Thursday, January 26, 2017

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: Leslie Ormandy and "Simply Supernatural," Part 1

Monday, February 27, 2012

Leslie Ormandy and "Simply Supernatural," Part 1

Leslie Ormandy teaches two Vampires in Literature courses at an Oregon community college, has re-edited and published Varney the Vampire, and is the originator of the site, a delightful stopping point of all things vampire.

There, Ormandy has links to a wide variety of Victorian literature; a collection of her vampire short stories, as well as the stories and essays her students have written; and links to whimsical items for vampire fans, such as festivals, crossword puzzles, clothing, and movies.

 Ormandy has also included essays and links on many vampire characteristics and topics including sex, the victimization of children, children as vampires, porphyria, evil, Dracula, religion, euthanasia, vampire as metaphor, and more.

1) People of many eras have enjoyed vampire stories. Why do you suppose they do?

 “While the eras may change, I think people still have pretty much the same interests and concerns. Vampires are all about magic. People have always been interested in magic, and they have always been worried about death. You have corpses walking around, taking in life. Nothing makes you feel more alive than that edge between death and life.

2) When did your fascination with vampires begin?

 "With Dark Shadows, the original series. When I first showed Barnabus to my students they weren’t too impressed, but back then, oh my gosh! We all thought he was so hot. After that, it was Anne Rice, but then my interest went dormant for a while, until I started teaching. I’d be doing research papers and run across an occasional vampire.”

3) How did you devise the vampire lit class?

"I was reading Varney the Vampire down at my dad’s farm and thinking about the concepts of life, death, and eternity. I thought it would be fun to be able to discuss those concepts with students. The first time I taught the class, in 2007, Twilight was becoming popular, but it wasn’t huge yet, so the class was predominantly male. I actually started with the literature of the Victorian period since one-third of my MA is in Victorian Lit.”

4) What can people learn from reading Victorian literature?

"The industrial revolution brought huge societal shifts. It’s similar to the changes we see today as we lose the middle class and become once more upper and lower class. It is so reflective of the Victorian time period. We can learn a lot about society from their choices.”

5) Why do you discuss so many vampire-related topics in your class and on your site?

"Because vampires are something that we can connect with, wrestle with, think about, and, if we cannot think, we are easily led and being led is easier than thinking for oneself. Topics that always in the top ten on my site are Dracula, the vampire disease, and the short stories.

6) What is the most popular topic with women?

"Women like the romantic aspect. When you walk through a bookstore today, the hugest section is the paranormal romance, but in the back, there is usually a tiny section where vampires are still monsters. I like both aspects, but I prefer my vampires as monsters. I find it an odd mix to love something that could kill you, and, when the vampire doesn’t, it’s had to make such a huge choice. Vampires as monsters have no qualms about what they are.”

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