Uni conference on vampire fiction
Sexy vampires will ascend from the pages of trashy novels to the realms of academia when a British university holds a conference about them, it has been announced.
With many young people gripped by the recent Twilight vampire books and films and the True Blood television series, the University of Hertfordshire hopes the event will encourage students of all ages to study literature.
The conference, called Open Graves, Open Minds: Vampires And The Undead In Modern Culture, is thought to be the first such event in the UK.
It aims to put British vampire fiction "back on the map" after the American takeover of the genre.
Dr Sam George, a lecturer in English Literature at the university, said she was particularly interested in the new teenage vampires.
She said: "In earlier fantasy narratives, such as CS Lewis's Narnia stories, sexuality is outlawed.
"The new vampire stories it seems take up where these narratives leave off and they represent this kind of sexual awakening.
"The new breed of vampires are far from monstrous, they are glamorous and sexy and have an emotional side."
Rather than functioning solely as horror figures, she believes vampires act as a "useful metaphor for teenagers' wider anxieties about their bodies and the first stirrings of desire".
She added: "Their attraction to vampire figures provides a safe way for them to acknowledge these desires."