Exotic Otherlands, Headquarters of Death: Sub-tropical Land- and Cityscapes in The Southern Vampire Mysteries

Agnieszka Stasiewicz-Bieńkowska

Abstract


The landscapes and cityscapes of the sub-tropical Southern United States, with their opulent nature, exuberant cities, boisterous cultural diversity and troubled history of conflict and violence have long offered an alluring locale for Gothic narratives. This article explores the ways in which The Southern Vampire Mysteries (2001–2013) – the best-selling literary series by Charlaine Harris and the basis for the HBO TV series True Blood – construct the Gothicised imageries of the American South as the terrain of confusing ambivalences; of glamour and exoticism, death and the uncanny. Informed by the discourses of tropicality, Tropical and Urban Gothic and exotic tourism – and the ways they interweave with the concept of Otherness – the paper seeks to illuminate the process of interrelating and consequently exoticising the figure of the Other and Southern sub-tropical land- and cityscapes. It also examines the tropes of urban interspecies relations articulated in the series as a metaphor for the Southern racial/ethnic heritage with its anxieties of miscegenation, transgression and “excessive” heterogeneity. A particular emphasis is placed on the accounts of New Orleans as the liminal space of cultural blending and touristic exploration of the figure of the Other.

Keywords


The Southern Vampire Mysteries; sub-tropical Gothic; New Orleans; exotic tourism; sub-tropical nature; miscegenation

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.25120/etropic.16.1.2017.3566

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