Vampire Culture: Eternal Themes

Dr. April Kendra
Dr. April Kendra and Sarah Craster
For this episode of Campus Voices we interviewed Dr. April Kendra, about Vampire Culture: What’s Really at Stake (WOMS 205) and her upcoming trip to Volterra, Italy, as part of an interdisciplinary study abroad program in Spring 2016.

Sarah Craster (A&S ’16), one of Campus Voices‘ interns, helped interview Dr. Kendra.


In addition to Volterra‘s rich Etruscan, Roman, and Floretine history, it serves as the ancestral home of a vampire family in Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series, and the locals have responded eagerly, promoting local stories about lunatic asylums, prisons, ghosts, and other paranormal phenomenon in addition to their historical culture.  Such a diverse background allows other departments in the program to have their own input; Criminal Justice is looking at the prison in greater detail, and Marketing may well have something to say about neighboring Montepulciano’s failed attempts to bankroll on their film locations from the Twilight franchise!

As for our literary vampires, we launch into the history of vampire literature both before and after Bram Stoker’s pivotal novel Dracula, tracing vampiric evolution from senseless creatures of evil to  scapegoats for our own internalized monsters.  We also argue for vampire literature as its own genre with over two centuries of prominence, to say nothing of presence.

Other topics for the enthralled are baby vampires, human and other real world parasites and predators, vampires on stage and in Dickens, how American corn contributed to European vampires, and why everyone keeps leaving their windows open anyway.

Listen to the interview

Dr. April Kendra (recorded 10/12/15, aired 10/29/15)
28.8 MB

About our guest

April Kendra is an assistant professor of English at the University of Delaware, where she teaches American literature and Women and Gender Studies.  She is also the faculty sponsor of the Mu Rho chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honors Society.

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