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Tom 177 (2023): Wielkie tematy kultury w literaturach słowiańskich 15. Zaraza

Vampires and Infection in Croatian Literature

27 grudnia 2022


Vampire characters in Croatian literature are a rare and marginal occurrence within fantastic Gothic literature, and their main task is to undermine the existing social order. Since the late 17th century, vampires were part of folklore writings and archive documents in which they were an explanation for the spread of infectious diseases and unexplainable epidemics, while from Romanticism onwards, they moved to literature in which they became metaphors for familial violence, mental and physical illnesses of individuals and of society as a whole. The author analyses vampire characters and vampirism as presented in popular novels by Boris Perić and Robert Naprta. In these novels, vampires function as multi-layered metaphors related to, inter alia, war traumas. Both novels feature characters of doctors, and the writers mostly use them to criticise corruption in and disadvantages of the health system. In Naprta’s case, real-life Croatian scientists Ivan Đikić and Miroslav Radman are parodied, which gives a touch of contemporaneity to those novels. The final gallery of vampire characters includes those from the novel written by Milena Benini.