Vampirism as literary piracy in Paul Féval’s Vampire City (1875)

Journal article


Civale, S. 2022. Vampirism as literary piracy in Paul Féval’s Vampire City (1875). Global Nineteenth-Century Studies.
AuthorsCivale, S.
Abstract

The prolific French writer Paul Féval was well known on both sides of the Channel for his stories of adventure, crime, and gothic horror. In this final category of his oeuvre are three vampire novels, the last of which is Vampire City (originally La Ville-Vampire in French), published in book form in 1875. This novel features Ann Radcliffe as an intrepid adventure heroine who leaves her fiancé on the morning of their wedding in order to rescue her friends from vampires on the Continent. On one level, Vampire City is a parody of the classic gothic novel, displaying all the graphic violence and supernatural peril that Radcliffe herself—the most popular and widely translated novelist of the 1790s—eschewed, along with a wry and sometimes slapstick humour that takes aim at national stereotypes about class, gender, nation, and literature. Modern critics have often focused on the humorous elements of the text, highlighting it as pure “pastiche” and distinguishing it from Féval’s first two vampire novels which involved "forays into more sensitive and dangerous areas" (Gibson, 108). Closer attention to the story and to the frame narrative that encloses it, however, suggests that Vampire City offers more than just pastiche or parody. This essay argues that in Vampire City Féval advances a serious critique of the cross-Channel literary marketplace in the Victorian period by using vampirism as an allegory for literary piracy. While condemning literary theft (in all its various forms), though, Féval uses an irreverent alternative history of Ann Radcliffe and a spirited manipulation of the tropes of the classic gothic novel to carve out a place for ‘unoriginal’ creativity with integrity.

KeywordsVampire; Nineteenth century; Gothic literature; Plagiarism; Paul Feval; Ann Radcliffe; French literature
Year2022
JournalGlobal Nineteenth-Century Studies
PublisherLiverpool University Press
ISSN2752-6631
2752-6623
Related URLhttps://www.liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/journals/id/111/
Publication process dates
Accepted13 Apr 2022
Deposited11 May 2022
Accepted author manuscript
License
Output statusIn press
Permalink -

https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/91076/vampirism-as-literary-piracy-in-paul-f-val-s-vampire-city-1875

Download files


Accepted author manuscript
  • 2
    total views
  • 2
    total downloads
  • 2
    views this month
  • 2
    downloads this month

Export as

Related outputs

Hamilton, Catherine Jane [pseud. Retlaw Spring] (1841–1935), author and journalist
Civale, S. 2018. Hamilton, Catherine Jane [pseud. Retlaw Spring] (1841–1935), author and journalist. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. https://doi.org/10.1093/odnb/9780198614128.013.109659
"Introduction" to special issue of Romantic Textualities
Civale, S. 2019. "Introduction" to special issue of Romantic Textualities. Romantic Textualities: Literature and Print Culture, 1780-1840.
Romantic women's life writing: reputation and afterlife
Civale, S. 2019. Romantic women's life writing: reputation and afterlife. Manchester University Press.
Women’s life writing and reputation: a case study of Mary Darby Robinson
Civale, S. 2018. Women’s life writing and reputation: a case study of Mary Darby Robinson. Romanticism. 24 (2), pp. 191-202. https://doi.org/10.3366/rom.2018.0372
Austentatious: comedy improv and Austen adaptation in the twenty-first century
Civale, S. 2018. Austentatious: comedy improv and Austen adaptation in the twenty-first century. Women's Writing. https://doi.org/10.1080/09699082.2018.1509832
“Reader, I did not even have coffee with him”: Lorrie Moore’s adaptation of Jane Eyre (1847) in A Gate at the Stairs (2009)
Civale, S. 2016. “Reader, I did not even have coffee with him”: Lorrie Moore’s adaptation of Jane Eyre (1847) in A Gate at the Stairs (2009). Studies in the Novel. 48 (3). https://doi.org/10.1353/sdn.2016.0040
The literary afterlife of Frances Burney and the Victorian periodical press
Civale, S. 2011. The literary afterlife of Frances Burney and the Victorian periodical press. Victorian Periodicals Review. 44 (3), pp. 236-266. https://doi.org/10.1353/vpr.2011.0027