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Ghost and Horror Fiction  
 
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Vampires: The Nineteenth Century

Reflecting the period's general ambivalence toward female sexuality, nineteenth-century horror fiction presents it as a force to be feared and suppressed, lest it "devour" innocent men and women. This is the point of one of the early lesbian vampire stories, Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla (1872). In this tale, the heroine sleeps under the same roof as the beautiful vampire Carmilla, which sets the stage for lesbian interaction between the living and the dead.

Same-sex sexual interaction between the dead and the living is, indeed, a staple of vampire stories generally. The Vampyre (1819) by John Polidori, a companion of Lord Byron, recounts the relationship between a mortal and a noble vampire; it may be loosely based on Polidori's own relationship with Byron.

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The most famous vampire story of all, Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897), features same-sex interaction between the characters Lucy and Mina. Both women are asexual and submissive until Lucy begins to evolve into a vampire. As in Le Fanu's Carmilla, it takes a male hero to desex the female vampire by the use of a stake or sword and religion.

Homosexual attachments are also found in Sardia: A Story of Love (1891) by Cora Lynn Daniels and in True Story of a Vampire (1894) by Count Stanislaus Stenbock. The latter story, which self-consciously revels in decadence, is a tale of fulfilled love between the hero and the vampire.

Vampires: The Twentieth Century

In the twentieth century, several authors have drawn sympathetic portraits of gay, lesbian, and bisexual vampires. George Viereck, who from all accounts was himself pansexual, created a bisexual vampire heroine on a quest for true love in Gloria (1952). His earlier novel, The House of the Vampire (1907), which features "psychic vampirism," is also notably .

In Interview with the Vampire (1976), the first novel of her enormously popular vampire series, Anne Rice introduces the likable vampire lovers, Louis and Lestat. As a young man, Louis is turned into a vampire by Lestat, who is older, more experienced, and irresistibly beautiful. The two live together, sleep and travel together, and eventually create a family with the child-turned-vampire Claudia.

In Hotel Transylvania (1978) and Blood Games (1979), Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's bisexual vampire St. Germain becomes involved in complex human relationships.

In The Hunger (1981), Whitley Strieber creates the beautiful bisexual Miriam, who possesses an elegant lifestyle and an attic full of the remains of dead lovers. Until her fateful encounter with Sarah, a sleep researcher, she has managed to pass as human for centuries.

One of the distinctions of Anne Rice's vampire world is that it features homosexual relationships between vampires as well as between the living and the dead, an innovation that other writers have adopted.

In his Lambda-Award-winning stories "Hell Is for Children" (1989) and "Somewhere in the Night" (1989), Jeffrey McMahan features Andres, an out-of-the-closet vampire who cruises for a mate.

In The Gilda Stories (1991), Jewelle Gomez presents the first African-American lesbian vampire, Gilda, who struggles to preserve herself in the years after slavery. Her relationship with the Native-American vampire, Bird, is central to the novel.

Anna Livia's novel Minimax (1992) features legendary lesbians Natalie Barney and Renée Vivien in a comic portrayal of vampire life.

In Lost Souls (1992), horror writer Poppy Z. Brite combines evil, parapsychology, and an unforgettable trio of vampires. Not only does the novel feature homosexual relations between the vampires themselves and their human victims, but Brite introduces Nothing, the half-vampire teenager who has an intense homosexual encounter with a vampire who turns out to be his father.

Homosexual and bisexual vampires are not the only creatures with alternative lifestyles to appear in the pages of horror stories. Openly lesbian writer Natalie Clifford Barney features a hermaphrodite in her novel The One Who Is Legion; or, A.D.'s After-Life (1930). Here the spirit of the hermaphrodite, who resembles her former lover Renée Vivien, is assumed by the living body of a young woman.

The more sinister Lay of Maldoror (1924), written by Comte de Lautréamont (pseudonym of Isidore Ducasse), presents a horrific environment in which demons and hermaphrodites are involved in a variety of homosexual and sadomasochistic acts. In this macabre work, male homosexuality is presented positively. What little tenderness there is in the Lay of Maldoror is directed toward beautiful boys though they are tortured and sacrificed.

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