriously, it’s just as fascinating as any other classical text. There’s more to it than meets the eye.”

Peter Gölz’s public lecture, From Bald to Blonde: Vampires in the 20th Century, is on Oct. 29 at noon at UVic Downtown, 910 Government St. It’s offered free of charge by the UVic Division of Continuing Studies. Reserve a seat by calling (250) 472-4747.

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