SCANDINAVIAN R5B, Section 2: Session C (June 22-August 14): Vampires in Nordic Literature

TuWTh 12-2 , Taught online/Zoom. Instructor: Rue Taylor

Units: 4

This class will be taught via synchronous remote instruction. Time conflicts are not allowed for this class.

While the vampire is not a traditionally Scandinavian monster, its presence has been felt in Nordic literature since the early 19th century. Initially the vampire’s entry into the North came via direct translations of major Gothic works from Britain and continental Europe, but by mid-century these traditional classics began to take on new life of their own through original works based on classic vampire narratives, but adapted to better suit a Scandinavian audience. In this course, we will read the three foundational vampire texts of Western literature—John Polidori’s “The Vampyre,” Sheridan La Fanu’s “Carmilla” and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. We will then look at their respective Nordic adaptations—Viktor Rydberg’s The Vampyre, John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In, and Valdimar Ásmundsson’s Powers of Darkness. By reading these adaptations against their originals, we will explore the changes undergone by the vampire upon crossing cultural and temporal boundaries, and how the creature can be read in order to understand social anxieties and issues in the Nordic countries up to the modern day.

The aim of this course is to help students further their skills in reading, analysis and composition, and to feel more confident participating in existing academic debates. The semester will culminate in a research project designed for students to learn how to find, analyze and engage with secondary sources at the university level.


Bram Stoker, Dracula (Dover, ISBN: 978-0486454010)

Valdimar Ásmundsson, Powers of Darkness: The Lost Version of Dracula, translated by Hans Corneel de Roos (Harry N. Abrams, ISBN: 978-1468313369)

Course Reader

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the “A” portion of the Reading & Composition requirement or its equivalent. Students may not enroll in nor attend R1B/R5B courses without completing this prerequisite.

Instructor pending appointment.