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E. T. A. HoffmanTransgressive Romanticism$
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Christopher R. Clason

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781786941213

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786941213.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

Transgressions: On the (De-)Figuration of the Vampire in E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “Vampyrismus”

Transgressions: On the (De-)Figuration of the Vampire in E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “Vampyrismus”

(p.114) Chapter Six Transgressions: On the (De-)Figuration of the Vampire in E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “Vampyrismus”1
E. T. A. Hoffman

Nicole A. Sütterlin

, Christopher R. Clason, Alexander Lambrow
Liverpool University Press

The sixth chapter finds that the idea of transgression of boundaries is at the center of the discourse of the vampire, as a kind of inversion of Hoffmann’s Serapiontic Principle. She develops a theory of “vampiric poetics,” whereby the affliction of cannibalism-vampirism is transmitted not via the blood but rather through the narrative itself, discursively. In the framing device of Hoffmann’s Serapions-Brüder one of the Brethren narrates a “horrific tale” regarding bizarre gastronomic cravings that cause a woman to hack her husband to pieces. Upon hearing the story, his patient develops an appetite of her own for human flesh, devouring a corpse in a cemetery and eventually attempting the same with her husband, whom she kills. This essay locates the cause in the metadiegetic narrative: the story transgresses its narrative frame, and emerges in “flesh and blood” in the diegesis. Ultimately, Hoffmann’s narrative critiques emerging psychiatric discourse, which may indeed have inadvertently produced pathologies by circulating case stories suggesting them.

Keywords:   vampire, cannibalism, Serapiontic principle, poetics, narrative, discourse, psychiatry, neurosis

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