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The vampire figure in contemporary Latin American narrative fiction

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The vampire figure in contemporary Latin American narrative fiction
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Clemons, Gregory A., 1963-
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vii, 321 leaves : ; 29 cm.

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Death ( jstor )
Discourse ( jstor )
Dolls ( jstor )
Latin American literature ( jstor )
Literary criticism ( jstor )
Literature ( jstor )
Narratives ( jstor )
Novels ( jstor )
Vampires ( jstor )
Violence ( jstor )
Dissertations, Academic -- Romance Languages and Literatures -- UF
Latin American literature -- History and criticism -- 20th century ( lcsh )
Romance Languages and Literatures thesis, Ph. D
Vampires in literature ( lcsh )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Thesis:
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1996.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 303-320).
General Note:
Typescript.
General Note:
Vita.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Gregory A. Clemons.

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THE VAMPIRE FIGURE IN CONTEMPORARY LATIN AMERICAN NARRATIVE
FICTION











By


GREGORY A. CLEMONS


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


1996































Copyright 1996

by

Gregory A. Clemons














ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would first of all wish to express extreme gratitude to my major

professor, Dr. Andr6s Avellaneda, for his persistent support during my years

as a graduate student at the University of Florida. Also, I thank the chair of

the Department of Romance Languages and Literature, Dr. Geraldine C.

Nichols, for giving the graduate students the many opportunities to be

ourselves, in and out of the classroom.

Many thanks to the Interlibrary Loan librarians at the University of

Florida and at Warren Wilson College for acquiring the somewhat obscure

books and articles that appear in this dissertation.

To the many close friends and colleagues who have seen me through

this extensive project, I send heartfelt thanks for the support and continual

encouragement: Jim, Tamir, Andrea, Don, Rhett, Steve, John, Virginia,

Casey, Lynn and John, Ed and Susan, my "outside" reader Ann, and Steph

and Inka.

Finally, I could not have completed this project without the undying

support and encouragement of my parents, Rachel and Harvey Clemons.

I dedicate this dissertation to my sister, Candice.














TABLE OF CONTENTS


A C KNO W LEDG M ENTS ................................................................... iii

A B S T R A C T ................................................................................... V

CHAPTERS

1 IN T R O D U C T IO N ................................................................ 1

2 THE BEGINNINGS OF THE VAMPIRE IN LATIN AMERICAN
NARRATIVE; EL VAMPIRO BY FROYLAN TURCIOS ............ 49

3 MANUEL BEDOYA'S EL GENERAL BEBEVIDAS. MONSTRUO
D E A M tR IC A ................................................................. 86

4 EL VAMPIRO BY JOSt ABIMAEL PINZON ............................ 134

5 RAFAEL MALUENDA'S VAMPIRO DE TRAPO ....................... 179

6 "EL VAMPIRO," CHAPTER TEN OF MANUEL MUJICA
LAINEZ'S CRONICAS REALES .......................................... 205

7 LUIS ZAPATA'S LAS AVENTURAS, DESVENTURAS Y
SUENOS DE ADONIS GARC[A, EL VAMPIRO DE LA
C O LO N IA RO M A ............................................................. 231

8 C O N C LUS IO NS ................................................................. 273

W O R KS C IT ED .............................................................................. 30 3

BIO G RA PHICA L SKETCH ................................................................ 321








Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

THE VAMPIRE FIGURE IN CONTEMPORARY LATIN AMERICAN
NARRATIVE FICTION

By

Gregory A. Clemons

May 1996

Chairman: Dr. Andr~s 0. Avellaneda

Major Department: Romance Languages and Literatures

Although there are fewer literary examples than in British, North

American, French, and German literatures, the vampire figure in Latin

American narrative fiction appears with a more profound sexuality. This

dissertation examines six Latin American novels from 1910 from 1979 that

have vampire characters with highly visible sexualities that stand apart from

the traditional heterosexual paradigm of sexual behavior as compulsory tools

for the re-examination of traditional sexuality in Latin American literature.

Before examining the six novels named below, the dissertation

presents for the first time a comprehensive review of Latin American

literature with vampire characters. This dissertation then compares the

vampire figure within six Latin American narratives with Bram Stoker's

characters Count Dracula from his 1897 novel Dracula. The difference

between Count Dracula and the six vampire characters examines in this

study is their narrative presence: in Stoker's novel, the vampire appears very








seldom in the narrative; he is a secondary figure left to the descriptions of

those pursuing him. By contrast, the six vampires examined in this

dissertation remain consistent and visible parts of the novels. A more

important difference between the seven narratives is what Stoker only

indirectly addresses through his title character. Through the vampire's

extreme sexuality, the six Latin American novels allow a reconceptualization

of human sexuality from the point of view of one of popular culture's most

famous horror icons.

The French post-structuralist critic Michel Foucault argues in The

History of Sexuality (1976) that human sexuality has undergone since the

seventeenth century a steady shift into silence because of restrictions placed

on it. At the same time, however, Foucault points out that sexual activities

remain a point of interest in Western societies, especially in legal, medical,

and juridical discourses; at once, then, sexuality is voiced/not voiced. This

dissertation looks at the concept of the confession discussed in Foucault's

History of Sexuality as it applies to six Latin American novels and their

expression of sexuality.

The six novels and their countries are: Froyl~n Turcios's El vampiro

(1910) (Honduras), Manuel Bedoya's El general Bebevidas. Monstruo de

Am~rca (1 939) (Peru), Jos6 Abimael Pinz6n's Elvamp~im (1 956) (Colombia),

Rafael Maluenda's El vampiro de trapo (1958) (Chile), chapter ten of Manuel

Mujica Lainez's Cr6nicas reales (1967) (Argentina), and Luis Zapata's Las








aventuras. desventuras y suehios de Adonis Garcfa. el vampiro de la Colonia

Roma (1979) (Mexico). These works have received very little attention in

critical studies of contemporary Latin American narrative not only as stories

about vampires, but as valid treatments of the topic of sexuality as well.















CHAPTER 1


INTRODUCTION

The purpose of this dissertation is to explore sexuality through the

vampire motif in Latin American novels and to suggest that in the novels

considered a forbidden sensual desire (alluded to below by Foucault, Shaw,

and Molloy) undermines traditional conceptions of sexual behavior in a

fashion that relativizes the definitions of "normal" sexual performance. The

analyses in this dissertation explore "the textual production of Latin America

since the turn of the century in order to figure out the forms taken by

silence, the oblique figurations to which it has resorted to speak the

unspeakable" (Molloy, "Too Wilde 199) discourses of alternative

sexualities. The articulation of such sexuality appears through the figure of

the vampire. The appearance of the vampire as a figure in early nineteenth-

century Latin American literature combines the juxtaposition of death and life

with the yearning for a perfect but often unattainable love. This love

becomes more sexualized in the twentieth century, and the vampire

occasionally exhibits the trait of vicious bloodsucking that may exist in

English or North American vampire stories. More frequently, however, the

vampire figure in contemporary Latin American narrative exposes unruly








sexuality. This introduction examines several viewpoints about vampirism in

literature and its associations to Latin American narratives. A brief

examination of each work that appears in this dissertation shows that diverse

sexuality related to the vampire theme is one of the hallmarks of Latin

American vampire narrative fiction.

This dissertation also examines the diversity of the vampire in

twentieth-century Latin American narrative in comparison with Bram Stoker's

novel Dracula. The portrayal of the vampire in narrative fiction of Latin

America is as varied as fictional reinterpretations of the vampire made

famous by Bram Stoker in his 1897 novel Dracula. Even though the

characterizations of the vampire in contemporary Latin American narrative

fiction preserve elements associated with traditional vampire lore, such as

those developed by Stoker in his novel, there are variations. As James B.

Twitchell notes, Stoker's work "has been condensed, mutilated, rewritten,

[and] revamped as a classic comic book, yet does not die" (Twitchell,

Dreadful .. 127) as it continues to provide artistic inspiration.

In Latin American culture the vampire has been a popular figure for

entertainment (and for profit) but there is a noticeable absence of studies of

a figure that has been present in many forms since the time of the conquest

of Latin America.1 Examining one recurring aspect of the vampire, its out-of-


1 Raymond T. McNally and Radu Florescu point out that Latin American vampirism
antedates as well as coexists with the arrival of the Spaniards to the New World: "Ancient
Peruvians believed in a class of devil worshippers called canchus or m, who
sucked blood from the sleeping young in order to partake of their life. Aztecs sacrificed the








control sexuality, this dissertation ultimately suggests that studying the

vampire motif in Latin American narrative fiction can enhance our

understanding of Latin America. Representations of the vampire in Latin

American narrative demonstrate how, "divested of its supernatural trappings,

the motif of the vampire becomes a metaphor for spiritual [and physical]

violation, for transgression against the personal integrity of another"

(Klenman Babener viii).

The vampire is "one of humankind'ss oldest horror images "

(Twitchell, D 105); its applicability to the socio-cultural process

is due to its movement in time from horrific beast to an image of popular

culture reflecting "the mythopoetic process in general [which] shows

how certain myths continually re-magnetize themselves (Twitchell,

Dreadful. 110) around the audience's changing needs for entertainment

as well as for information about themselves. Citing the movement of the

vampire through world literature, Twitchell cites Maupassant, Tieck,

Hoffman, Nodier, Gautier, Baudelaire and Mdrimde (Twitchell, Dradu.

310n5), but he does not mention literature written in Spanish. The vampire

has been represented in Latin American literature, film, and drama as a

"multifaceted metaphor for the dark regions of the human mind, for the

sexual tensions underlying modern life, for the primal fears and potent


hearts of prisoners to the sun in the belief that their blood fed the sun's continuing energy"
(117).








unconscious drives which continue to flourish in the psyche of contemporary

man [sic]" (Klenman Babener 172).

When discussing the vampire in Latin American literature, several critics

notice the importance of outside influences such as Bram Stoker's Dracula

and echo Twitchell's idea of the continuity of the vampire. A. Owen

Aldridge dismisses any association of "the Vampire theme [with the Hispanic

world] until the dawn of the Romantic period" (Aldridge 145), even

though it "goes back in written literature to the second century A.D."

(Aldridge 145). Margo Glantz admits that the vampire is incorporated into

Latin American literature "a su manera, conservando bajo la apariencia de

algo muy distinto los viejos sfmbolos utilizados dentro de rituales de nueva

representaci6n" (Glantz, "La metamorfosis 8). Nestor Cazzaniga cites

several sources--"las advertencias de los predicadores medievales acerca de

las brujas y de todo un mundo de seres demonfacos" (Cazzaniga 9); Francis

Ford Coppola's recent film Bram Stoker's Dracula (see Coppola and Hart);

and a "reciente y exitosa comedia musical argentina de Pepe Cibrijn"

(Cazzaniga 9)--and concludes, as does Twitchell, that "el tema de los

vampiros sigue suscitando un interns permanente" (9) in Latin American

culture. For example, although Julio Cortdzar does not publish works

specifically about vampires, the Argentine author "is thoroughly acquainted

with the numerous nosferati preceding and following Bram Stoker's

illustrious Count (Hern~ndez, "Vampires and Vampiresses 570)








and he incorporates vampirism into his novel 62: modelo para armar

(Hernindez, "Vampires and Vampiresses 571) through references to

John Polidori and Elizabeth Bathory, two figures that appear in Latin

American novels about vampires (see Maluenda, Vampiro de trapo, and

Pizarnik).

Chosen from the considerable corpus of Latin American literature

about vampires discussed in chapter two, this dissertation examines six

contemporary Latin American narratives with different vampires. The works

examined (listed here in chronological order) are: EJl ampim (1910) by

Froyl~n Turcios; El general Bebevidas. Monstruo de Amdrica (1939) by

Manuel Bedoya; El Vampiro (Novela) (1956) by Josd Abimael Pinz6n;

Vampiro de trapo. Novela (1958) by Rafael Maluenda; Cr6nicas reales (1967)

by Manuel Mujica Lainez; and Las aventuras. desventuras y suefios de

Adonis Garcfa. el vampiro de la Colonia Roma (1979) by Luis Zapata. This

project is the first attempt to discuss the vampire in Latin American

literature, a task that has been completed in American, English, French, and

German literatures. Each analysis poses the following questions: What are

the manifestations of the vampire in the text? How different is the vampire in

these texts than from its portrayal in other literatures? To what extent does

the recurrent use of the vampire figure in Latin American literature express

social, political, and cultural conflicts? How does each vampire compare to

other vampires in Latin American narrative? The narratives examined in this








dissertation show that many "artists have recognized in the vampire

myth a wellspring of deeply inbred psychological and spiritual truths and thus

a legitimate sphere for creative inquiry" (Klenman Babener 172).

The six texts chosen for analysis in this dissertation have received

little critical attention yet have been written by authors who, for the most

part, are well known in Latin America. As chapter two points out, in almost

every decade of the twentieth century Latin Americans have published a

vampire story or produced a film with vampire characters. At different

stages in their literary careers, established Latin American writers such as

Rub6n Darfo, Horacio Quiroga, Manuel Bedoya, Manuel Mujica Lainez, Rafael

Maluenda, Julio Cort~zar, Severo Sarduy, and Luis Zapata have written

vampire stories. According to David William Foster, in Latin American

literary studies there is "the need to expand the parameter of criticism

beyond restrictions of an undue emphasis on those writers to [sic] have

received international recognition and on those who represent an official,

mainline academic canon" (Foster, "Rev. of Adonis .. ." 90) to lesser-

known writers whose works are equally important or who "deviate from

official and institutional norms" (Foster, "Rev. of Adonis 91).

The writers examined in this dissertation appear seldom or not at all in

"official and institutional" histories of contemporary Latin American narrative

(Lindstrom). Since the six novels offer innovative interpretations of the

vampire myth, their presence here indicates that questioning the canon in








literary and cultural studies is necessary. During the 1 960s and 1 970s, a

prolific time for many Latin American writers, "the upheavals in public

education opened up discussions of the traditional academic curriculum"

(Irons xiv) and allowed for lesser-examined works to receive attention from

innovative critical points of view. This dissertation examines works that

have been overlooked by critics but that continually reshape and formulate

the vampire motif in differing ways. The driving force behind popular

literature and myth are images such as the vampire that keep appearing in

many different forms; "all narrative that pleases does so precisely because it

is informed by powerful and important archetypes and myths" (Irons xiv).


As an expression of human anxiety about sexuality, the vampire figure

is defined less by its sexual orientation than by its presence as a being with a

strong sexual impulse and drive. Many manifestations of the vampire figure

in literature place vampire and victim in a heterosexual framework in which

the male vampire pursues the female victim, an action that identifies male-

female sexuality as the dominant paradigm for sexual activity. For example,

one critic links vampirism to the "undead" images of survivors of AIDS,

assumed by many to be a homosexual disease, but nonetheless admits the

heterosexuality of the vampire image: "From Bela Lugosi to John Holmes,

Frank Langella to Count Chocula, the Dracula image has been

heterosexualized and domesticated to sell everything from breakfast cereal .

. to rape fantasies for straight men" (Hanson 324-25).








Regardless of the sexual orientation of the vampire and/or victim, the

assertive sexuality of the vampire figure fuels the popularity of the vampire

motif in narrative fiction. Writing with reference to Bram Stoker's 1897

novel, Mark Jancovich indicates a clear parallel between the vampire's

meditated attack and a highly-charged sexual modus o.eando: "He [Count

Dracula] invades the bourgeois home, the bedchamber, the body, and finally,

the will. It is for this reason that while he converts the free subject into a

slave who is compelled to act according to his [Dracula's] will, the manner of

his attack is clearly sexual" (Jancovich 49).


The attraction to the sexual acts of the vampire figure is also based on

the reader's heightened identification with the tenuous distinction between

imagined sexuality and real sex that vampire narratives blur: "the ironic thing

about vampire sexuality is that, for its overt peculiarity, it is in many ways

very like human sexuality, but human sexuality in which the psychological or

metaphoric becomes physical or literal" (Stevenson 142). In his book The

Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre (1970), Tzvetan

Todorov identifies the vampire figure as a component of the "theme of the

other" that involves sexuality. Similar to Stevenson's blurry distinction

between corporeal and imagined/textual sexuality, for Todorov the vampire

figure forces the reader to choose from within a written text "between

satisfaction of the external and of the internal senses" (125). Central to

Todorov's classification of the "other" within the literature of the fantastic








are its themes of "excessive sensuality" (1 58), those actions which "will be

more readily accepted by any censor if they are attributed to the devil"

(Todorov 159) or to, as this dissertation suggests, the vampire figure in

literature.


The fascination with the "peculiar" sexuality of the vampire character

in literature and film springs from the wider attraction of sexuality in

literature. As one critic puts it, "'Sexuality' is the stake and the purpose, the

constant wager of the representation [in the novel], over a scale of variations

that runs from the elemental to its banalization, its ordinary

'aroundness,' the simple and immediate acceptance that it is the fundamental

topic of interest and preoccupation" (Heath, "'While Millicent "' 58).

The sexuality in the six novels discussed in this dissertation is dynamic

because its confession disrupts "accepted" and/or "acceptable" standards of

sexual behavior and offers options that strengthen the overall discursive

system of sexuality.


As certain definitions of sexuality indicate, however, male/female

activity is only one aspect of sexual expression that lies within a larger

discursive network that silences and prohibits alternative, not heterosexual

sexualities. Because of the increasingly more "open" positions of women in

societal structures such as the workplace and the home, the same critic cited

above notes that in the late twentieth century "many of the nineteenth-








century terms [regarding sexuality] have shifted, and this especially in

connection with 'sexual liberation,' 'the sexual revolution,' leading to various

adjustments and rearrangements in the overall representation" of sexuality in

literature (Heath, "'While Millicent "' 47). Feminist literary criticism

produced by and about Latin American women writers emphasizes the all-

encompassing aspect of discourse that "incluye, ordena y afirma una serie de

elementos a base de excluir, y asf, negar otros. Tomar conciencia de esto

nos Ileva [a nosotras] a valorar positivamente lo marginado, y considerar

como significativo lo que ha sido negativizado" (Gonzalez Stephan 111) by a

male-dominated literary production as well as by a heterosexist discourse

that excludes optional identities/orientations. Highlighting the writings of

Latin American writers Luisa Valenzuela of Argentina and Isabel Allende of

Chile, Marta Morello-Frosch places sexual discourse at once within and

without textual/literary manifestations as a representation of Latin American

society that determines sexual discourse: "no se puede extrapolar la

diferencia sexual del mundo social en el que est6 inscripta [sic], y parte de la

diferenciaci6n gen6rica que subyace en la dialdctica del discurso sexual, est6

condicionada por componentes sociales tales como clase, educaci6n,

experiencias, etc." (Morello-Frosch 29) that are external to any literary text.

An awareness of, or to use Gonzalez Stephan's term, a consciousness of the

vampire motif in Latin American literature propels the "adjustments and

rearrangements" that Heath mentions as well as "la diferenciaci6n gen~rica








que subyace en la dial6ctica del discurso sexual" of Morello-Frosch with

respect to the "textualization" of sexuality within a discourse that, as

Gonz~lez Stephan indicates, marginalizes, excludes, and negates.


Since the vampire figure does not necessarily remain within a

heterosexual paradigm of sexual activity, differing components of sexuality

serve as incitements to discourse that critics thematically tie to the vampire

figure. While placing "unnatural sex" within the historical push toward a

closer scientific scrutiny of sexuality, Vern Bullough refers to nonprocreative

sexuality as essentially vampiric in nature because it "was worse than almost

any other disease for it constantly drained off the vital body fluids and

gradually took away life itself. Every loss of semen was regarded as

equivalent to the loss of 4 ounces of blood (Bullough 23). Sexual

deviance, "unnatural" sex, or any "straying from the norm" of reproductive

heterosexuality is often associated with negative manifestations of

homosexuality yet early religious sources do not define sexuality that is not

strictly heterosexual, that is, not male-female. Although one theologian, St.

Albertus Magnus (1206-80), uses the word sodomy "as [sex practiced byl

male with male or female with female" (Bullough and Bullough 34), he

explicitly defines the act of sodomy not as homosexual but rather in a

fashion that strongly suggests vampirism that appears in the novels

examined in this dissertation: "(1) it proceeded from a burning frenzy that

subverted the order of nature; (2) the sin was distinguished by its disgusting








foulness; (3) individuals who became addicted to such vices seldom

succeeded in freeing themselves; and (4) such vices were contagious and

spread rapidly from one to another" (Bullough and Bullough 34). Magnus

does not specify sodomy as male/male nor from the point of view of

intercourse/penetration that has come to identify gay sex, nor does he state

clearly that sodomy is a homosexual act.


Magnus describes sodomy more as an object of study than one of

rejection, similar to the way Foucault notes that the examination and pursuit

of sodomy exposed it rather than pushed it into hiding: the "machinery of

power did not aim to suppress it, but rather to give it an analytical,

visible, and permanent reality: it was implanted on bodies, slipped in beneath

modes of conduct, made into a principle of classification and intelligibility,

[and] established as a raison d'Atre (Foucault, The History 44)2

Whether or not the subject is sodomy, the six novels in this dissertation

demonstrate that the variable sexuality in Latin American vampire narratives

produces a visible presence in the wider realm of contemporary Latin

American narrative fiction: these authors bring sexuality into a reality that "is

especially silent about sexual themes" (Foster, Gay and Lesbian 140).




2
In The History of Sexuality. Volume One, Michel Foucault underscores sexual discourse as
an historical product of and coexistent with other voices of power that attempt to repress
it: "The affirmation of a sexuality ... is coupled with the grandiloquence of a [larger]
discourse purporting to reveal the truth about sex, modify its economy within reality,
subvert the law that governs it, and change its future" (8).









Similar to writers of the "Boom" in Latin American literature, the

authors of the narratives examined in this dissertation have "subjected

modern Latin American narrative to a radical rewriting that swept away

traditional themes and sources of authority" (Gonzilez Echevarrfa 33).

These writers attempt to explore the discourse of human sexuality through

the idea of the confession that allowed such discourses to proliferate and yet

remain a part of a repressed society. This dissertation shows that the

concept of confession about sexuality3 may be applied to Latin American

vampire narratives that present the subversiveness of vampire stories. Sylvia

Molloy points out that, similar to the imposition of the Victorian framework

onto Western sexuality that Foucault supports as the current cause for the

silence of sexual discourse4, turn-of-the-century Latin American writers enter

a modern era that is capable of classifying people, things, and discourses

from the "normative" point of view that "is arrived at, and indeed derives

from, the gender and sexual differences that purportedly deviate from it--in




3 This idea is developed by Foucault in his The History of Sexuality: An Introduction, Vol. 1
(1976), referred to at various points throughout this dissertation. Foucault establishes the
confession about sex as follows: "the dissemination and reinforcement of heterogeneous
sexualities... are linked together with the help of the central element of a confession that
compels individuals to articulate their sexual peculiarity--no matter how extreme" (61).
4 According to Foucault, the openness toward sexuality diminishes during the Victorian age
of the later nineteenth century and this restriction continues into the twentieth: procreative
sexuality becomes the norm and anything not considered to lead to sexuality that produces
offspring "would be driven out, denied, and reduced to silence" (Foucault, The History .
4). Yet Foucault emphasizes that the counterdiscourse about sex serves as a discourse
about the sexuality that has been silenced: the legal-medico-judicial restraints aimed at
controlling (perverse) sexuality in fact bring these sexualities into view as indicated above
about sodomy.








the same way that the definition of 'health' follows that of disease, and

decadence gives birth to notions of maturity and fullness" (Molloy, "Too

Wilde 187). Thus, as contemporary Latin American vampire novels of

the twentieth century imply, "normative" discourses of sexuality are set up

while at the same time destabilized through the exploration of alternative,

different, or deviant sexualities as a way of commenting on "normal" sexual

practices.


Sexuality is a contemporary issue that theorists attempt to define

outside of Latin American literary circles as well. Gayle Rubin observes that

human sexuality today has become the target of oppressive measures

because of its wider variety. Supporting Michel Foucault's idea that

sexuality is a social construct and therefore a social system,5 Rubin explores

how sexuality needs to be taken less seriously as an object of discourse

rather than a subject of discourse. Like Foucault, Rubin sees that sexuality

"is organized into systems of power, which reward and encourage some

individuals and activities, while punishing and suppressing others" (Rubin

34). For Rubin, the mystified nature of sexuality in many societies produces

battles about sexuality that are "highly symbolic. Sexual activities often

function as signifiers for personal and social apprehensions to which they




5 As a different critic notes, Foucault's work on sexuality "teaches that sexual norms, and
more radically the perceptual and other cognitive distinctions that we make in regard to sex,
do not come from nature but instead express the values of influential social groups (political
[and] professional...)" (Posner 24).








have no intrinsic connection" (Rubin 25) but seem real nonetheless. The

political struggle over sexuality is often aimed at what Rubin calls "chimeras"

or "phantasms," vampire-like images of deviant and/or dangerous sexuality.

The crackdown on non-traditional sexualities adds a vampire-like quality to

sexuality as it "is rationalized by portraying them as menaces to health and

safety, women and children, national security, the family, or civilization

itself" (Rubin 25). :]e ambiguity surrounding what constitutes "unnatural

sex" remains constant into the twentieth century and attempts to specify its

exact nature allow for interpretations of non-heterosexual activity that use

the vampire figure "as a means of articulating what is epistemologically

constructed as both 'unnatural' and unspeakable" (Krzywinska 109) within

narrative discourse.


With reference to the Venezuelan writer Teresa de la Parra, Sylvia

Molloy brings to the surface the hidden but subversive textual/discursive

erasures carried out by critics to hide her (lesbian) sexuality. Such omissions

provide crucial information about the sexual identity of de la Parra in a way

that parallels Foucault's idea of alternative sexualities as "hidden" discourses.

As components of an overall literary/discursive system, these sexualities are

forced into silence but then explode into sight once revealed: "By highlighting

what is secret, clandestine, conspirational, on the threshold of a

relatively nonthreatening text, she [de la Parral is offering not only clues to

her literary strategy but a lesson in discriminating reading, an invitation to








decode an oeuvre, a life, that permanently border on the unsayable" (Molloy,

"Disappearing Acts 237).


In the six narratives examined in this dissertation the vampire figure

destabilizes heterosexuality while "grasp[ing] sexuality as the site of varied

and heterogeneous determinations, with sexual difference too then

understood in those terms: as social production, human reality, individual

articulation all at once, in interaction" (Heath, "The Ethics 143). The

presence of the vampire figure in these narratives allows narrative discourse

to subvert "traditional" systems of sexual behavior by undermining the

expectations of heterosexuality within narrative explorations of and about

sexuality in Latin American fiction of the twentieth century. Each novel

presents challenging ideas about sexuality in Latin American society by first

establishing a central sexual conflict and then destabilizing the foundation(s)

on which the sexuality rests by introducing socio-political as well as personal

conflicts that textualize sexuality. In reference to assumed patterns of

heterosexual as well as social/cultural/political behavior and expectations, the

vampire figure in each of the six narratives suggests that sexuality in

twentieth-century Latin American narrative fiction is not restricted to

established and/or expected patterns of behavior and that any examination of

this "alternative" sexuality enriches and empowers the history of Latin

American literature in the sphere of global literature. Just as Foucault's

examination of the discourse(s) of sexuality brings to light its power as a









product of social, political, and authoritative discourses throughout history,

sexuality in these six narratives reveals truths of Latin American society in

the same fashion: "La sexualidad se deforma y exhfbe sus rostros

monstruosos para dar testimonio de los males de una sociedad, es decir, del

determinismo social, de la violencia, de la frustraci6n, de la corrupci6n y de la

hipocresla" (Caro 170).

The omission of lesser known works such as the novels examined in

this dissertation constitutes a serious problem for the appreciation of all

varieties of Latin American literature that need to gain recognition as

important contributions within as well as without the "canon." For example,

two recent supporters of lesbian and gay writing in the Hispanic world

lament the exclusion of non-canonical works such as those works written by

lesbians and gay men and encourage the examination of those Spanish-

language works, ideas, or writing techniques that expose non-heterosexuality

not in order to provide "alternatives to reality" but rather to expand the

boundaries of Spanish and Latin American literary studies: "in its genuflection

to the notion of successive 'generations' of writers, much criticism of

Spanish-language literature shows itself deeply wedded to a gallery of

canonical authors. While the celebration of such figures may serve as a

focus for cultural pride, it can also tend to silent divergent or dissident

readings" (Smith and Bergmann 3). (It is important to note that this 1995

collection of essays includes an article about Alejandra Pizarnik's La.ond sa









sangrienta [19711,6 an otherwise infrequently critiqued text within Latin

American literary studies that focuses on the bloodlust of the important

historical figure Elizabeth Bathory.) Likewise to how Smith and Bergmann

see continuous groups of well known heterosexual writers examined but

lesser known lesbian/homosexual authors ignored, in her 1994 survey of

Latin American prose fiction of the twentieth century, Naomi Lindstrom sees

"Spanish American prose fiction as a continuum" (Lindstrom 1) of realistic

as well as fantastic and/or mythical texts yet rarely examines works that are

not already included in overviews of narrative fiction. The six novels

presented in this dissertation appear seldom (if at all) in histories of Latin

American narrative fiction but because of the confession of sexuality in each

of these texts as well as the incorporation of vampire figures, they are

examples of what Lindstrom identifies as "innovative fiction[s,]..narratives

with a strong mythic and fantastic strain, [that] can serve as a medium of

social criticism" (Lindstrom 12) and propitiate what Smith and Bergmann

refer to as "divergent or dissident readings" (3). Their appearance in this

dissertation adds to the general history of Latin American literature that,

according to Lindstrom, requires[] continual adjustment of critical concepts

originally designed to characterize those literatures whose dominance was

long established" (226).



6 Suzanne ChAvez Silverman, "The Look That Kills: The 'Unacceptable Beauty' of Alejandra
Pizarnik's La condesa sangrienta," iEntiendes? Queer Readings. Hispanic Writings, eds.
Emilie L. Bergmann and Paul Julian Smith, (Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1995): 281-305.








Each novel uses the vampire figure as the central mechanism with

which to look at human sexual relations as products of broader relationships

of political and personal power. The narratives uphold the notion of

confession as a discourse between sexual bodies as well as social bodies:

the complex human relationships that each narrative presents are as much a

product of sex as they are of political and social interaction. As Alicia Puleo

defines it, sexuality in narratives such as these is "una modalidad de relaci6n

con el propio cuerpo y con los otros que se acompai5a de un rol socialmente

establecido que condiciona nuestra percepci6n de los otros y de nosotros

mismos" (Puleo 18).

This dissertation surveys the presence of sexuality in six contemporary

Latin American narratives from Modernism7 to the present. If "it is

essentially through some form of conventionally taboo a[ deviant sexual

behaiour that characters in modern Spanish-American novels often seek


7 The term "modernism" (or mndern smn in Spanish) in reference to Spanish American
literature has a different meaning than associated with the Brazilian or Anglo-American
version of the term. As Alfred MacAdam notes, "Spanish American Modern smo must not
be confused with the twentieth-century avant-garde movement of the same name in Brazil,
and neither has any relationship with the currently fashionable term 'modernism,' a catch-all
term for avant-garde movements in general" (4). The Spanish American modmista
movement became "fully evident during the 1880s ... (Lindstrom 7) and "predominated
in Spanish American letters into the 1910s ... (Lindstrom 7). Distinct from Anglo-
American and Brazilian uses of the term, modernism in Latin American literature refers to
what Naomi Lindstrom sees as "a response to the contemporary situation of the [Latin
American] region" (Lindstrom 19). In order to define the term, I cite her definition in its
entirety: "Modernists were closely attentive to tendencies in French- and English-language
literatures and referred with pride to European influences on their writing. Understandably,
they have been accused of disdain for their Spanish American heritage. Here, too, the
issues are complex. While modernists drew upon other literatures, these borrowings were
thoroughly, and inevitably, transformed" (Lindstrom 18). Generally speaking, Latin
American modernism begins in the 1 880s and lasts through the end of the first decade of
the twentieth century.








themselves" (Shaw, "Notes on 276-77, my emphasis) is it necessary

to first place sexuality within the confines of acceptability and then measure

to what degree any divergence from the norm occurs in the attempt to

examine the presence of a discourse of sexuality in Latin American literature?

What is the aberrant sexual activity to which Shaw refers and how is it

expressed in the Spanish American novel? With occasional reference to the

ideas of Michel Foucault about the historical manifestation of sexuality, this

dissertation attempts to uncover the answers to these questions through the

figure of the vampire in Latin American narrative fiction of the twentieth

century.

Foucault argues that for approximately three centuries the repression

of a discourse of sexuality not only creates more discussion about the topic

but in addition multiplies the voices of sexuality because of the same

restrictions: "since the end of the sixteenth century, the 'putting into

discourse of sex,' far from undergoing a process of restriction, on the

contrary has been subjected to a mechanism of increasing incitement;. .the

techniques of power exercised over sex have not obeyed a principle of

rigorous selection, but rather one of dissemination and implantation of

polymomphous sexualifies" (Foucault, The History 12, my emphasis)

that the novels in this dissertation explore.

If Foucault supports on the one hand the examination of sexuality, he

maintains on the other that "literary discourse has been slow to appropriate









sexuality or to create sexual desire (During 172) because the

expression of sexuality has remained a private or closed issue. With the

appearance of the printing press and the generation of mass media forms

that follows, written texts become a public domain in which the expression

of ideas and beliefs about sex proliferates yet remains carefully watched and

monitored: "in sexuality, as in penality, a moral discourse is consolidated and

displaced by practices and modes of thought that construct norms and

impose them as respectable, natural, or normal" (During 169). Thus, an

ideological battle over sexuality begins to differentiate between what is

acceptable and what is inadmissible sexuality.

Beginning with the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, Latin

America undergoes the change to modernity, a shift that Latin American

modernista writers attempt to portray in literature with a "break with

bourgeois convention" (Molloy, "Too Wilde 190). Yet there is a

disquiet and suspicious feeling at the same time about the sudden

appearance of a discourse about sexuality that Molloy identifies as "the

paranoid construction of gender and sexual norm, and of gender and sexual

difference" (Molloy, "Too Wilde 187) that Donald Shaw points to

above as well. In order to ease the transition into the twentieth century,

Latin American writers use the vampire motif to represent what Molloy and

Shaw point to as uncertain sexuality, for "The [vampire] monster always

represents the disruption of categories, the destruction of boundaries, and








the presence of impurities" within discourses assumed to be pure and

innocent (Halberstam 27).

Unsettling and ultimately critical about sexuality, Bram Stoker's 1897

novel Dracula is a work that is considered by many to be the work of

vampire fiction yet vampirism in literature must not be reduced to the actions

of Count Dracula as Stoker developed them. As Margaret L. Carter points

out, vampirism in literature is of all kinds and should not be limited to

prescribed actions: "Not all legendary vampires drink blood; some consume

other human products, while some spread death by their proximity .

.Moreover, an undead revenant may conform to vampire guidelines in other

respects while not preying on people at all (Carter, "An Anatomy "

43). Vampirism is not restricted to the media of literature or film but a

pervasive presence in advertising, food labels, and children's television

shows. Vampirism and the vampire figure provide close parallels with human

behavior, and the popularity of the vampire figure is a reflection of how the

vampire myth and human behavior with all "its component actions conform

to some timeless design, classically the battle between good and evil that

transcends immediate historical interests and dilemmas" (Glover 1 35).

In response to the fact that contemporary Latin America is a fusion of

foreign and indigenous cultures, two critics have noted how popular culture,

"according to common usage in Latin America, evokes the possibility of

alternatives to currently dominant cultural patterns" (Rowe and Schelling









107) that decide and control how information is transmitted. Rowe and

Schelling indicate three points regarding the formation of Latin American

popular culture and its transmission: the influence of older forms of mass

media (they cite the te1enayta and the tolletfn as two examples), the active

role of the receiving public, and the potential for a change of meaning, or

"resignification" (Rowe and Shelling 107) of established meanings or forms.

The novel Alias ((Posadita)) (1 979) by the Colombian Mauro Alvarez exposes

vampirism through the channels of mass media and expresses its ability to

cross national boundaries and become a universal marker of human behavior

without adhering to a language, custom, or specific ideology. Vampire

stories use a variety of expositional techniques: the plethora of narrative

types (such as phonograph recordings, newspaper clippings, diary entries) in

Bram Stoker's novel also appears in Latin American novels about vampires to

demonstrate that within the vampire story "the mass media have brought

about a process of hybridization whereby cultural signs flow across social,

ethnic and nation-state boundaries, and the notion of high culture as a

separate sphere becomes impossible" (Rowe and Schelling 196).

In vampirism, a relationship of dependency is pervasive: "The vampire

motif always has something to do with the idea of being, or way of being,

that literally lives off another" (Dyer, "Dracula and Desire" 10). Vampires

can operate without the full knowledge of the victim. Vampirism is "the

draining of blood, the frequently slow loss of vitality and of life itself, most








commonly without the victim's knowledge" (Luhr 453). Vampirism implies

an imbalance of power since its "emphasis is upon an unequal relationship

and inevitably upon cruelty--thus, the evil vampire whose power over his

prey is both extraordinary and cruel" (Gordon, "Rehabilitating Revenants ...

230). Yet from within the confines of a restrictive dependence-independence

paradigm of power surges a significant fusion, a relationship that fosters

mutual understanding. In Latin America, the intermixing of popular cultural

forms is the way "en que los distintos grupos sociales y actores politicos han

conferido significado a los sectores subalternos o bajos de nuestra sociedad"

(Adrianz6n 162).

Similar to how mass media permeates Latin American culture and

brings disparate groups closer together through various channels of

distribution, vampirism portrays an invasion of human space in different

forms that allows for reconfigurations, a redistribution of meaning as Rowe

and Schelling indicate above. Many sources differ as to the origin of

vampirism in world literature, but when Augustin Calmet published a treatise

on vampires in 1746, this document indicated how "El vampirismo invadi6

las bibliotecas, los talleres de impresi6n, los salones y hasta los dormitorios.

Todo ello crey6 una psicosis que Ilegaba incluso a las grandes urbes"

(Gordon, El Uran libro 19). In other words, with this document and

others like it, vampirism became part of the public consciousness that had

ignored it as a sign of irrationality with the belief "que una tradici6n tan








compleja no es m~s que un producto de la ignorancia, carente de todo

contacto con hechos reales, tampoco es una actitud adecuada a la hora de

analizar creencias populares que tambidn forman parte de la historia"

(Cazzaniga 24).

Vampirism occurs in contemporary novels in an assortment of ways.

Human behavior serves as a basis for vampirism and this can be seen in most

renditions of vampirism in texts. Bram Stoker's character Count Dracula is

based on a historical figure from Eastern European history, Vlad Dracula (also

called Vlad Tepes or Vlad the Impaler), ruler of Wallachia in the fifteenth

century. "Vlad Dracula, who had been a hostage of the Turks in his youth,

led his army in a guerrilla war against the Turks with astounding success.

His favorite tactic was to attack at night, causing confusion and terror, and

then retreat, carrying away prisoners to be impaled" (Holte 248). For some,

Count Dracula is the prototypical vampire of fiction, but Stoker's inclusion of

extensive research into Eastern European history in his 1897 novel reveals

strong parallels between fiction and reality. David Glover sees a

contemporary fascination and attraction to the vampire myth as a product of

the novel Dracula's "confusion of temporalities in which ancient folktales,

medieval legends, and modern obsessions may all be instantaneously

present, coalescing with horrifying effect" (Glover 129).

Stoker adeptly develops a composite vampire made up of real as well

as conjectural elements in his rendition of the vampire myth: "Stoker









constructed, from many sources, an immensely persuasive hybrid: a

nightmare capable of unearthing the unconscious terrors of his own time"

(Sinclair 15). The French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau defended

Calmet's 1746 publication about vampirism and argued that beliefs in

vampires and their behavior "revealed much about the nature of authority in

civilized society" (Frayling 23). Rousseau's point is that "the relations

between vampires and their prey are an extremely potent symbol for

characterizing even the ordinary ties of dependence that bind individuals

together in civilized society" (Frayling 33).

Rousseau's classification of vampirism reverberates into the twentieth

century Latin American novel. For Rousseau as for contemporary Latin

American authors who use vampirism in their narratives, the vampire image

provides "a vivid means of symbolizing modes of mutual dependence in

society which were not benign but benighted, parasitic and grotesque--a

master-slave dialectic, with teeth" (Frayling 34). Based on the Peruvian

dictatorship of Oscar Benavides, Manuel Bedoya's 1939 novel Elgeneral

Bebevidas. Monstruo de America draws history into the realm of fiction as

Stoker did in Dracula, but with the difference that the sexuality of the

persons exploited by the tyrannical regime of Bebevidas explicitly suffers:

Luis Gonz~lez and Julia de Solonio struggle to maintain their affair, itself a

hybrid of Julia's divorce-by-death and Luis's undying loyalty to fighting the

dictatorship.









There is very little consensus about what the vampire is, does, or

looks like, however, and no interpretation seems to be incorrect, but many of

the interpretations of the vampire figure in contemporary literature and film

are responses to social pressures like those Rousseau indicated in the late

eighteenth century. Classifying the vampire is nonetheless difficult because

of the multitude of variations: "es tan diffcil dar una descripciin exacta [de

los vampiros] por la variedad de leyendas orales y reales" (Gordon, ElgOan

1lbr 199) that exist about the origins or features of the vampire, but

Latin American fiction pulls together already-established traditions (Bram

Stoker is a popular source) that merge with autonomous aspects of Latin

American culture to allow for the vocalization of the marginalized discourses

of sexuality.

A common feature that authors tend to highlight about the vampire is

its mysterious, perilous, and yet attractive sexual behavior; James Twitchell

sums this idea up, revealing the strong, sensual potential found in vampires:

"on the one hand, the vampire is bad, sucking what he should not be

sucking, being sexual where he should not be; yet it is all somehow very

alluring" (Twitchell, "The Vampire Myth" 87). The vampire provides many

appealing traits as a literary character, but "although the vampire takes from

his victim to feed his hunger, it is as if he is satisfying a hunger in his

audience--a hunger for sexuality and sensuality, a desire to live forever ...

a yearning to be both empowered and powerless and thus completely








without any responsibility for one's own actions" (Dresser 168), free to do

as it pleases, especially when it comes to sexuality. The hesitation between

fear and safety is a common reaction to the vampire figure: "Worship or

identification, pity or revulsion? The long life of the vampire idea resides in

just such various possibilities" (Dyer, "Dracula and Desire" 10) that continue

with each interpretation. Twitchell points to the active involvement

(conscious or not) of the reader/observer in relation to the vampire story, one

aspect that Latin American authors incorporate into their vampire tales

through the exploration of sexuality via innovative forms of narrative such as

newspaper reports, first-person testimonies, and taped interviews.

The vampire reveals more about sexual behavior than extended life:

"they have supernatural power and they are sexier than just about anyone

around. They also force us to look into certain mirrors of reality that we

normally avoid" (Mathews 74). Compared with other popular horror figures

such as the Frankenstein monster, the Wolf-Man, or the Zombie, the vampire

attracts precisely because it is charming: "It is the subtle, suggestive,

disturbing appeal of the vampire that makes of the Dracula legend a very

different fantasy from that of the werewolf or the golem whose

grotesque physical appearance is sheerly repugnant and could never be

considered as 'seductive"' (Oates 505, emphasis in original). Not all believe,

however, including Stoker that the vampire is sexually alluring. In Stoker's

novel, Count Dracula has "breath that smelled like a charnel house, lice-








infected hair, pointed ears, a thin nose, sharp teeth, hairy palms, and long

and pointed nails" (Guiley 64). In Manuel Mujica Lainez's 1967 Cr~nicas

reales, for example, the vampire Zappo has a green tint to his skin, a feature

that makes him stand out as not sexually appealing to the reader, but the

object of desire for Miss Godiva Brandy.

The preoccupation about sexuality in Latin American novels is

expressed through the vampire figure but rarely is the vampire's past

examined in these novels as it is in Stoker's. The exception is Mujica's novel

which describes Zappo as a descendant of Benno von Orbs, a Gilles de Rais-

type figure whose abhorrent sexuality included the molestation of children in

and around the Castle Wurzburg. As Mujica's and Stoker's novels

demonstrate, the legend of the vampire extends back into the centuries

before modern civilizations had been formed; it is not a contemporary

phenomenon even though "Most twentieth-century vampire literature draws

directly upon Stoker" (Holte 253) whose 1897 work is considered to be the

most common depiction of the vampire; the texts in this dissertation borrow

many aspects of the vampire from Stoker's novel as a point of departure in

order to incorporate national concerns about the expression of sexuality.

As it is depicted in literature, the vampire nevertheless reflects the

unpredictable aspect of human conduct, "a metaphor for the dark side of

human emotions and behavior" (Holte 261). "Believing in supernatural

troublemakers is a way to cope with the ups and downs of daily life,








particularly the downs" (Dresser 55). As times progressed, so did the desire

to know more about the mysteries of human existence and death, and in

literature the vampire becomes a creature capable of expressing possible

interpretations of unfamiliar realms such as death and dying as well as incest

or "different" sexuality: "The steadily intensifying interest in mysteries of life,

death, and immortality gave the vampire motif a felicitous welcome .

(Carter, "An Anatomy 23) into literature of the early nineteenth

century and beyond.

The vampire is continually changing in response to diverse social,

cultural, and political events that help shape within a culture its popular

forms of literature. Bram Stoker altered what he learned about the vampire

to make his character suitable for his Victorian audience; the result was the

syncretic vampire of contemporary times that combines a bit of ancient

times: "Stoker took elements, combined and transformed these ideas, then

embellished and personified them in Count Dracula. He [Stoker] made

changes which have had long-lasting effects" (Dresser 112). Likewise in

Latin American narrative fiction, vampires often appear as forms that "are

not mere conveyors of messages but meeting points of often contradictory

ways of remembering and interpreting" (Rowe and Schelling 9).

Works that do not follow Stoker's novel are by no means inferior

interpretations of the vampire. This dissertation supports how "Vampire

fiction after [Bram] Stoker has either followed his pattern, self-consciously








departed from it, or used pieces of it in weaving new patterns" (Carter, "An

Anatomy 32). Luis Zapata's novel Las aventuras. desventuras y

suehos de Adonis Garcia. el vampiro de la Colonia Roma (1979) comes

closest to resembling Stoker's utilization of extraliterary forms to tell the

vampire story. Through the use of the tape recorder, Zapata's novel

documents a period of time in the life of a gay prostitute in Mexico City.

However, Zapata's novel diverges drastically from Stoker in the exaltation of

homosexuality of the main character, Adonis, who also narrates his story, a

liberty not enjoyed by Count Dracula who is attracted to women but

constantly deals with men in the novel.

Latin American novels that copy Stoker are limited. Each of the novels

examined in this dissertation develops one aspect that Stoker himself

adapted but never fully explored within his novel Dracula, vampirism as a

menacing but curious sexuality. It must be remembered that Stoker turned

the historical character Vlad Tepes into the same monster that he was as

ruler of Wallachia in the fifteenth century but added the dimension of an

unruly sexuality, thus incorporating his (Stoker's) own experiences, fears,

and possible dreams as a member of Victorian society: "[the vampire]

Dracula is an idea, a concept full of fantasies and wonders, beyond the

reaches of darkness and imagination" (Carter, "An Anatomy 27) that

Stoker as a mortal being magnifies through a literary exploration of sexuality.

However silently or non-textually Count Dracula's sexual proclivities develop,








the main apprehension in Stoker's novel is "an equivocation about the

relationship between desire and gender [that] repeats, with a monstrous

difference, a pivotal anxiety of late Victorian culture" (Craft 108). Instead of

praise sexuality in all its forms like Zapata does in Las aventuras

Stoker's novel upholds what Foucault identifies as the modus operano of his

time regarding deviant sexual behavior: "Breaking the rules of [heterosexual]

marriage or seeking strange [sexual] pleasures brought an equal measure of

condemnation" (Foucault, The History 38).

Another twentieth-century Colombian novel parallels as well as

deviates from Stoker's novel in a successful way. Stoker employed the

technique of popular media forms to tell about Count Dracula: newspaper

articles, phonograph recordings, personal letters, diary entries, and travel

information all convey knowledge about the vampire to the reader. The work

El ampim (1 956) by the Colombian writer Jos6 Abimael Pinz6n begins with

the newspaper report of a mysterious murder that has been associated with

a vampire: the killer molests the victims, drinks their blood, and writes the

word "vampiro" (vampire) on their corpses. The novel traces the successful

attempt to discover and eliminate the menace from Bucaramangan society,

and the close association with writing and journalistic reporting allows the

novel to be a wider critique of La Violencia, the eruption of street violence in

BogotJ in the 1 940s. This novel demonstrates the precarious position of

newspaper reporting of events such as a vampire/killer who not only murders








his male victims but has sex with them before their death, a straightforward

confession of the hypocrisy of the times.

The acceptability of the contemporary vampire story should not "be a

matter of how closely a given work follows Stoker's text, but instead .

how effective it is on its own terms as an extrapolation from a set of

material that Stoker himself co-opted but didn't always make the best of"

(Newman 12). Writers of contemporary Latin American narrative fiction

change the vampire myth by focusing on "the tormented humanization of the

vampire, which reverses the emphasis on the monstrous in texts like

Dracula," (Glover 138) and inserts a vampire who is human. With the

exception of the Chilean author Rafael Maluenda's novel Vampiro de trapo

(1958), in which the doll Polidoro slowly possesses its owner, vampirism in

the Latin American novels examined in this dissertation occurs between

human beings for whom sexual aggressivity is part of their existence. The

reader may often forget about the vampire and read for the effect, but the

imposing differences of interpretation and analysis continue to recreate the

vampire figure in many ways: "In our demented pop culture, the question is

no longer what vampires do to us, but what are we doing to them: just who

is sucking the life out of whom?" (Mathews 74).

The six authors whose works appear in the dissertation have different

nationalities yet develop vampire figures in three similar ways: each of the

narratives carries the word "vampire" in the title or it immediately appears in








the text, the principal arena of activity within each of the six novels is an

out-of-control sexuality to which the vampire figure is tied, and the

confession is the primary narrative device that narrates the story. In addition

to an overview of the vampire figure in Latin American literature, chapter two

looks at a novel by the Honduran writer Froyln Turcios (1872-1943), who

"fue uno de los escritores americanos m~s conocidos de su tiempo, y de los

m~s connotados de Hispanoam~rica" (Arita Palomo 227) even though his

novel EL vamprok (1910) remains relatively obscure within the study of

contemporary Latin American narrative. His literary works include poetry,

journalism as well as novels; he was an author who "incursion6 en todos los

g~neros literarios y fue adem~s un exquisito ant6logo" (Arita Palomo 27) yet

appears infrequently in histories of Latin American literature. On August 1,

1901, Turcios founded the Revista nueva, the first Modernist publication

"que apareci6 en Honduras y quiz~s en Centro America" (Arita Palomo 33).

In 1905 "dio vida a su revista 'Esfinge' de dimensi6n invalorable"

(Ciceres Lara 66). Between 1912 and 1915 his literary production reached

a high point and this corresponded with "un gran florecimiento cultural "

(Arita Palomo 34) in Honduras. In 1924, Turcios began the periodical

Boletfn de la defensa national in which was the attempt to "solicitar la

colaboraci6n de todos los hondurefios que estaban en Tegucigalpa y que

podfan usar la pluma para la defensa de los intereses nacionales" (C~ceres

Lara 68) against the recent American invasion.








El viampirn is a tragic love story primarily about a priest-vampire who

sexually victimizes an upper-class adolescent female who is in love with her

cousin, Rogerio. The secondary feature of this Ld.drista novel is incest, a

marginal but equally strong voice of alternate sexuality of early twentieth-

century Central America. David M. Halperin defines "queer" as anything that

is in opposition to the norm, "a positionality that is not restricted to lesbians

and gay men but is in fact available to anyone who is or who feels

marginalized because of her or his sexual practices" (62). Turcios' novel

then, as a moderniata text, minimalizes Rogerio and Luz's relationship but

accentuates the vampirism of Padre F6lix both as "queer" voices of sexuality

because "Mdernismn, may be said to be the founding moment of Spanish

American literary queerness, inasmuch as an 'against the grain,' often willful

[sexual] marginality comes to be a part, if not the central part, of the new

aesthetic" (Montero 95) of the modern era.

This vampire figure reflects the tendency in Turcios to place "el amor y

la muerte en una fntima armonizaci6n, como dos notas del mismo canto .

that is a crucial combination in the vampire myth as well. Turcios'

"handsomely written gothic tale" reflects "a widespread tendency toward

escapist writing in Central American countries (Prieto 511) even

though the Latin American Modernist writers "were able to assimilate

successfully, for the first time, the techniques of the past that they admired

and the currents of their own times" (Davison 22). But as Turcios' novel








demonstrates, Latin American m dmista writers are careful not to voice too

decidedly aspects of personal lives that do not fit the "mainstream" such as

the fatal sexuality that Padre F6lix directs toward Luz as well as the

incestuous relationship between Rogerio Mendoza and Luz. In effect, Et
yanpkr~'s depiction of incest shows that Latin American modernism not only

"assimilate[s]" respected literary trends and techniques but "translates lives

(at least some lives) into an acceptable cultural script [and] feels it must

erase marks of a deviance by which they [the authors] themselves fear

to be judged" (Molloy, "Too Wilde 196). The first-person narrative

structure of the novel strikes the reader from the first sentence as a memory

or recollection of a past time: "Nacf en La Antigua, cuando la m~gica ciudad

del Recuerdo conservaba, mejor que ahora, su rec6ndito prestigio legendario"

(Turcios, EL vaimpLr 5). The continual struggle of Rogerio as well as others

around him to agree on the correct social and political course for Honduras as

well as Central America creates a space in which to develop an argument for

and against the unique or "queer" sexuality that underlies the characters'

discussions of the future of Honduras.

The Peruvian Manuel Bedoya Lerzundi (1 888-1 942) has written many

works, and he is perhaps "el mfs fecundo autor de novelas del PerO, aunque

no las mejores por su calidad" (Arriola Grande 104). In addition to his novel

about the vampire Bebevidas, examined in chapter three, he had published La








sehiorita Carlota in 1915 in which Carlota becomes a vampire and commits

suicide (Y~pez Miranda 228).

During his Chilean exile he published in Madrid El tirano Bebevidas.

Monstruo de America, in 1939. This work is written against the regime of

General Oscar Benavides "a quien [Bedoyal hace comparecer como una

especie de ogro moderno que se nutre con sangre de nifos" (Arriola Grande

106), a faithful repetition of the blood motif of the vampire. As in Bram

Stoker's novel Dracula, the presence of the vampire Bebevidas "is restricted

to a relatively few paramount scenes and episodes, a technique which

enhances the aura of dread and mystery surrounding" the vampire (Klenman

Babener 140). As a way to denounce a political regime, Bedoya utilizes the

paraliterary use of the pamphlet used by German printers in the fifteenth

century to recount the horrific stories of Vlad the Impaler, the Romanian

prince who impaled his war victims with spikes. Bedoya reflects this use of

other "panfletarios politicos, agriamente enderezados a censurar al

conservadorismo peruano y sus procedimientos (Enciclopedia ,

271). Others of Bedoya's works like this are .El .oCJafn, Elotro Abel, La

b.tia ra, and La argolla negra. After the assassination of Sanchez Cerro in

April of 1933, the General Oscar R. Benavides "would dominate Peruvian

civil-military affairs from Sinchez Cerro's death until the end of the decade"

and the APRA, under Victor Rael Haya de la Torre, "would combat Benavides

in the same way as they struggled against S~nchez Cerro: by subverting








army and navy personnel in their efforts to seize political power" (Masterson

41). One of the final scenes in El general Bebevidas is an Inquisition-like

interrogation of three government officials of Bebevidas' regime by those of

the Partido.

The tyrant of this novel is a monster who feeds off young boys' blood

in order to remedy an illness. As the regime of Bebevidas maintains itself

throughout the novel as a continual presence, the efforts of the Partido

stumble along. The shaky efforts of the Partido to undermine Bebevidas'

forces parallel the unstable relationships of several of the party's supporters.

As the novel closes the power of Bebevidas remains unequalled as many of

the Partido are either shipped off to concentration camps or exiled by his

military forces. Luis Gonzilez and Julia (de) Solonio, the two protagonists of

the novel, produce a child together out of wedlock whose future under the

continuing regime is uncertain.

Other characters in Bedoya's novel reveal the extent to which unstable

human sexuality can be a smaller-scale reflection of the uneasiness and

instability of larger discourses of power attempting to come to terms with

disparate and sometimes unreconciliable elements. In the novels by Turcios

and Pinz6n, sexual/relational practices that stray from the heterosexual norm

(incest and homosexuality, respectively) appear as retaliations against

authority; in Turcios' novel Padre F6lix prohibits Luz and Rogerio from

sleeping next to each other in the same room, they are separated, and their








relationship progresses--until Luz's death by the vampire-priest. The

juxtaposition of Catholic church mandates (Padre F61ix) and reprisals against

such established authority (Luz and Rogerio are physically intimate as

cousins) provide a parallel "vampire against victim" motif that materializes in

the text as a discursive struggle. Bedoya's novel upholds a precarious

heterosexuality as well: of all the sexual relations between men and women

presented in the novel, only that of Luis and Julia produce anything that

continues. This novel places the homosexuality of the vampire-tyrant

Bebevidas alongside the unsuccessful heterosexualities of those of the

Partido in a struggle not so much for agreement but for control.

Jos6 Abimael Pinz6n published in 1956 El vampiro. Novela. Despite

its many typographical errors and a complicated plot development, this Latin

American novel examined in chapter four comes closest to producing a

representation of the vampire figure that crosses boundaries of popular

media. Most notable in Pinz6n's novel is the use of constant cross-

references to an actual event that occurred in Bucaramanga, Colombia,

during the years of La Violencia, a period of intense intra-national fighting

beginning in 1947. The author's consistently inserted commentaries on

newspaper journalism as a form of communication within society argue for

and against what is "acceptable" reading for the public while providing a

double discourse on what can result from within an atmosphere of political

and social violence: the unbridled sexuality that sensationalist journalism








exploits. Perhaps the most curious aspect, however, of this novel are the

three murders of young boy prostitutes by the "vampiro" (vampire) Francisco

G~scaro: he rapes the boys and writes on their (dead?) bodies various

markings, one of which is the word "vampiro."

The three boys' bodies onto which Gscaro inscribes the word

"vampiro" (as well as other "signs" or marks not identified by the text) not

only provide the text, or object of discourse, that is central to this novel

about prostitution but they also expose him as the criminal, as an identified

or marked/marking person who has committed a crime. At the close of the

novel, G~scaro is led into a trap set up by legal and medical authorities (the

"offical" discourse that develops momentum during novel), captured, and

successfully imprisoned. The last paragraph of the novel reveals an

inconsistency about the case, specifically, that the presiding judge sentenced

the wrong person: "para salvar el propio honor y la memoria del hermano

extinto, el Juez Penal Superior habfa cometido tambidn el crimen de condenar

a UN INOCENTE" (Pinz6n 303). Given the fact that he was caught/subjected

to the discursive power of the law as a molester of boys, G~scaro's possible

innocence as an "unnmarked" individual (not labelled as a homosexual) is

improbable within a ficitional framework that attempts to argue for

heterosexuality as the norm. Gscaro's writing on the boys' bodies betrays

and ultimately convicts him of sodomy, an act that goes against/is opposite

from heterosexual acts.








G~scaro's homophobic act of killing gay youths backfires and marks

him as the criminal; his "texts" (the three boys' bodies) uphold

heterosexuality and condemn homosexuality since someone as evil as

Giscaro could not do such a thing under "normal" conditions. Thus, in a

fashion that David Halperin notes as one of the salient points of Foucault's

History of Sexuality. Volume One (and much of Foucault's work as a critic),

the "newly" inscribed/marked bodies/texts exist in opposition to an already-

established "text," or heterosexuality; the bodies serve "not as a means of

denominating a real or determinate class of persons but as a means of

delimiting and defining--by negation and opposition--the unmarked term"

(Halperin 44), or heterosexual sex as correct within a novel that exposes

many kinds of sexual activity as deviations from heterosexuality in need of

examination and control.

Chapter five looks at a narrative fiction of Rafael Maluenda Labarca

(Chile, 1885-1963), Vampiro de trapo (1958). It is possible to apply "la

fibula de Maluenda [en Vampiro de trapol a otros terrenos por ejemplo

en la vida politica, donde no faltan aquellos sujetos a quienes, por algin

tiempo, se entienden como meros ecos de una personalidad superior "

(Silva Castro, "Rafael Maluenda 311). This is in reference to the

control that the doll Polidoro has over the ventriloquist Mjximo Luj~n and his

unsuccessful attempts to start a relationship with Carmen Barton. During

the novel the apparent cause of the fatal link between Polidoro and Lujin is








never explained yet the novel's dialogue presents some possible

explanations, including psychoanalytical reasoning provided by Dr. Mendizani

to whom Lujin turns for professional help/advice regarding Polidoro, another

confessional relationship that helps to draw sexuality out of Lujan8.

The doll's name is no doubt an echo of John Polidori, the author of the

first vampire narrative in literature who was accused of stealing Lord Byron's

idea of the story "The Vampyre," first published in 1816. Before looking at

the doll Polidoro as a vampire figure, this chapter first examines the debate

surrounding the authenticity of the first vampire story's authorship that

inevitably brings up the question of authority and presence with regard to the

vampire story in Maluenda's novel.

Chapter six looks at one chapter from Cr6nicas reales (1 967), a novel

by Manuel Mujica Lainez that resembles both an offical history (relac*6n or

chronicle) and a personal confession to an authority figure. The source of the

twelve chronicles are the published reports by the deceased historian of the

von Orbs family who claims to have seen "con sus propios ojos a los

espectros de los fallecidos moradores del Palacio [Heraclida], andando por

sus salas, claustros y pasajes" (Mujica Lainez 329), similar to the New

World discoverers who wrote down what they saw "with their own eyes" as

well as the fifteenth-century accounts about the source of Stoker's Count



8 Foucault mentions the "medicalization" of sexuality similar here: "Spoken in time, to the
proper party, and by the person who was both the bearer of it and the one responsible for
it, the truth [about sexuality] healed" (The History.., 67).








Dracula, Vlad Tepes, that "appeared in the reports of official chroniclers,

diplomats, and travelers in a great number of languages obviously

written by independent observers or commentators (McNally and

Florescu 86, my emphasis) who were seeking compensation for their

writings. In the case of Mujica's novel, the division between the narrator of

the twelve chronicles and the source of the von Orbs family history is

distinguished by distanced respect rather than monetary pursuits: "[el Dr.

Dimitri Feodorovitch Maveroff] insistfa en que si alguien merecfa reemplazarlo

en el sitial mullido y austero, ese alguien dramos nosotros, y fijamos aquf sus

palabras generosas (Mujica Lainez 296) to guarantee or at least

facilitate the desired appointment of future historian of the kingdom.

Manuel Mujica Lainez (1910-1984) has "more than a dozen books to

his credit as well as six or more literary prizes, both national and

international" (Schanzer, "The Four Hundred Years 65). His writings

have close connections with aspects of human existence even though many

of his narratives take place in locales that have aspects of fantastic and far-

off places. When Jonathan Harker first ventures into Transylvania, he

records his impressions as one who is observing a never-seen-before place.

The actions and episodes of the von Orbs family in Cr6nicas reales (1967)

"revelan actitudes ridfculas, fallas, debilidades y simulaciones, ingredientes

todo de la naturaleza humana" (Cruz 139) even though they occur within

the kingdom of Hercules I and his descendants, a place that is supposedly








located near the Black Forest. As the royal family progesses through the

centuries, the lineage becomes tainted with different blood such as that of

the vicious murderer Benno von Orbs, one of the direct ancestors of Zappo,

the vampire of chapter ten. Destructive time exists in other works of his

beside Cr6nicas reales such as Bomarzo (1962) and Eun*crni (1 965),

works that have "rasgos que ya habfa [sic] aparecido en los destinos

americanos de Mujica Lainez, como si la historia universal se fuera ordenando

en cfrculos que se reiteran constantemente" (Ghiano 94). But similar to

some of his earlier works (Aqu.Lfvivi.wn [1 949] and Misteriosa Buenos Aires

[19511), the action in Cr6nicas reales "transcurre en un mismo sitio y se

desarrolla a travds de centurias" (Cruz 137). Not only does Mujica Lainez

offer a vampire figure in Chapter Ten of Cr6nicas reales that is worthy of

examination, he also links present with past through the structure of the von

Orbs family whose descendants unsuccessfully attempt to keep their royal

blood untainted despite their belief that their family has remained free of

"outside" blood. Mujica's novel combines contemporary methods of

testimony or confession with age-old concerns such as heredity and family

honor in twelve chronicles of the human experience. In Cr6nicas reales, the

author "cuenta esencialmente la historia de la humanidad con tanta

imparcialidad" (Revol 218, emphasis in original) that does not exist in

Stoker's structured and highly dictated novel.








Luis Zapata (1951- ) has an extensive literary record similar to the

previous five authors. He has written six novels, one of which was made

into a movie and another into a play, and a collection of stories. El Lampim

de [a colonia Roma was published in Mexico in 1979, and translated into

English in 1981 by the Gay Sunshine Press of San Francisco, a translation

that closely follows the original use of spaces instead of punctuation marks

as well as the lack of capitalization. The novel won the Grijalbo Prize for

literature but was banned in London for being too obscene.

In his work, Zapata delves into an area that had previously not been

explored in Mexican literature: he utilizes "the extension of the

antiestablishment and countercultural principles of onda writing to include

the unabashed treatment of homosexual identity (Foster, Gay an

L 38). Zapata directly addresses the social issue of a marginal

group "to portray unflinchingly the wrenching conflicts of human

[homosexual] relationships" (Foster, Gay and Lesbian 38) that are

determined (and undermined) by strict heterosexual roles in Mexican society

such as husband and wife. As Zapata makes use of characteristically

"Onda" writing techniques (throughout the novel there are references to

advertising, movies, and television), the use of homosexuality as the principal

discourse in Adonis Garcia's taped monologues subverts the paradigm of

heterosexual marriage from the first page. For example, Adonis begins the

novel telling about his family but does not base his actions on those of his








mother and father because he is unsure as to their status as a married

couple. Adonis never inquired about their relationship as a couple and so it

remained a silent component in his life that he assumed was the same for

every male-female couple: "nunca se los pregunt6 yo creo que nom~s

estaban casados por lo civil toda la gente se casa por la iglesia y que

tenfa tres hijos que no lo querfan (Zapata, Las aventuras 16). In a

sense, his abundant sexuality is in opposition to the married but short

relationship of his parents, an unstable and questionable foundation on which

to base his life and his future relationships as a picaresque character: "If

marriage is going to be the pfcaro's social contract, that contract winds up

being as unreliable a text as the pfcaro himself and the life that he .

writes" (Gonzilez Echevarrfa 58).

Luis Zapata's novel presents a "narrative" that does not have

capitalization, punctuation, or chapters (each section is a tape from the

casette-recorded conversation between Adonis and the unidentified

interlocutor), a product of the on-da generation in Mexican literature. The

main character Adonis is a marginal being because of his status as a gay

male prostitute (although vampirism is depicted figuratively in this narrative,

the novel refers to him as a "vampire") in a heterosexual society yet Zapata

respects him and allows him to "crecer y vivir por sf mismo, sin mediaciones

ni explicaciones" (Blanco 173), unlike Count Dracula who is continually

scrutinized by those who do not (and will not) understand him. Adonis is








free from constant analysis and allowed to live and describe his life as he

sees it. He uses a linguistic code that goes against established forms of

speech and narration; the note from the author at the very beginning of the

novel indicates that "la novela exige una crediblidad fon.ti~ca que se opone a

las convenciones del lenguaje escrito" (Blanco 173, emphasis in original).

This demanding novel is a refreshing reality for a vampire whose literary

descendants had been subjected to "an aggregate of notions aimed at

securing the right to life for a small minority of the world's population" (Case

4), the heterosexuals.

This chapter suggests that Zapata refers to Michel Foucault's idea of

an alternative sexual discourse (homosexuality) that appears from inside a

prohibitive discursive framework (heterosexuality) excluding deviation and

intolerant of sexual difference in order to subvert it through language. The

lack of capitalization or punctuation in the novel as well as large spaces

between the words parallel how discursive laws, prohibitions, and

restrictions do not deter Adonis from literally advancing to a better living

condition while having fun telling the reader about it. For example, on tape

three Adonis uninhibitedly describes how he and eight friends are stopped by

the highway police and end up having sex with the policemen: "nom~s te

digo que los cuates esos [los policias] se portaron a la altura mamaron

vergas prestaron nalgas y picaron como nunca en su vida habfan picado"

(Zapata, Las aventuras 87). On tape five, Adonis relates how he spends








time in jail and upon his release a guard strongly suggests he change his

lifestyle. Clearly defiant, Adonis responds in reference to the tape (cinta) and

not to the guard's observation about his life (vida): "Mejor c~mbiarla [sic],

no?" (Zapata, Las aventuras 159). Appearing from within the

(predominantly) heterosexual tradition of Mexican narrative, Zapata's novel

"makes use of what is considered [an] outrageous or scandalous [sexuality]

in order to provide a refracted image of the alienation of a hypocritical social

value system" (Foster, Rev. of 91), thus using reality as the starting

point for a scathing attack against and penetration within the established

way of looking at things, primarily the established conventions of

heterosexuality.


I













CHAPTER 2

THE BEGINNINGS OF THE VAMPIRE IN LATIN AMERICAN NARRATIVE; EL
VAMPIRO BY FROYLAN TURCIOS

Most contemporary vampire stories carry the indelible stamp of Bram

Stoker's 1897 work Dracula. As he searches for the vampire Horacio, the

narrator of Horacio: la logia del vampiro, the 1992 Mexican novel by Alfonso

L6pez Rodriguez, laments that "no podia dejar de pensar en todas las novelas

de terror que habfa lefdo en mi primera juventud, sobre todo en Dracula, y de

pronto me la [sic] imagine, saliendo por las noches de su tumba a la

btsqueda de sangre fresca para saciar su inagotable sed" (L6pez Rodriguez

50). This example shows how rising up from the dead and searching for

blood, only two parts of the vampire myth, endure over time and across

language barriers.

Not all authors of contemporary vampire stories incorporate the same

aspects of the vampire myth, however. For example, Manuel Bedoya's

character General Bebevidas drinks blood as an antidote to an uncureable

disease, similar to the story of the "blood Countess" Elizabeth Bathory,

another "version" of the vampire myth: "s6lo bebiendo sangre pura de

j6venes inocentes, lograrla aliviar el suplicio de su hedionda enfermedad"

(Bedoya, El general 16). Alain Silver and James Ursini give an account








of the female vampire figure aluded to above: "For ten years, from 1600 to

1610, Countess Bathory, with the help of her household servants,

slaughtered and 'milked' countless young virgins believing that their

blood had cleansing abilities (Silver and Ursini 29). The vampire-like doll in

Rafael Maluenda's novel Vampiro de trapo is named Polidoro, a alteration of

the name Polidori, the British author of the first vampire story published

which "caused such a sensation in Europe that it inspired a sequel of poems,

stories, and plays for the next several decades" (Silver and Ursini 49), an

important text in the evolution of the vampire myth.


Before the appearance of the novel Dracula at the end of the

nineteenth century, many Latin American authors had already developed

stories using elements from many sources of vampire lore that do not

necessarily involve a physical vampire figure. Significant contributions from

Latin America comprise a crucial part of the tradition of world vampire

literature and do not always follow the image of the vampire in Bram

Stoker's novel Dracula (1897). The first vampire stories in Latin American

literature are important interpretations of the vampire myth, and their

appearance before Stoker's novel points to the timeless and polymorphic

nature of the myth.


The vampire tradition in Latin American literature starts in the early

nineteenth century with two poems, one of which is a translation of a








German work by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and the other an

interpretation of the same work. This early poetry initiates a long Latin

American tradition of the vampire and vampirism in short stories, novels,

poetry, and films which demonstrates how the vampire myth continues to

evolve and does not remain restricted to certain behaviors or descriptions nor

does it remain confined to the English language. In these early Latin

American texts, vampirism is represented as strong, eternal love, a non-

corporeal force that leads the protagonists to transgress limits of existence

and search for a union incapable of existing while alive. Even though he

attributes Heredia's and Echeverrfa's textual source to Goethe's ballad "The

Bride of Corinth" (Aldridge 145), A. Owen Aldridge does not mention that as

vampirism enters Latin American literature in the early nineteenth century, it

adapts to features of vampirism already developed by authors from different

countries and also adds new dimensions.


An important aspect of vampirism is the element of eternal,

transgressive, but dangerous love as Goethe, Heredia, and Echeverrfa develop

in their works. Christopher Craft refers to this type of vampirism as it "both

expresses and distorts an originally sexual energy" (107) between lovers

separated by death. The central element in Goethe's ballad "Bride of Corinth"

(1797) is hazardous love as the poem "establece un dram~tico conflicto

entre la repercusi6n social y los instintos sexuales" (Gordon, El gran libro .

186) of the lovers, determined to be together beyond the confines of death.








Because physical love is such a pervasive element in these early texts, there

is no need to develop (or borrow) vampirism in a physical form; in his

translation of Goethe's poem "Heredia nowhere mentions vampires or related

creatures, but his poem belongs to the mainstream of vampire literature"

(Aldridge 149) because he includes the same force provided by Goethe:

vampiristic love. In Goethe, Heredia, Echeverrfa as well as in later twentieth-

century Latin American narratives, vampirism is a controlling, consummating

force, an "interfusion of sexual desire and the fear that the moment of erotic

fulfillment may occasion the erasure of the conventional and integral self"

(Craft 107) as love brings together those whose boundaries are established

and supposed to be maintained but are crossed.


The first Latin American text to include this type of vampirism is Josd

Marfa Heredia's "La novia de Corinto," a translation of Johann Wolfgang von

Goethe's 1797 poem "Die Braut von Korinth" (The Bride of Corinth).

Heredia's translation appeared in October of 1829 in a journal called

Miscelnea (Heredia 338), and attests to the early appearance of foreign

vampire literature in Latin America and how its interpretation involved slight

but not drastic modifications of other sources. For Heredia, the female lover

is not a blood-drinking vampire taking away her lover's life as Goethe had

developed her. Instead of losing his life, the male protagonist in Heredia's

poem shall regain it "as long as he shall be united with her" (Aldridge 148)

and their love can exist, for as the poem tells the reader, "Love still burns,








though buried under clay" (Goethe 143). By using references to pale skin,

Heredia only insinuates a vampire figure; by contrast, "in Goethe's poem the

maiden clearly reveals that she is a vampire, depending on the blood of her

lover for sustenance" (Aldridge 148). The vampire figures in Esteban

Echeverrfa's poem "Elvira, o la novia del Plata" are also deviations from what

Goethe had established, not blood-suckers but demons and ghouls who

appear to feverish Lisardo, deeply empassioned by Elvira.


In Goethe's poem, a dead girl returns from her grave to be with the

young man who is temporarily staying at the house of the girl's parents.

While alive, "her fanatically religious mother refuses to let her marry the man

she loves, so she returns to him as a vampire-with death acting as a

catalytic release from the sublimation of the living" (Silver and Ursini 22-23).

The love she was denied by her religiously zealous mother while alive brings

her back from the dead. In Goethe's poem, the traveling man asks her

when they first meet why she is so pallid, but Heredia modifies what Goethe

had expressed. In Goethe's version, the young Athenian asks "Why are you

so pale? / Sweet, now let us hail / The joyous gods, their gifts with

appetite!" (Goethe 136-37), referring to her lack of color as typical of a

corpse. Heredia mentions emotions rather than her lack of skin color: .

Por qu6 aterrada / Te demudas asf. ?No eres la esposa / Que me destina el

Cielo? Ven, ioh amada! / No te alejes de mi: ven a mi seno (Heredia

335). Despite the young man's strong desire to be her lover, the girl warns








him that she is not what he thinks she is: mas si tocaras / En desnudez

mis miembros, temblarias / Al ver lo que te cubre aqueste velo. / Blanda cual

nieve, y como nieve yerta / Es la infeliz que quieres por esposa" (Heredia

336). But he disobeys her, unable to abide by her command: "No! By this

flame I swear between us burning, / Fanned by Hymen, lost thou shalt not

be!" (Goethe 137).


She comes back from the dead seeking what she was deprived of

while alive, and in Goethe's poem she states that what she has done with

him she will do to others until she is satisfied, that is, removing blood from

her lover (and others) to survive: "And I have sucked the lifeblood from his

heart. / If he dies, I will / Find me others, still / With my fury tear young folk

apart" (Goethe 143). Heredia is not as graphic in his translation. In fact,

vampirism in this poem does not involve bloodsucking at all but rather

undying love: as the un-dead female tells her suitor, "T6 poco vivir~s, esposo

mfo. / De nuestro amor recfproco las prendas / Nos ligan ya con vfnculos

eternos. I Tu infausta uni6n a la hija del sepulcro / A vejez prematura te

condena (Heredia 338). In his translation, Heredia subtly repeats one

aspect of vampirism found in Goethe's version, pale and cold skin, but

directly emphasizes the emotional strength of love as an eternal, vampiristic

force that will kill her lover: "Y yo he salido yerta de la tumba / A reclamar mi

bien, amar mi amante, / Y sellar nuestra uni6n en Qro mundo" (Heredia 338,

my emphasis).








The next Latin American text with a similar feature is Esteban

Echeverrfa's poem "Elvira, o la novia del Plata" which first appeared in

September of 1832. Vampires in this poem appear in Stanza 10, "one of the

most complete monster catalogues in world poetry" (Aldridge 149).

According to Echeverrfa in this poem, vampires are creatures "Que en la

tenebrosa noche / Dejan sus sepulcros yertos (Echeverrfa, Lacaut4va

162), not those who suck blood and live off others; Echeverrfa labels this

group as "Hienas, Sanguales y Lamias" (Echeverria, La cautiva 162).

For Echeverrfa, then, vampires may not always suck blood, indicating a broad

knowledge of the vampire legend and, like Heredia, a deviation from what

Goethe had established. In this sense, "Echeverrfa, que poco lefa a los

poetas americanos, demuestra conocer la obra del [poetal cubano" (Caillet-

Bois 102), Heredia.


According to one source, this poem first appeard anonymously

(Echeverrfa, P~ginas literarias 174). It is dedicated to Don Jose Maria

Fonseca and carries an epigraph consisting of two short lines, one by the

Spanish poet/playwright Moratfn and another by the British poet William

Wordsworth that combines love and death into the fatal pattern of the poem:

"This said that some have died for love." In the poem by Echeverrfa the

animated corpse of Elvira returns from the grave to reaffirm her love for

Lisardo, and in twelve stanzas, Echeverrfa confirms love as a powerful but








destroying force that unites Lisardo with the undead Elvira, the tragic love

story in Goethe's poem.


Esteban Echeverria's short piece "El matadero" (1871) is better

known than "Elvira, o la novia del Plata" and demonstrates his apparent

knowledge of traits of vampirism, in this case, the power of blood. The

short story "El matadero" depicts the harshness and brutality of the

dictatorship under Manuel Rosas whose regime inspired Echeverrfa to write

the vivid account. The bloodiness of the slaughterhouse and Echeverrfa's

description of the unitario's death are comparable to an example from Bram

Stoker's novel Dracula in which a man drives a stake through the heart of a

female vampire as she lies in her coffin: "He looked like a figure of Thor as

his untrembling arm rose and fell, driving deeper and deeper the mercy-

bearing stake, whilst the blood from the pierced heart welled and spurted up

around it" (Stoker 222). Two scenes from "El matadero" display similar

description. Matasiete displays his prowess with a knife as he kills a steer: "

con su enorme daga en mano, se la hundi6 al cabo hasta el puhio en la

garganta, mostr~ndola enseguida humeante y roja a los espectadores. Brot6

un torrente de la herida, exhal6 algunos bramidos roncos, vacil6 y cay6 el

soberbio animal entre los gritos de la chusma (Echeverrfa, ElmaIdo

,_, 107). When Matasiete and his tdales bring the young unitario back to

the slaughterhouse, the young man's slow death is not unlike that of the

steer or of Lucy Westenra, Stoker's female vampire: "inmediatamente qued6









atado en cruz y empezaron la obra de desnudarlo. Entonces un torrente de

sangre brot6 borbolloneando de la boca y las narices del joven, y

extendi~ndose empez6 a caer a chorros por entrambos lados de la mesa"

(Echeverria, El matadero 113-14).


The presence of blood in many vampire stories indicates an inversion

of the Christian ritual of communion as well as a reaffirmation of the power

of vampirism. One critic sees a reflection of vampirism in the rite of the

Eucharist: "The central sacrament of Christianity is wine drunk as blood .. .;

the most important icon of Christianity is a dead man who has eternal life"

(Dyer, "Dracula and Desire" 10). According to another critic, in history as

well as in the tradition of vampirism, "blood sacrifice appears to be almost

universal, often employed as a means to acquire strength or power, and the

sacrament of the Eucharist is based on the transfer of power throught the

sharing of blood" (Holte 246). Both associations point to the livelihood of

blood as a "saving" fluid for the good as well as the evil, the Christian as

well as the vampire. The brutality of Esteban Echeverrfa's writings offers

more than bloody scenery since its author "aprovecha la oportunidad para

denunciar la alianza de la Iglesia con el regimen de Rosas (Franco 74),

a similar ideological stance that Froylin Turcios assumes in El vampiro by

combining the priest and the vampire into one character, Padre F6lix, as a

representative of the evils of the Catholic church as perceived by the narrator

Rogerio de Mendoza.








Arturo Torres-Rfoseco points to a significant fact regarding

Echeverrfa's poetic works by saying that they are "little more than imitations

of Byron" (Torres-Rfoseco 66), but his texts are crucial critical contributions

to Latin American literature, nonetheless: "La doctrina est6tica de Echeverrfa

tenfa, complicado con este af~n de universalidad a la manera de Byron, un

sentido social de aplicaci6n americana que nunca perdi6 de vista

(Caillet-Bois 104). It is important to note that George Gordon, otherwise

known as Lord Byron, produced "the first extended vampire story"

(Twitchell, Dreadli._- 11 3) in English in 1 819, when it appeared for the

first time. His poem "Giaour" (1813) mentions vampires as well: "But first

on earth, as Vampyre sent, / Thy corpse shall from its tomb be rent; / Then

ghastly haunt thy native place, / And suck the blood of all thy race"

(Twitchell, Dradfultu.L 311 n6).


In Echeverrfa's 1832 poem, Elvira is not a vampire who sucks blood

similar to Byron's Vampyre or to Count Dracula. The spirits in Echeverrra's

poem who feed on dead bodies are "Hienas, Sanguales y lamias "

(Echeverrfa, La cautiva 162), the last group of which are female

vampires "made famous by Keat's use of the subject in his dramatic [poem]

'Lamia' in the early 1800's" (Silver and Ursini 32). Echeverrfa interprets the

timeless vampire myth by using what had already existed in literature about

vampires: in his dedication of the poem, he states that the material used in

his work is not new, especially in the literary traditions outside of Spain: "las








novedades introducidas en mi poema no se hallari modelo ninguno en la

poesfa castellana, siendo su origen la poesfa del siglo, la poesfa rom~ntica

inglesa, francesa y alemana ... (Echeverrfa, PAginas literarias 175).


Echeverrfa's poem presents love as a seductive, vampiristic force that

Goethe had developed in his poetry. Unlike the lovers in Goethe and in

Heredia, however, Elvira and Lisardo exchange passionate kisses and

embraces while alive, drawn closer together with each encounter. In Stanza

VII, "Hechizadas sus bocas se encontraron (Echeverrfa, La cautiva .

156) and their infatuation becomes enthralling and sparked by a balanced

attraction: "Sus ardientes suspiros se mezclaban, / Y sus trdmulos labios se

abrasaban / En mutuo fuego (Echeverrfa, La cautiva 157). After

her fearful vision, Lisardo tells Elvira to be his forever, their souls united by

rapturous love: "Nuestras almas, Elvira, abandonemos / Al j6bilo, al placer, y

a la alegrfa, / A los transportes del amor supremos: / Tuyo por siempre soy, y

ttO eres mfa" (Echeverrfa, La cautiva 161). They share the same fateful

vision that ultimately separates them and which contains the truthful

statement (repeated in Stanzas VII and X) about the meaning of this poem,

"Este emblema del infierno: / 'El amor y la esperanza / No son sino un vano

suefio"' (Echeverrfa, La cautiva 163) of the living, but possible with

death.








A brief review of the poem shows that Echeverrfa uses motifs that

appear in later vampire stories as well, including Stoker's Dracula. In stanzas

I through VII, the passion between Elvira and Lisardo grows. In stanza VII

they pledge eternal love as Elvira tells Lisardo "Tuya ser6 triunfando de la

muerte" (Echeverrfa, La cautiva 159), but he is concerned about her

apparent uneasiness over something which to Elvira is undefinable: "Yo no s6

qu6 fantasma nos rodea / De infortunio y pesar, y nuestras glorias / Amaga

devorar en un momento" (Echeverrfa, La cautiva 159). In stanza VIII,

Elvira recalls her vivid dream/vision in which a skeleton keeps two lovers

apart by their hearts, causing them to fade away into nothing: "Toc6los

luego: /Los corazones / Se marchitaron / Como la flor" (Echeverrfa, La autiva

160).


Stanza 10 is where Echeverrfa introduces the vampire figures. As

Lisardo goes to sleep on a dark and stormy night, and as the clock strikes "la

hora / Fatal de los espfritus malignos" (Echeverrfa, La cautiva 162), he

has a detailed vision/dream in which the participants are devils, ghosts,

"Vampiros, gnomos y larvas" (Echeverrfa, La cautiva 162). This is the

first use of the word "vampire" within Latin American literature.


In the next stanza, Lisardo wakes with a fever that causes him to see

Elvira at his door. She tells him she is dead, but that she still loves him:

"Una ley fatal temprano / Ha congelado en mi cuerpo / La sangre que por ti








ardfa, / Pero no ha helado mi afecto (Echeverrfa, La cautiva 167).

The lovers in Goethe's poem are similar, his life force uniting with her cold,

lifeless corpse: "All his passion's flood / Warms her gelid blood (Goethe

139). Elvira is no longer human, and as she speaks to Lisardo, she tells him

that her love for him will not die, echoing again the eternal love that has

drawn her to his door: "Y cual sombra de la noche / A verte, Lisardo, vengo:

/ Mi alma a la tuya est6 unida, / A pesar del hado adverso (Echeverrfa,

La cautiva 167). The last stanza in the poem confirms Elvira's death

with her funeral procession during which Lisardo throws himself onto her

coffin and, "Exdnime cay6 en el duro suelo / Con pasmo de la triste comitiva"

(Echeverrfa, La cautiva 169), victimized by Elvira's love for him from

beyond the grave.


Echeverrra's character returns as the living dead, the principal feature

of most vampire protagonists in literature and film. In addition to the

vampires mentioned in Lisardo's nightmare, Echeverrfa provides a living

corpse similar to Goethe's bride, returning after death to be with her lover.

He also uses images that remain in vampire fiction and film for the next

century and a half. Lisardo's dream/vision involves creatures in Hell "Que en

la tenebrosa noche / Dejan sus sepulcros yertos (Echeverrfa, La cautiva

. 162) and come to torment him; a vampire is a reanimated corpse that

has returned from the grave. Lisardo notes how pale Elvira is when he sees

her outside his door: "ZPor qu6 tan lnguida te hallas ?" (Echeverrfa, La









cautLva _. 166) and tells her that she is cold to the touch: "-Frfo est6, mi

dulce amiga,/ Como la nieve tu cuerpo (Echeverrfa, La cautiva .

167). What for Elvira was a dream image is described as an actual entity

coming to her at night: veo y siento / La imagen de fantasma

tenebrosa, / Que anoche vino a mi tranquilo lecho / A conturbar y acongojar

mi pecho" (Echeverrfa, La cautiva 159). Lisardo sees the bloodless

Elvira after his delirious state, and his reaction simultaneously reflects fear

and happiness: "Y vio al p~lido reflejo / iOh terror!, ioh encanto! a Elvira /

Acercarse a pasos lentos / De alba ti~nica vestida (Echeverrfa, La

cautiva 166). In Froyl~n Turcios' novel E[lvamporo, Rogerio receives a

bite from a vampire, suffers a similar fever, and awakes to discover that his

fiance Luz is dead.


In 1893, four years before the appearance of Bram Stoker's novel

Dracula, the Nicaraguan writer Rub6n Darfo produced a short story titled

"Thanathopia" in which the narrator James Leen discovers that his

stepmother is a figure similar to a vampire. The events of the story are being

recorded by a narrator who is present as James tells his story in a Buenos

Aires bar. From the beginning of this story, James fears death and all things

associated with it; the title of the story is Spanish for "thanatophobia" which

the Oxford English Dictionary defines as a "morbid fear of death" (862).

James comes face to face with his biggest fear when he meets his

stepmother, a reanimated dead person, living death. James' fear of death








expresses the uncertain fears about the approaching turn of the century that

"no dimanan de la imaginaci6n sino que est6n relacionadas con las

nuevas vivencias del conflictivo hombre de la dpoca" (G6lvez 149).


A constant part of James' life have been images of death, "un

conjunto de im~genes que completan la atm6sfera ft~nebre que debe rodear al

personaje-a causa de la obsesi6n por la muerte que ha declarado abrumarle.

. (Risco 262). For example, James recalls how away at school he would

look out the window of his room and see, "bahados de una p~lida y

maleficiosa luz lunar, los Jlamos, los cipreses (Darfo 33). He does not

want to meet his new stepmother but when he finally does, her eyes are

blank and from her emanates the smell of death. James cannot endure his

encounter with his stepmother: "iMadre, socorro! iAngeles de Dios, socorro!

iPotestades celestes, todas, socorro! Quiero partir de aquf pronto, pronto ...

(Dario 36).


Darfo utilizes the same technique as Heredia and to a certain extent

Echeverrfa by describing physical features in detail, in this case, the pale

aspect and cold touch of the woman. When James first meets his father's

"new" bride, he reacts to her touch: "El contacto de aquella mano [de su

madrastra] me hel6, me horroriz6. Sentf hielo en mis huesos. Aquella mano

rfgida, frfa, frfa (Darfo 36). As she prepares to kiss him, James notes

how her strange voice "brot6 de aquellos labios blancos, de aquella mujer








pdlida, p~lida, p~lida (Dario 36). In both instances, as James describes

the woman, he repeats two adjectives that Heredia had used to describe the

dead female: pale and cold.


In this story, Darfo develops sounds, smells, feelings, and sights which

are elements of "el tfpico sensualismo impresionista-modernista quelll se pone

aquf en juego para ofrecer una figura repugnante y horrible (Risco

265), in contrast with James' tender recollections of his mother: "de niho

[mi madre] me am6 tanto, me mim6 tanto, abandonada casi por mi padre,

que se pasaba noches y dfas en su horrible laboratorio, mientras aquella

pobre y delicada flor se consumia (Darfo 34). The contrast suggests

the continuation of James' deceased mother's love for him, the emotion that

his father slowly usurped as he spent all his time in his laboratory.


As in the previous examples by Heredia and Echeverrfa, Darfo develops

vampirism as a force of love, this time removed from his mother by James'

father whose replacement for his former wife is a lifeless, loveless creature.

The protagonist's stepmother is not described as a creature yearning for

blood nor is the word "vampire" mentioned anywhere in this story until the

last sentence when James utters how he will tell "que el doctor Leen es un

cruel asesino; que su mujer es un vampiro; ique estc casado mi padre con

una muerta!" (Darfo 37). James refers to her as a vampire, but one critic

questions her sudden appearance as such in the world of James and his








father, a prominent scientist: "c6mo ha entrado tal ente en el mundo

cotidiano del personaje-narrador, tan parecido al nuestro?

Espont~neamente? O por medio de las manipulaciones cientfficas del

doctor John Leen?" (Risco 265). In Darfo's narrative, the usurper is the

father and his "manipulaciones cientfficas" (time in his laboratory, away from

his wife) actually produce the vampire figure, James' step-mother. Like a

"delicate flower," his biological mother faded to nothing because of the lack

of love from her husband, and James is deprived of maternal love, something

he will not take from his stepmother. His fierce reactions to her ("iMadre,

socorro! iAngeles de Dios, socorro!") are fuelled by his lack of love from his

real mother as well as his professed fear of death. In this narrative, the

presence of such a being can be questioned by rules of science that, during

the beginning of the twentieth century, had become more able to contrast

unexplanable occurrences. Dario demonstrates in this short story the advance

of modernism which becomes a viable argument against "old" myths such as

that of the vampire.


Other Latin American Modernist writers such as Amado Nervo and

Froylin Turcios attempt to forge a new poetic language representative of

their time by opposing the discourse of the vampire and science-based

arguments. The Latin American modernist movement is syncretic, and "en

su affn por ensanchar la expresividad del espafiol literario [los autores

modernistas] asimilan elementos descomunales que enriquecieron la lengua .








. (Schulman 90), such as Turcios' vampire-who is also the parish priest

of La Antigua.


The Uruguayan poet Delmira Agustini develops vampirism as a central

motif in her poetry in order to "elaborar un eros portico que funciona como

foro de resistencia contra la represi6n que experimenta en una sociedad

patriarcal" (Norat 153). Her mother was a powerfully dominant and stifling

force in her life, and Agustini seeks revenge against her mother by writing

poems with vampiristic images such as love "situdndose en semejante

posici6n de dominio y control" (Norat 156) that her mother had. Her poetry

is highly critical of the society in which she lived, and the language in her

poems demonstrates how the poet/writer/intellectual in Latin America

incorporates vampirism in many forms into literature of the twentieth century

as a way to criticize reality.


In the poem "El vampiro" from the 1910 collection Cnos e la

rnahana she bites her lover and pulls out blood, leaving her lover's heart hurt

and broken. In the relationship, she becomes an active participant instead of

a passive one, the vampire consuming the victim in the act of love and

passion; the use of the active verbs here is crucial: "Yo jn.vg.gqu6 tu dolor ..

," "Tu herida mordf en ella "Y exprim m~s, traidora, dulcemente .

," "Tendf a esa fuente abierta en tu quebranto (Agustini 160, my








emphasis). The active stance of the poet/vampire in this poem liberates

because both have the power to temporarily control destiny using love.


Vampirism stands out in Agustini's poetry and in comparison with the

other examples presented thus far; she develops vampirism not only as a

bold representation of her pain and suffering she was exposed to during the

"represi6n experimentada dentro del ambiente literario, social y familiar que le

toc6 vivir (Norat 163) but also as a way to seek revenge on those

who hurt her, namely her mother.


Amado Nervo's short piece "La novia de Corinto" (1920) is another

rendition of Goethe's tale in the Spanish language. Nervo admits the

extensive tradition of this story, as did Echeverrfa: "[Ila historia del vampirol

es muy vieja y ha corrido de boca en boca entre genes de las cuales ya no

queda ni el polvo (Obras completas 22).


Like in Heredia and in Echeverria, the woman's description parallels

that of a corpse: parecfa distrafda, absorta y de una frialdad repentina.

En sus facciones, aun con el amor, alternaban serenidades marm6reas"

(Obras completas 18). However, unlike the two poets before him,

Nervo addresses the theme of vampires in his work, even if negatively:

"Vampirismo ino! Suprimamos esta palabra ftnebremente agresiva, e

incl6monos ante el arcano, ante lo incomprensible (Obras completas .

-_ 22). Instead of attempting to promote vampirism in Latin American








literature, Nervo seems to reject the theme and opt to support the

unrationality of the topic instead.


Another Mexican writer, Manuel Horta, wrote El tango de Gaby (1921)

in which appears the short fiction called "El coleccionista de marfiles," the

first Latin American short story that most closely follows Brain Stoker's

model used in his novel Dracula (Horta 51). The narrator recalls the bell-

ringer of Tula's last story about "un millionario mani~tico que hace muchos

afios Ileg6 a Tula buscando marfiles (Horta 51). In Stoker's vampire

tale, Count Dracula is a Transylvanian aristocrat who goes to London to buy

real estate and to find humans who fade to the pale color of marble as he

drains their blood. In Horta's story, even though the only two individuals

who have access to the story are the narrator and the deceased bell-ringer,

the division into seven parts of "El coleccionista" creates the feeling of a

collection of different voices, similar to the narrative device used by Stoker

to narrate about the vampire Count Dracula. In Stoker's novel, Jonathan

Harker's diary entries first recall the encounter with the vampire, then other

characters contribute their versions until there are multiple points of view

telling about the events.


The ivory collector falls in love with Constanza "que se consumfa

lentamente, vfctima de una enfermedad pulmonar" (Horta 51). His

predilection for ivory causes him to want Constanza as part of his collection








because of her pale beauty: "iQu6 armonfa de marfiles en su rostro, en sus

manos y en sus flores!" (Horta 52). He sees her as an object of art, not a

human, so her destruction carries no emotion, similar to how a vampire

searches for victims without emotional attachment. As he bends toward her

to bite her on the neck, she dies. Instead, "le dio [a ellal un largo beso en la

boca sanguinolenta" (Horta 52) and the disease passes to him. He leaves

Tula, infected by Constanza, and "los campesinos fan~ticos le vieron

perderse en la lejanfa polvosa, con la escurrida capa al viento (Horta

52).


Comparable to how Ruben Darfo uses strong sensory perception to

contrast life and death, Manuel Horta uses colors to suggest this same

opposition. The ivory collector purchases one of the oldest houses in Tula

and then purchases "para su huerto las rosas m~s p~lidas (Horta 51)

that grow in the collector's garden. The pale white color of ivory is similar to

the appearance of the collector whose "rostro de un amarillo muy p~lido se

avivaba con el carmfn anemico de los labios y el violeta de las orejas

hundidas (Horta 51), two colors suggesting that perhaps the collector

is associated with a liquid the color of blood. His "escurrida capa color de

rata" (Horta 52) suggests a similarity with the image of Count Dracula in his

tuxedo and cape and reminds the reader of the cape worn by Padre F6lix in El

v.amDiro by Froyl~n Turcios.








The collector devises a scheme to make Constanza a part of his

assortment of ivory and his behavior is described with colors as well. In part

five, his conduct "tom6 tintes amargos" (Horta 52); he wrote love poetry for

Constanza and sent it to her on "papel color de gardenia" (Horta 52); he

envisions her "con el cuerpo transparente y blanco amortajado en sedas

antiguas y esmeraldas muy pilidas (Horta 52). The use of descriptive

pale colors stands in sharp contrast to vivid or strong colors often associated

with powerful emotions such as passion and death, and thus this vampire

story succeeds by suggestion rather than direct action as in the poetry of

Delmira Agustini. Vampirism in this story works in the opposite direction as

Constanza passes the disease to the collector. This act likewise presents

another female vampire figure in Latin American literature.


With the exception of Nervo's ivory collector, each of the examples

discussed above has a female vampire figure. This changes with Bram

Stoker as Count Dracula establishes vampirism as a male attribute.

However, British Romantics such as Keats, Coleridge, and Lord Byron

developed femmes fatales in their Romantic poetry, a strong point of contact

for most Latin American modernist writers. Carlos Fuentes develops a

female figure worthy of the title femme fatale in his novella Aura (Glantz, "La

metamorfosis 2). In contemporary Latin American vampire stories

female vampire figures are scarce; in each of the novels discussed in this








dissertation the victim is male, a unique twist to the vampire story in world

literature.


As this brief survey indicates, vampirism in early Latin American

literature is distinct from earlier versions such as Goethe's in several

respects. His bride sucked the blood of her lover, but both Heredia and

Echeverria do not characterize the female lover as such in their poetry. A

repeated motif is sexual love as a determining, vampiristic force that affects

those involved. The vampire in Latin American literature develops along the

same lines as in other traditions with noticeable differences.1


Latin American works about vampires differ from their North American

or British counterparts in how they develop vampirism and the vampire

figure. Differences in appearance or actions in Latin American vampire

literature are more varied than in English and North American vampire stories.

In spite of the language the vampire myth remains the same with slight

modifications. The parallels between Spanish-language vampires in literature

and film and English-language versions show that the same story can be told

repeatedly and provide different approaches to basically the same

phenomena. Latin American novels with vampires as characters, regardless





1 The trajectory of the vampire in Latin American culture is more dominant in film than in
literature. Alain Silver and James Ursini, in The Vamp2ire Film: From Nosferatu to Bram
Stoker's Dracula (1992) focus on many films produced in Latin America and Spain. It is the
first thorough treatment of the subject.








of the form of the vampire, have similarities and difference in comparison

with the vampire myth discussed above.


The first Latin American narrative work of the twentieth century that

has a vampire protagonist is the novel El vam iro by the Honduran Froyln

Turcios, a Latin American modernista writer whose literary career spans

nearly a quarter century with novels, poems, essays, and documents to his

name. In most discussions about Latin American Modernism, Turcios is not

mentioned, even though "fue uno de los escritores americanos m~s

conocidos de su tiempo, y de los m~s connotados de Hispanoam~rica" (Arita

Palomo 27). In addition to many writings about Honduran political and social

affairs (his varied writing styles ranging from poetry to essay to novel),

Froyl~n Turcios produced the first vampire novel in Latin America at a time

when the supernatural was being challenged by advances in science and

technology. .El ampiro presents the possibility of another reality; one critic

observes that the work "reflects a widespread tendency toward escapist

writing in Central American countries (Prieto 507) when in reality the

novel directly addresses important social issues.


Froyl~n Turcios was born on July 7, 1877 in Juticalpa, Honduras, and

died in 1943, in Costa Rica (Turcios, T 9). His father, also named

Froylin Turcios, was a successful business man, and his mother Trinidad

Canelas "pertenecfa a una de las familias m~s ricas y respetadas" in








Honduras (Vicenzi 3). Froyl~n Turcios grew up in a wealthy family which

permitted him to have access to many luxuries including foreign texts not

readily available to most Hondurans of the time. As Marcos Carfas has

pointed out, though, the situation of the writer in Honduras is historically

weak, and a solid and uniform literary heritage does not exist: "el trabajo

sigue siendo solitario, no hay identificaci6n gremial y muy poca identificaci6n

generacional" (174). It is precisely Turcios' literary knowledge outside of

Honduras that allows him to write a vampire story, the first of its kind in

Honduras and in Latin America. Turcios was not deeply influenced by the

_QDaiot or Gil Bias but instead by authors such as Byron, Goethe, Poe,

Shelley, Keats, Baudelaire, and Wilde (Vicenzi 5), authors who had produced

significant texts with vampirism as a central motif. It should be remembered

that the monnernista writer not only presents a personal knowledge of the

world "sino tambi6n de lo que ha sido sugerido por sus lecturas, campo en el

cual su imaginaci6n puede establecer lazos tanto posibles como

probables" (Silva Castro, ".Es posible..?" 175).


At the age of 18, Froyl~n goes to Costa Rica and his political career

begins. During several years his fame as a politician increases as do the

number of responsibilities: "desempefi6 los cargos de Ministro de

Gobernaci6n, Diputado al Congreso Nacional, Encargado de Negocios de

Honduras en Francia, Delegado a la Liga de las Naciones y a la Conferencia

Panamericana de Rio de Janeiro (Arita Palomo 27). He was the








director of three Honduran "diarios": El ienp. lasted three years; Elheraldo,

one; El nuevo tiempo, almost nine. Between 1901 and 1904, he directs

Revista nueva, a "publicaci6n quincenal de selectos textos de arte" (Vicenzi

6), and "la primera publicaci6n modernista que apareci6 en Honduras y quizis

en Centro Am6rica" (Arita Palomo 33). His magazine/anthology Esfing.e

produced sixty issues.


Most of his published works contain prose and verse in the same

publication/book. The two works that are only prose are El vampir (1 910),

discussed in this chapter, and El fantasma blanco (1911). Between the

publication of many other collections of prose and poetry, Froyl~n Turcios
2
helped direct several magazines. Similar to many other modernista writers in

Latin America, Froyl~n Turcios wrote about a wide range of topics, dividing

equal effort among fiction as well as politics. In 1924, he publishes the

Boletfn de la defensa nacional which "Apareci6 como protesta por el

desembarco de marinos norteamericanos en Amapala y Puerto Cort6s"

(Heliodoro Valle 569), an example of the social and political commitment of

Latin American writers as they attempts to "solicitar la colaboraci6n de todos

los hondurefios que estaban en Tegucigalpa y que podfan usar la pluma para

la defensa de los intereses nacionales" (Caceres Lara 68). His other literary



2 The most thorough examination of Turcios' journalistic career is provided by Rafael
Heliodoro Valle, "El periodismo en Honduras. Notas para su historia," Revista de historia de
Amrica 48 (diciembre 1959): 517-600, who indicates that Turcios was active in the
publication of many journals for almost forty years.








works and their dates of publication are: Madoas (1895), Renglones

(1909), Hoias de otobio (1905), Tierra maternal (Olancho) (1911), Prosas

nuevas (1914), and Floresta sonora (1915). In 1980, Jemorias is published,

a chronological collection of essays encompassing his travels.


Like other Latin American modernista writers such as Ruben Darfio,

Amado Nervo, and the poet Alfonsina Storni, Turcios did not dedicate his

literary career to vampires or horror literature, a quite active genre at the turn

of the century which appeared mainly in the serial magazine, Turcios' major

contribution to Latin American literature. It should be made clear, however,

that Turcios did not write for "pulp magazines," cheap publications which

provided ample space for horror stories in the Anglo-American tradition

(Kendrick 196).


.Elvampi was written in January of 1910 and published in October

of the same year (Turcios, Memoda 207). The novel is the first Latin

American novel with a vampire character. Due to his extensive acquaintance

with foreign texts (including the German and British Romantics) Turcios

develops his interpretation of the vampire along lines similar to those that

had been used repeatedly in other literary traditions. As has been indicated

about his political writings, Turcios demonstrates in this novel the ability of

producers of Latin American literature to confront issues in writing as a way

to directly comment on problems. His vampire fits into moderJnistaa literary


3 See p. 30, note 3, for an explanation of Latin American modernism.








aesthetics as an appropriate image of the transition into the modern era, an

unstable time period paving the way for growth, perfect for "un

enriquicimiento de lo propio con el aliento inovador del extranjero" (Olivares

73). Unlike the traditional parish priest who is the enemy of the vampire,

Turcios' vampire is a priest.


The novel is divided into 64 short and uneven chapters and "The heart

of the novel is the passionate relationship of a teen-age couple whose

romance ends up in tragedy" (Prieto 511): the fact that Rogerio and Luz are

cousins. As James Twitchell has pointed out, sexual relations form an

integral part of vampire stories and these relationships become horrifying

when they deviate. According to Twitchell, the vampire story, along with

that of the Frankenstein monster, the werewolf, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,

strive for "biological efficiency, repression in the service of P.rotecting

established rproductive systems" (Twitchell, Dreadful 1 39, my

emphasis), and not "the psychological and social undesirability of these

particular participants" (Twitchell, Dreadful 137) as they engage in

taboo sex, or in this case, incest.


Using detailed descriptions, Rogerio de Mendoza narrates the events

during seven years of his life as he matures from an adolescent to an adult.

The title character is Padre F6lix Aguilar, who is absent during most of the

story, a similar feature of Brain Stoker's vampire whose "literal presence in








the narrative is restricted to a relatively few paramount scenes and episodes.

. (Klenman Babener 140). During these seven years, Rogerio falls in love

with his cousin Luz who eventually dies, the victim of the vampire-priest.

Tragic love and religion are the two aspects of this novel that are least

developed by Rogerio in his narrative yet they form the nucleus of his

existence. Turcios skillfully weaves these two themes into his work as

repetitive motifs of vampirism. In an ending unique to the traditional vampire

story, instead of religion defeating the vampire (the force of evil), both are

defeated and Rogerio walks away alone.


Anibal Gonzalez points to an important feature of Latin American

modernist prose that Froyl~n Turcios employs in El vam Diro. Modern

literature does not focus only on original models or texts but rather "el

retorno constante y la revisi6n crftica de un repertorio de t6picos y problemas

planteados primeramente por las obras que inauguran la tradici6n "

(Gonzilez, La novela 23), in this case, the vampire myth. Another

critic echoes the tendency of Latin American modernists to borrow from

different traditions: "la po6tica del modernismo hispanoamericano podrfa

definirse por su capacidad incorporativa" (Chiampi Cortez 336-37) to include

other motifs. For example, in the novel Rogerio tells how the German tutor

teaches Rogerio and Luz "canciones de Goethe, de Uhland y de Heine. ..

abriendo ante nuestras deslumbradas fantasfas extrafios mundos de

misterioso amor" (Turcios, El vampir 12), the love that is their downfall.








Sergio Ramirez sees this tendency as a negative, almost restrictive feature of

Central American writers of the early twentieth century, a time when "no se

hacfa m~s que reflejar o calcar las modas literarias europeas, con la

desventaja de que tales influencias se produclan o todas a la vez o de

manera anacrbnica" (Ramfrez 31). With Turcios, however, these influences

serve as a starting point for him to develop the first vampire story in Central

and Latin American literature.


Aspects of Rogerio's family in the novel reveal insights to his unstable

relationship with Luz. Rogerio does not have a traditional family: his mother

is widowed and has not remarried; he is an only child whose closest

companion is his cousin Luz and many family acquaintances. She lives with

Rogerio and his mother because both of her parents have died; Rogerio notes

his mother's feelings toward Luz, almost a daughter to her: "desde entonces

mi madre la quiso m~s, con cierto apasionamiento, extraho en su car~cter

apacible" (Turcios, El anpiro 10). Luz first kisses Rogerio at his fourteenth

birthday party and from then on they become inseparable. Their mutual

affection grows into love and Rogerio tells Luz that they will marry one day.

Almost like a premonition, Rogerio tells Luz that his love for her will last

forever: "Aunque [yol pasara siglos mir6ndote, siempre hallarfa en ti un

nuevo encanto" (Turcios, EL vampiro 42). Rogerio tells Luz that, together,

their love will survive an eternity: "Perpetuaremos nuestros espfritus en otros

espfritus; y asf nuestras individualidades se desdoblarAn indefinidamente en el








porvenir" (Turcios, .El iaawiro 86), echoing the aspect of eternal love found

in early nineteenth century vampire stories such as that portrayed in "Elvira,

o la novia del Plata," discussed above. Rogerio's existence depends on Luz,

and without her "habrfan permanecido inmutablemente inm6viles mis

fuentes interiores de emoci6n y de suefio" (Turcios, .EL ainpir 98). Rogerio

has a dream/vision, similar to Lisardo's in Echeverrfa's poem: Rogerio sees

"una virgen angelica, envuelta en una blancura espectral, con el cuello

rodeado por un collar de gotas de sangre" (Turcios, El anpirn 142). When

he awakes, Luz is dead, her neck stained with drops of blood-she had been

the victim of a vampire.


Religion is an important aspect of Rogerio's family, but for unknown

reasons, he dislikes religion. As one critic of the vampire in literature has

pointed out, religious faith was an inescapable force in people's lives as "the

heavy sway of Church authority over the popular mind tended to give

imperial sanction to beliefs" (Klenman Babener 13) such as the

possibility of vampires. Rogerio's mother, dofia Francisca Marroqufn, was

well known and respected by the clergy, who were often present at his

home. But their company caused Rogerio to feel ill at ease, apparently for no

specific reason: "no me atrevfa a mirarles la cara, dominado por un malestar

sin nombre" (Turcios, El .ampiro 9), a feeling that never gets defined in the

story.








Rogerio establishes his uneasiness toward religion at the beginning of

the novel. When Padre F6lix comes to his house, accompanied by doiia

Francisca, Rogerio observes the priest's face as he glares at Luz: "Sus ojos

pequehios, amarillentos y hundidos en las cuencas, como dos foscas

alimahias, en sus agujeros, devoraban el semblante de Luz con un ardor

malfico y bestial" (Turcios, El tarnapjr 13). Rogerio's portrayal of the priest

as beast-like is a crucial part of vampire lore. As an essential aspect of the

myth, "the entire Christian ethos, with its dramatic personification of the

forces of evil in the person of a Devil and its often maudlin emphasis upon

the bestiality innate (Klenman Babener 10) in the human nature, can

be seen in the character representations of Padre F6lix. In San Jos6 later on,

when Rogerio see him again, his description does not change much; in fact,

Rogerio sees Padre F6lix as a "cl6rigo carnivoro" (Turcios, El aapiro 33)

whose appearance resembles that of a destructive creature.


Rogerio's animosity toward the priest represents on a small scale his

undefined dislike of religion, a curiously important force in the development

of the vampire myth. When asked his opinion on the reason why

Catholicism has been misinterpreted, Rogerio believes very strongly that the

Catholic church stands in conflict with Jesus Christ who "fij6 los primeros

cimientos del Liberalismo" (Turcios, Elynm pir 67) and that the organized

church "ha buscado un rumbo opuesto al que marc6 el fil6sofo divino"

(Turcios, El vampiro 67), whose beliefs were predominantly liberal and those








of the Church, predominantly conservative. This conflict within the church

(in this case, hostility on Rogerio's part toward Padre F6lix) can be explained

by the fact that the vampire has become "such a part of the whole Christian

ethos" (Twitchell, Dreadful1.. 109).


The vampire in this novel is Padre F6lix, and Rogerio's description of

him reflects Turcios' knowledge of other vampire literature because he

incorporates the use of the religious icons used to keep the vampire away,

the result of an antagonistic relationship between the vampire and the

Catholic church over the centuries, the results of which are the "symbols

used in destroying the vampire: holy water, the sign of the cross, church

icons of all sorts (Twitchell, Dreadful 108). Padre Fdlix visits Luz

when she is ill, but she begs Rogerio to keep the priest away: by using the

crucifix. The priest stands at the door similar to a winged creature: "El

viento inflaba su capa negra, que hacia los costados se extendfa como dos

alas siniestras" (Turcios, El vanwir 16). Luz tells Rogerio that at

communion she had to keep Padre F6lix away from her with a crucifix again,

and it worked: "tom6 un crucufijo del altar y con 61 le contuve" (Turcios, El

anr 18). Before the priest leaves La Antigua for Alta Verapaz, Rogerio

condemns him and forbids the man never to return to his house again. Upon

hearing this, Padre F6lix "escap6 como un fantasma por la puerta abierta"

(Turcios, EL amiro 19) and things return to normal. Description of the

priest comes closest to that of Count Dracula when Rogerio sees him in San









Jose: "Amarillo y negro a un tiempo, flaco hasta lo inverosfmil, con los

p6mulos agudos rompiendo la piel 6rida, y las manos como garras, pareci6me

una enorme alimaiia venenosa cubierta con un trapo de luto. Su larga nariz,

desprendi~ndose como una Ifnea mal6fica de la angosta frente Ilena de

arrugas, hacfa evocar el pico de las aves rapaces (Turcios, vaapim

33).


When Rogerio goes into his grandfather's closed room, he is attacked

by a bat in a very similar fashion to cinematic versions of the vampire attack.

Having been in the room for a while, he hears a noise and a bat comes flying

at him from out of a hole. The clock strikes midnight and the bat attacks

Rogerio on the neck: sentf en el acto como una violenta puialada en el

cuello" (Turcios, E.lampkr 140). He leaves the room bleeding, and when he

returns to his bed, he falls into a fever and goes in and out of consciousness.


Two aspects of the vampire myth are religion and incest, discussed

above. Of the two that James Twitchell discusses in Dreadful Pleasures: An

Anatomy of Modern Horror, impure sexuality is the negative but powerful

force behind the demise of both Rogerio and Luz in Turcios' novel, the "story

of incest and of the establishment of social and sexual taboos" (127). It

is not the sex act itself (Rogerio and Luz kiss, but they are never sexually

active in the novel) but rather Rogerio's dislike toward Padre F6lix and the

precarious position of Luz within Rogerio's immediate biological family that








combine to create within Turcios' novel a similar feature found by Twitchell

in Dracue: a strong message about "the perverse effect of violation"

(Twitchell, Dr l 1 36) of sexual relationships that fatally affect both

Rogerio and Luz. The crucial point of El iampiro is not "el realismo cientffico

y sugestivo, sino el audaz esfuerzo de remover los cfrculos viciosos de

las ideas y los sentimientos y ponerlos en nueva tensi6n armoniosa" (Vicenzi

29). The aspect of forbidden love had already been explored by Heredia and

by Echeverrfa as Elvira and Lisardo are fated not to be together while alive, a

reminder of Goethe's Bride whose mother forbade her to see the young

traveler before she died but who was unable to prevent the passion to

continue after her daughter's death.


The novels examined in this dissertation display a

transgressive/vindictive passion or love, similar to the man who is visited by

his deceased lover in Heredia and Echeverrfa, and Rogerio and Luz, who

disobey the restrictions placed on them by the vampire-priest, Padre F6lix. In

Manuel Bedoya's El general Bebevidas. Monstruo de Am6rica (1939), Luis

Gonzalez has an affair with Julia de Solonio, the wife of one of General

Bebevidas' important advisers, ignoring the possible consequences of their

relationship. Despite their social/class differences, and despite the ever-

present danger of being discovered by the dictator, their association provides

a small-scale paradigm for examining the corrupt aspects of the regime of the

blood-drinking despot. One character in Bedoya's novel describes the








vampirism of love between such people as Julia and Lufs: like a vampire

seeking a body to replenish itself with blood, "el amor ha ido a buscar

nuevos recipientes, nuevas inforas, nuevas canastas que humedecer, que

perfumar y que empalidecer con la nostalgia maravillosa de su eterna

inconstancia" (Bedoya, El general 190). In Vampiro de trapo (1958),

by Rafael Maluenda, the ventriloquist M~ximo Lujin's doll Polidoro slowly

drains his personality from him, and in the process, the actor suffers an

identity crisis. His struggling relationship with a dancer suffers as well.

While doing a show in Rio de Janeiro, "[la danzarina] Carmen Bart6n se

mostr6 seducida por el trabajo tan Ileno de perfecci6n y gracia del

ventrflocuo" (Maluenda, Vampiro 15), but it is challenging to know

whom she is seduced by on the stage, the actor or his doll. In an attempt to

save their relationship, Carmen places knives in the doll's body, thinking she

is exercising a demon, but Luj~n dies of heart failure as he cuts himself on

the knives.


In Manuel Mujica Lainez's Cr6nicas reales (1969), the kingdom

presented in twelve chapters has a complicated hierarchy among whose

members is the vampire Bar6n Zappo XV von Orbs. He is asked to appear in

a vampire film written by Miss Godiva Brandy, and after meeting him she

falls in love with the vampire. But, in addition to her discovering his

attraction to the leading lady in the film, Miss Brandy realizes that he is

sucking the blood out of practically all the crew and cast members of the film








and she kills him, convinced that, "como en varios de sus libros, el amor se

metamorfoseaba en odio" (Mujica Lainez 263).


In El vampiro by FroylAn Turcios, the vampire attacks Rogerio as well

as Luz, and this reveals an erotic element of the vampire myth not

sufficiently explored by Stoker in Dracula. The homoerotic vampirism of

desire appears again in contemporary Latin American narrative in Jos6

Abimael Pinz6n's El vampiro. Novela (1956) as well as in Luis Zapata's Las

aventuras...de Adonis Garcfa... (1979), works that echo how vampiristic,

sexual impulses carried to extremes can cause ruination, provide social

commentary about such sexuality in modern society as well as lead to

freedom from imposed norms; this is the case of Zapata's protagonist Adonis

Garcia. As one critic puts it, "an implicitly homoerotic desire achieves

representation as a monstrous heterosexuality, as a demonic inversion of

normal aender relations" (Craft 110, my emphasis) that the child-

molester/murderer "El vampiro" in Pinz6n's novel, and the male prostitute

Adonis Garcfa are unable to achieve and maintain while confined to the realm

of the living, but find easier to realize as vampires. Froyl~n Turcios does not

develop a homosexual vampire, but his rendition of the vampire myth takes

the "vicious circles" of sexual emotions and feelings and places them in a

new context within Latin American modernism: his native Central America.














CHAPTER 3

MANUEL BEDOYA'S EL GENERAL BEBEVIDAS. MONSTRUO DE AMERICA.

In Manuel Bedoya's 1939 work, El general Bebevidas. Monstruo de

Amdrica, the beginning and ending sections of the novel show the

dictator/vampire before and after, respectively, he has ingested human blood.

Framed within these two sequences is a set of complex human relationships

attempting to find stable ground but which constantly revert to vampirism in

order to survive. In a style that recalls Stoker's use of the embedded texts in

his novel Dracula, Bedoya presents vampirism as a way to represent and

confront human conflict, primarily in the form of the dictatorship under the

tyrant Bebevidas and secondarily of the human relationships among the

members of the Partido, the group against the dictator.

In the novel, the dictator Bebevidas is a blood-ingesting vampire who

is ominously present yet absent at the same time, increasing the fear of his

next attack. His threat comes in the form of oppression and suspension of

the elections as well as the jailing of the oppositional forces not sympathetic

with the regime, aspects that were typical of the government of the Peruvian

dictator Oscar R. Benavides from 1933 to 1939, the regime that inspired

Bedoya to write the novel. Similar to the novels of Brain Stoker and the

Honduran Froylcn Turcios, vampirism in Bedoya's narrative helps explain








political and social events that occurred in Peru at the turn of the century.

This chapter examines the vampirism of the dictator throughout Bedoya's

novel as well as of the uneven human and sexual relations among those who

attempt unsuccessfully to subvert the regime.

Manuel Augusto Bedoya (1888-1941) published extensively in many

areas, including prose, essay, theater, and journalism; his journalistic career

was strongly influenced by his time in exile outside of his native country as

well as events in Peru. The work El general Bebevidas. Monstruo de America

focuses on the regime of Oscar Ruperto Benavides, president/dictator of Peru

from 1933 to 1939. In this novel, the dictator is a vampire whose survival

depends on blood: he has a disease similar to diabetes, and in order to stay

alive he must drink the blood of young men captured by his henchmen. The

vampire is present only in the opening and closing sections of the novel, but

he frames the action of the story; his presence pervades the novel and

determines the actions of the characters as well. Even though several critics

consider Bedoya to be an important contributor to Peruvian literature of the

early twentieth century, his 1939 novel has gone unnoticed by critics of

Peruvian and Latin American literature who point more to Bedoya's

development as a Peruvian der nista journalist and less to his ability as a

novel writer. As one critic of Peruvian literature notes, Bedoya is among

those modernista writers who "se apartan de toda participaci6n colectiva, o








si participan de ella, lo hacen ocasionalmente" (S6nchez 270), thus making a

classification of his novelistic work difficult.

In his interpretation of the Benavides regime, Bedoya portrays the

leader as a cruel, despotic vampire. During his tenure as president of Peru,

Oscar Benavides continued several important national movements begun in

earlier administrations such as social security, the installation of irrigation

systems, and federal highways (Masterson 58). Throughout Bedoya's novel

the reader experiences the anguish and frustration of the Partido members

attempting to overthrow the dictator and not their praise of his actions as

Peruvian president. Partido members refuse to admit that Bebevidas has

done anything good for their homeland, a fact that seems to conflict with

historical accounts that report the several achievements of Benavides'

regime. As Masterson and other historians of Latin America indicate1, the

conflict in Peru between the appearing middle-class and the military was a

decisive factor in the oppresive outcome of most governmental issues, but in

most accounts of the time period Benavides does not receive the adequate

attention as an important but controversial figure in Peruvian politics that he

does in Bedoya's novel. The central struggle within the story parallels the

antagonism that developed between Benavides and the group APRA (Alianza




See Thomas E. Skidmore and Peter H. Smith, Modern Latin America (New YorK; Oxford UP, 1984),
chapter six, and Benjamin Keen and Mark Wasserman, A History of Latin America (Boston,
Houghton Mifflin Co., 1988), chapter sixteen, for information regarding Peru's conflict with the
military. In each of these histories, Oscar Benavides is superficially examined but his years in power
are depicted as generally favorable.








Popular Revolucionaria Americana) [American Popular Revolutionary Alliance],

referred to in the novel as the Partido. The constant conflict, however, with

APRA never ceased even after Benavides had made promises to acknowledge

certain demands of theirs such as new elections, and this conflict pervades

most of Bedoya's novel. Bedoya utilizes the vampire myth to highlight and

to increase the effect of the darker episodes of the Benavides regime with

respect to his conflict with APRA as well as to establish human, sexual

behavior as primarily vampiristic as the participants live off each other in

order to survive.

Early Latin American literature about dictatorships suggests the image

of the vampire to portray cruel and merciless regimes, and through stylistic

changes the image of the dictator as vampire remains suggestive in

contemporary works with the same theme. Few critical works devoted to

the dictator figure in Latin American literature sufficiently examine the

parallel between dictators and vampires, an important component of Bram

Stoker's 1897 novel that critics of the European-American tradition have

pointed OUt.2 In novels such as Bedoya's El general Bebevidas and Miguel



2 There are several critical works that examine Count Dracula outside of a literary point of view and
place him within the framework of despotism and extreme political fanatacism. A revision of their
1989 work (listed below), including corrected information about a falsely-labelled picture taken in
Eastern Europe and a complete filmography of the vampire, is In Search of Dracula: The History of
Dracula and Vampires (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1994) by Raymond T. McNally and Radu
Florescu. Christopher Frayling, in Vampyres: Lord Byron to Count Dracula (London: Faber and Faber,
1992), offers insight not only about the literary development of the vampire but also about the
military stature of Count Dracula. Frayling argues correctly that Stoker's character "differs from the
previous vampire Counts of literature.. because he is a military figure as well, who periodically
reminisces about his military successes in the distant past, in campaigns to drive the Turks out of
his territory" (76, emphasis in original). Frayling wonders if "beneath the crusade against the empire
of the nosferatu [in Stoker's novel Draculal... lay some kind of cosmic racial conflict...." (82). A








Angel Asturias' El Seor Presidente (1 946), the dark and horrific elements of

history allow for an interpretation of vampirism as a central theme. In

Asturias' novel, The President dresses from head to toe in black, as if

prepared for a funeral: "vestfa, como siempre, de luto riguroso: negros los

zapatos, negro el traje, negra la corbata, negro el sombrero que nunca se

quitaba (Asturias 39). Juan Liscano argues that dictators and their

regimes provide Latin American literature with "relatos y novelas" because

these dictatorships "implican siempre sangre, represi6n, injusticia y dolor

humano" (Liscano 64), not a far cry from elements found in the vampire

myth. For Liscano, the nightmarish atmosphere perpetuated by The

President in Asturias' 1948 novel originates from the dictator whom he

describes like a bloody vampire figure; in the story "los seres humanos

parecen simples marionetas entre las manos de un gigante sanguinario"

(Liscano 72) who knows everything about the people in his country, "atento

a lo que pasaba en las visceras m~s secretas de los ciudadanos" (Asturias

41).



thorough examination that relates fifteenth-century historical background and the vampire myth
surrounding Count Dracula can be found in Radu R. Florescu and Raymond T. McNally, Draraik2
Prince of Many Faces* His Life and Times (Boston: Little, Brown, 1989). The same authors devote
separate contributions of particular interest associated with Vlad Dracula, the Romanian ruler whom
Bram Stoker 'fictionalized" and subsequently raised to mythic fame. For a lengthy but detailed
examination of the history surrounding the authentic Dracula including pictures of places in Romania
purported to be directly associated with Vlad, see Radu Florescu, "The Dracula Search in
Retrospect," The New England Social Studies Bulletin 43.1 (Fall 1985-1986): 25-50. The possibility
that a fifteenth-century Greek document holds the true story to Dracula's present-day depiction is
explored by Raymond T. McNally in "The Fifteenth-Century Manuscript of Kritoboulos of Imbras as
an Historical Source for the History of Dracula," East European Quarterly 21.1 (March 1987): 1-13.
A more dated study looks at how Stoker's novelistic rendition of Count Dracula is faithful to
Southeastern European history and folklore; see Bacil F. Kirtley, "Dracula, the Monastic Chronicles
and Slavic Folklore," Midwest Folklore 6.3 (Fall 1956): 133-39.








Asturias' novel is a blend of legend and myth with contemporary

reality that helps to confront the issues of a brutal Central American

dictatorship, a vampire-like "creaci6n de una atm6sfera de terror y miseria

bajo la dictadura y la fusi6n del nivel mftico de las culturas precolombianas

con las latinoamericanas actuales" (Sandoval 259). However, the tie

between fiction and reality does not allow for a justification for the brutal and

murderous activities instigated by Latin American dictators. For Conrado

Zuluaga, in Latin American novels about dictators as in Dracula by Bram

Stoker (indicated by McNally and Florescu in their study), "las figuras

literarias son apenas un pilido reflejo de los protagonistas reales, que ante

estos 6ltimos las primeras se desvanecen .

In a study that devotes some attention to Latin American dictator

narratives and vampirism, Julio Calviiio Iglesias observes that in Manuel

Bedoya's El general Bebevidas the two central motifs, vampirism and

anthropophagia, help to recall "las secuencias mis macabras del folletfn

finisecular o de los 'gotic [sic] tales"' (Calvifio Iglesias 126) that are

represented in Jose Abimael Pinz6n's 1956 novel El.vampiro as well.

Although Calvifio Iglesias places other Latin American narratives within a

framework of vampirism as well, he does not provide in-depth analyses.4 He


3 Conrado Zuluaga, Novelas de dictador. dictadores de novela (BogotA: Carlos Valencia Editores, 1977)
115. His study examines the following works: Trano Banderas by Ram6n del Valle-lnclan, El
recurso del metodo (1974) by Alejo Carpentier, YoElSupremo (1974) by Augusto Roa Bastos, and
El otoho del patriarca by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
4 He classifies four Latin American narratives that centralize vampirism as "una categorfa englobante
de 16gica inclusiva que se organiza como un inventario paradigm~tico..."(10). The four works in his








notes that Rufino Blanco Fombona's 1931 novel La bella y la fiera combines

desire as a weapon against the G6mez regime in Venezuela (Calviho Iglesias

163). From within Esteban Echeverrfa's novella "El matadero" he lists themes

that includes Rosas as a vampire: "las met~foras polfticas directas

(Argentina-Madero; Rosas-Matarife; Populacho-Rosistas; Sangre-Color

emblem~tico del dictador-vampiro) (Calvihio Iglesias 24). Iglesias'

study begins to relate dictators and vampirism, but good, critical approaches

to this powerful combination in Latin American literature are lacking. These

examples indicate that criticism about Latin American novels of the dictator

allows for an interpretation of vampirism within these texts even though the

novels themselves rarely make use of vampirism directly.

Manuel Bedoya's novel, however, represents literal and figurative

vampirism: Bebevidas is a tyrant who drinks the blood of adolescent boys

"porque padecfa de una enfermedad que s6lo se aliviaba bebiendo sangre

humana (Castellanos and Mart'nez 80). Bedoya also develops his

tyrant as a national problem, drawing his novel more into the realm of

critical/political journalism. With this in mind, he directly addresses the

dictator in the prologue: "Como un tenebroso vampiro les bebes la vida a

todos los hombres libres del Per6" (Bedoya, El general 10). In their

examination of the dictator figure in Latin American narrative, Castellanos



study are: "El matadero" (1835) by Esteban Echeverrfa; La bella y la fiera (1931) by Rufino Blanco
Fombona; El general Bebevidas (1939) by Manuel Bedoya, and Megaf6n o la guerra (1970) by
Leopoldo Marechal.








and Martinez list Bedoya's novel in a footnote devoted to many early

twentieth-century Latin American novels about dictators (103n3) and explain

that analogous to other novels of approximately the same time period (for

example, El hombre de hierro [1907] and La bella y la fiera [1931] by the

Venezuelan writer Rufino Blanco Fombona), Bedoya depicts Latin American

dictatorships through "panfletismo" or a style of writing with which the

writer becomes "un combatiente, cuya obra no tiene finalidad est~tica, sino

que es un instrumento de lucha contra la tiranfa" (Castellanos and Martinez

80).

Benavides' regime is the subject of a pamphlet published in the same

year by Luis Antonio Eguiguren called El usurpador (para [a historia). Using a

comparable approach as mentioned by Castellanos and Martfnez, Eguiguren

suggests that the Peruvian dictator has a dark and sinister character, similar

to the vampire that Bedoya develops: "amante de los ambientes

encapotados, que huyen o desaparecen al m~s ligero raya de luz, don Oscar

Benavides imprime a su existencia y a las de los que lo rodean un h6bito

sombrfo y tdtrico impenetrable y misterioso (Eguiguren 28).

Eguiguren's style is similar to the pamphlet mentioned by Castellanos and

Martfnez in their article.

On the cover page of Adolfo Le6n Ossorio y AgOero's pamphlet ThIe

Caribbean Vampire. or The Tragedy of Cuba is a drawing of Fulgencio Batista

as a vampire with large, black bat wings on his back. Only his upper torso is




Full Text
THE VAMPIRE FIGURE IN CONTEMPORARY LATIN AMERICAN NARRATIVE
FICTION
By
GREGORY A. CLEMONS
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1996

Copyright 1 996
by
Gregory A. Clemons

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I would first of all wish to express extreme gratitude to my major
professor, Dr. Andrés Avellaneda, for his persistent support during my years
as a graduate student at the University of Florida. Also, I thank the chair of
the Department of Romance Languages and Literature, Dr. Geraldine C.
Nichols, for giving the graduate students the many opportunities to be
ourselves, in and out of the classroom.
Many thanks to the Interlibrary Loan librarians at the University of
Florida and at Warren Wilson College for acquiring the somewhat obscure
books and articles that appear in this dissertation.
To the many close friends and colleagues who have seen me through
this extensive project, I send heartfelt thanks for the support and continual
encouragement: Jim, Tamir, Andrea, Don, Rhett, Steve, John, Virginia,
Casey, Lynn and John, Ed and Susan, my "outside" reader Ann, and Steph
and Inka.
Finally, I could not have completed this project without the undying
support and encouragement of my parents, Rachel and Harvey Clemons.
I dedicate this dissertation to my sister, Candice.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
page
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iii
ABSTRACT v
CHAPTERS
1 INTRODUCTION 1
2 THE BEGINNINGS OF THE VAMPIRE IN LATIN AMERICAN
NARRATIVE; EL VAMPIRO BY FROYLÁN TURCIOS 49
3 MANUEL BEDOYA'S EL GENERAL BEBEVIDAS. MONSTRUO
DE AMÉRICA 86
4 EL VAMPIRO BY JOSÉ ABIMAEL PINZÓN 1 34
5 RAFAEL MALUENDA'S VAMPIRO DE TRAPO 1 79
6 "EL VAMPIRO," CHAPTER TEN OF MANUEL MUJICA
LAINEZ'S CRÓNICAS REALES 205
7 LUIS ZAPATA'S LAS AVENTURAS, DESVENTURAS Y
SUEÑOS DE ADONIS GARCÍA, EL VAMPIRO DE LA
COLONIA ROMA 231
8 CONCLUSIONS 273
WORKS CITED 303
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 321
IV

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
THE VAMPIRE FIGURE IN CONTEMPORARY LATIN AMERICAN
NARRATIVE FICTION
By
Gregory A. Clemons
May 1 996
Chairman: Dr. Andrés O. Avellaneda
Major Department: Romance Languages and Literatures
Although there are fewer literary examples than in British, North
American, French, and German literatures, the vampire figure in Latin
American narrative fiction appears with a more profound sexuality. This
dissertation examines six Latin American novels from 1910 from 1979 that
have vampire characters with highly visible sexualities that stand apart from
the traditional heterosexual paradigm of sexual behavior as compulsory tools
for the re-examination of traditional sexuality in Latin American literature.
Before examining the six novels named below, the dissertation
presents for the first time a comprehensive review of Latin American
literature with vampire characters. This dissertation then compares the
vampire figure within six Latin American narratives with Bram Stoker's
characters Count Dracula from his 1897 novel Dracula. The difference
between Count Dracula and the six vampire characters examines in this
study is their narrative presence: in Stoker's novel, the vampire appears very
v

seldom in the narrative; he is a secondary figure left to the descriptions of
those pursuing him. By contrast, the six vampires examined in this
dissertation remain consistent and visible parts of the novels. A more
important difference between the seven narratives is what Stoker only
indirectly addresses through his title character. Through the vampire's
extreme sexuality, the six Latin American novels allow a reconceptualization
of human sexuality from the point of view of one of popular culture's most
famous horror icons.
The French post-structuralist critic Michel Foucault argues in The
History of Sexuality (1976) that human sexuality has undergone since the
seventeenth century a steady shift into silence because of restrictions placed
on it. At the same time, however, Foucault points out that sexual activities
remain a point of interest in Western societies, especially in legal, medical,
and juridical discourses; at once, then, sexuality is voiced/not voiced. This
dissertation looks at the concept of the confession discussed in Foucault's
History of Sexuality as it applies to six Latin American novels and their
expression of sexuality.
The six novels and their countries are: Froylán Turcios's El vampiro
(1910) (Honduras), Manuel Bedoya's El general Bebevidas. Monstruo de
América (1939) (Peru), José Abimael Pinzón's El vampiro (1956) (Colombia),
Rafael Maluenda's El vampiro de trapo (1958) (Chile), chapter ten of Manuel
Mujica Lainez's Crónicas reales (1967) (Argentina), and Luis Zapata's Las
vi

aventuras, desventuras v sueños de Adonis García, el vampiro de la Colonia
Roma (1979) (Mexico). These works have received very little attention in
critical studies of contemporary Latin American narrative not only as stories
about vampires, but as valid treatments of the topic of sexuality as well.
vii
i

CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
The purpose of this dissertation is to explore sexuality through the
vampire motif in Latin American novels and to suggest that in the novels
considered a forbidden sensual desire (alluded to below by Foucault, Shaw,
and Molloy) undermines traditional conceptions of sexual behavior in a
fashion that relativizes the definitions of "normal" sexual performance. The
analyses in this dissertation explore "the textual production of Latin America
since the turn of the century in order to figure out the forms taken by
silence, the oblique figurations to which it has resorted to speak the
unspeakable" (Molloy, "Too Wilde ..." 199) discourses of alternative
sexualities. The articulation of such sexuality appears through the figure of
the vampire. The appearance of the vampire as a figure in early nineteenth-
century Latin American literature combines the juxtaposition of death and life
with the yearning for a perfect but often unattainable love. This love
becomes more sexualized in the twentieth century, and the vampire
occasionally exhibits the trait of vicious bloodsucking that may exist in
English or North American vampire stories. More frequently, however, the
vampire figure in contemporary Latin American narrative exposes unruly
1

2
sexuality. This introduction examines several viewpoints about vampirism in
literature and its associations to Latin American narratives. A brief
examination of each work that appears in this dissertation shows that diverse
sexuality related to the vampire theme is one of the hallmarks of Latin
American vampire narrative fiction.
This dissertation also examines the diversity of the vampire in
twentieth-century Latin American narrative in comparison with Bram Stoker's
novel Dracula. The portrayal of the vampire in narrative fiction of Latin
America is as varied as fictional reinterpretations of the vampire made
famous by Bram Stoker in his 1897 novel Dracula. Even though the
characterizations of the vampire in contemporary Latin American narrative
fiction preserve elements associated with traditional vampire lore, such as
those developed by Stoker in his novel, there are variations. As James B.
Twitchell notes, Stoker's work "has been condensed, mutilated, rewritten,
[and] revamped as a classic comic book, yet . . . does not die" (Twitchell,
Dreadful . . . 127) as it continues to provide artistic inspiration.
In Latin American culture the vampire has been a popular figure for
entertainment (and for profit) but there is a noticeable absence of studies of
a figure that has been present in many forms since the time of the conquest
of Latin America.1 Examining one recurring aspect of the vampire, its out-of-
1 Raymond T. McNally and Radu Florescu point out that Latin American vampirism
antedates as well as coexists with the arrival of the Spaniards to the New World: "Ancient
Peruvians believed in a class of devil worshippers called canchus or pumapmicuc. who
sucked blood from the sleeping young in order to partake of their life. Aztecs sacrificed the

3
control sexuality, this dissertation ultimately suggests that studying the
vampire motif in Latin American narrative fiction can enhance our
understanding of Latin America. Representations of the vampire in Latin
American narrative demonstrate how, "divested of its supernatural trappings,
the motif of the vampire becomes a metaphor for spiritual [and physical]
violation, for transgression against the personal integrity of another"
(Klenman Babener viii).
The vampire is "one of [hulmankind's oldest horror images . . . "
(Twitchell, Dreadful . . . 105); its applicability to the socio-cultural process
is due to its movement in time from horrific beast to an image of popular
culture reflecting "the mythopoetic process in general . . . [which] shows
how certain myths continually re-magnetize themselves ..." (Twitchell,
Dreadful . . . 110) around the audience's changing needs for entertainment
as well as for information about themselves. Citing the movement of the
vampire through world literature, Twitchell cites Maupassant, Tieck,
Hoffman, Nodier, Gautier, Baudelaire and Mérimée (Twitchell, Dreadful . . .
310n5), but he does not mention literature written in Spanish. The vampire
has been represented in Latin American literature, film, and drama as a
"multifaceted metaphor for the dark regions of the human mind, for the
sexual tensions underlying modern life, for the primal fears and potent
hearts of prisoners to the sun in the belief that their blood fed the sun's continuing energy"
(117).

4
unconscious drives which continue to flourish in the psyche of contemporary
man [sic]" (Klenman Babener 172).
When discussing the vampire in Latin American literature, several critics
notice the importance of outside influences such as Bram Stoker's Dracula
and echo Twitchell's idea of the continuity of the vampire. A. Owen
Aldridge dismisses any association of "the Vampire theme [with the Hispanic
world] . . . until the dawn of the Romantic period" (Aldridge 145), even
though it "goes back in written literature to the second century A.D."
(Aldridge 145). Margo Glantz admits that the vampire is incorporated into
Latin American literature "a su manera, conservando bajo la apariencia de
algo muy distinto los viejos símbolos utilizados dentro de rituales de nueva
representación" (Glantz, "La metamorfosis ..." 8). Nestor Cazzaniga cites
several sources-"las advertencias de los predicadores medievales acerca de
las brujas y de todo un mundo de seres demoníacos" (Cazzaniga 9); Francis
Ford Coppola's recent film Bram Stoker's Dracula (see Coppola and Hart);
and a "reciente y exitosa comedia musical argentina de Pepe Cibrián"
(Cazzaniga 9)-and concludes, as does Twitched, that "el tema de los
vampiros . . . sigue suscitando un interés permanente" (9) in Latin American
culture. For example, although Julio Cortázar does not publish works
specifically about vampires, the Argentine author "is thoroughly acquainted
with the numerous nosferati preceding and following Bram Stoker's
illustrious Count ..." (Hernández, "Vampires and Vampiresses ..." 570)

5
and he incorporates vampirism into his novel £2; modelo para armar
(Hernández, "Vampires and Vampiresses ..." 571) through references to
John Polidori and Elizabeth Bathory, two figures that appear in Latin
American novels about vampires (see Maluenda, Vampiro de trapo, and
Pizarnik).
Chosen from the considerable corpus of Latin American literature
about vampires discussed in chapter two, this dissertation examines six
contemporary Latin American narratives with different vampires. The works
examined (listed here in chronological order) are: El vampiro (1910) by
Froylán Turcios; El general Bebevidas. Monstruo de América (1939) by
Manuel Bedoya; El Vampiro (Novela) (1956) by José Abimael Pinzón;
Vampiro de trapo. Novela (1958) by Rafael Maluenda; Crónicas reales (1967)
by Manuel Mujica Lainez; and Las aventuras, desventuras y sueños de
Adonis García, el vampiro de la Colonia Roma (1979) by Luis Zapata. This
project is the first attempt to discuss the vampire in Latin American
literature, a task that has been completed in American, English, French, and
German literatures. Each analysis poses the following questions: What are
the manifestations of the vampire in the text? How different is the vampire in
these texts than from its portrayal in other literatures? To what extent does
the recurrent use of the vampire figure in Latin American literature express
social, political, and cultural conflicts? How does each vampire compare to
other vampires in Latin American narrative? The narratives examined in this

6
dissertation show that many "artists . . . have recognized in the vampire
myth a wellspring of deeply inbred psychological and spiritual truths and thus
a legitimate sphere for creative inquiry" (Klenman Babener 1 72).
The six texts chosen for analysis in this dissertation have received
little critical attention yet have been written by authors who, for the most
part, are well known in Latin America. As chapter two points out, in almost
every decade of the twentieth century Latin Americans have published a
vampire story or produced a film with vampire characters. At different
stages in their literary careers, established Latin American writers such as
Rubén Darío, Horacio Quiroga, Manuel Bedoya, Manuel Mujica Lainez, Rafael
Maluenda, Julio Cortázar, Severo Sarduy, and Luis Zapata have written
vampire stories. According to David William Foster, in Latin American
literary studies there is "the need to expand the parameter of criticism
beyond . . . restrictions of an undue emphasis on those writers to [sic] have
received international recognition . . . and on those who represent an official,
mainline academic canon" (Foster, "Rev. of Adonis . . . " 90) to lesser-
known writers whose works are equally important or who "deviate from
official and institutional norms" (Foster, "Rev. of Adonis . . . 91).
The writers examined in this dissertation appear seldom or not at all in
"official and institutional" histories of contemporary Latin American narrative
(Lindstrom). Since the six novels offer innovative interpretations of the
vampire myth, their presence here indicates that questioning the canon in

7
literary and cultural studies is necessary. During the 1960s and 1970s, a
prolific time for many Latin American writers, "the upheavals in public
education . . . opened up discussions of the traditional academic curriculum"
(Irons xiv) and allowed for lesser-examined works to receive attention from
innovative critical points of view. This dissertation examines works that
have been overlooked by critics but that continually reshape and formulate
the vampire motif in differing ways. The driving force behind popular
literature and myth are images such as the vampire that keep appearing in
many different forms; "all narrative that pleases does so precisely because it
is informed by powerful and important archetypes and myths" (Irons xiv).
As an expression of human anxiety about sexuality, the vampire figure
is defined less by its sexual orientation than by its presence as a being with a
strong sexual impulse and drive. Many manifestations of the vampire figure
in literature place vampire and victim in a heterosexual framework in which
the male vampire pursues the female victim, an action that identifies male-
female sexuality as the dominant paradigm for sexual activity. For example,
one critic links vampirism to the "undead" images of survivors of AIDS,
assumed by many to be a homosexual disease, but nonetheless admits the
heterosexuality of the vampire image: "From Bela Lugosi to John Holmes,
Frank Langella to Count Chocula, the Dracula image has been
heterosexualized and domesticated to sell everything from breakfast cereal . .
. to rape fantasies for straight men" (Hanson 324-25).

8
Regardless of the sexual orientation of the vampire and/or victim, the
assertive sexuality of the vampire figure fuels the popularity of the vampire
motif in narrative fiction. Writing with reference to Bram Stoker's 1897
novel, Mark Jancovich indicates a clear parallel between the vampire's
meditated attack and a highly-charged sexual modus operandi: "He [Count
Dracula] invades the bourgeois home, the bedchamber, the body, and finally,
the will. It is for this reason that while he converts the free subject into a
slave who is compelled to act according to his [Dracula's] will, the manner of
his attack is clearly sexual" (Jancovich 49).
The attraction to the sexual acts of the vampire figure is also based on
the reader's heightened identification with the tenuous distinction between
imagined sexuality and real sex that vampire narratives blur: "the ironic thing
about vampire sexuality is that, for its overt peculiarity, it is in many ways
very like human sexuality, but human sexuality in which the psychological or
metaphoric becomes physical or literal" (Stevenson 142). In his book The
Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre (1970), Tzvetan
Todorov identifies the vampire figure as a component of the "theme of the
other" that involves sexuality. Similar to Stevenson's blurry distinction
between corporeal and imagined/textual sexuality, for Todorov the vampire
figure forces the reader to choose from within a written text "between
satisfaction of the external and of the internal senses" (125). Central to
Todorov's classification of the "other" within the literature of the fantastic

9
are its themes of "excessive sensuality" (158), those actions which "will be
more readily accepted by any censor if they are attributed to the devil"
(Todorov 159) or to, as this dissertation suggests, the vampire figure in
literature.
The fascination with the "peculiar" sexuality of the vampire character
in literature and film springs from the wider attraction of sexuality in
literature. As one critic puts it, "'Sexuality' is the stake and the purpose, the
constant wager of the representation [in the novel], over a scale of variations
that runs from the elemental ... to its banalization, its ordinary
'aroundness,' the simple and immediate acceptance that it is the fundamental
topic of interest and preoccupation" (Heath, "'While Millicent . . . '" 58).
The sexuality in the six novels discussed in this dissertation is dynamic
because its confession disrupts "accepted" and/or "acceptable" standards of
sexual behavior and offers options that strengthen the overall discursive
system of sexuality.
As certain definitions of sexuality indicate, however, male/female
activity is only one aspect of sexual expression that lies within a larger
discursive network that silences and prohibits alternative, not heterosexual
sexualities. Because of the increasingly more "open" positions of women in
societal structures such as the workplace and the home, the same critic cited
above notes that in the late twentieth century "many of the nineteenth-

10
century terms [regarding sexuality] have shifted, and this especially in
connection with 'sexual liberation,' 'the sexual revolution,' leading to various
adjustments and rearrangements in the overall representation" of sexuality in
literature (Heath, "'While Millicent . . . 47). Feminist literary criticism
produced by and about Latin American women writers emphasizes the all-
encompassing aspect of discourse that "incluye, ordena y afirma una serie de
elementos a base de excluir, y así, negar otros. Tomar conciencia de esto
nos lleva [a nosotras] a valorar positivamente lo marginado, y considerar
como significativo lo que ha sido negativizado" (González Stephan 111) by a
male-dominated literary production as well as by a heterosexist discourse
that excludes optional identities/orientations. Highlighting the writings of
Latin American writers Luisa Valenzuela of Argentina and Isabel Allende of
Chile, Marta Morello-Frosch places sexual discourse at once within and
without textual/literary manifestations as a representation of Latin American
society that determines sexual discourse: "no se puede extrapolar la
diferencia sexual del mundo social en el que está inscripta [sic], y parte de la
diferenciación genérica que subyace en la dialéctica del discurso sexual, está
condicionada por componentes sociales tales como clase, educación,
experiencias, etc." (Morello-Frosch 29) that are external to any literary text.
An awareness of, or to use González Stephan's term, a consciousness of the
vampire motif in Latin American literature propels the "adjustments and
rearrangements" that Heath mentions as well as "la diferenciación genérica

que subyace en la dialéctica del discurso sexual" of Morello-Frosch with
respect to the "textualization" of sexuality within a discourse that, as
González Stephan indicates, marginalizes, excludes, and negates.
Since the vampire figure does not necessarily remain within a
heterosexual paradigm of sexual activity, differing components of sexuality
serve as incitements to discourse that critics thematically tie to the vampire
figure. While placing "unnatural sex" within the historical push toward a
closer scientific scrutiny of sexuality, Vern Bullough refers to nonprocreative
sexuality as essentially vampiric in nature because it "was worse than almost
any other disease for it constantly drained off the vital body fluids and
gradually took away life itself. Every loss of semen was regarded as
equivalent to the loss of 4 ounces of blood ..." (Bullough 23). Sexual
deviance, "unnatural" sex, or any "straying from the norm" of reproductive
heterosexuality is often associated with negative manifestations of
homosexuality yet early religious sources do not define sexuality that is not
strictly heterosexual, that is, not male-female. Although one theologian, St.
Albertus Magnus (1206-80), uses the word sodomy "as [sex practiced by)
male with male or female with female" (Bullough and Bullough 34), he
explicitly defines the act of sodomy not as homosexual but rather in a
fashion that strongly suggests vampirism that appears in the novels
examined in this dissertation: "(1) it proceeded from a burning frenzy that
subverted the order of nature; (2) the sin was distinguished by its disgusting

12
foulness; (3) individuals who became addicted to such vices seldom
succeeded in freeing themselves; and (4) such vices were contagious and
spread rapidly from one to another" (Bullough and Bullough 34). Magnus
does not specify sodomy as male/male nor from the point of view of
intercourse/penetration that has come to identify gay sex, nor does he state
clearly that sodomy is a homosexual act.
Magnus describes sodomy more as an object of study than one of
rejection, similar to the way Foucault notes that the examination and pursuit
of sodomy exposed it rather than pushed it into hiding: the "machinery of
power ... did not aim to suppress it, but rather to give it an analytical,
visible, and permanent reality: it was implanted on bodies, slipped in beneath
modes of conduct, made into a principle of classification and intelligibility,
[and] established as a raison d'etre ..." (Foucault, The History . . . 44)2.
Whether or not the subject is sodomy, the six novels in this dissertation
demonstrate that the variable sexuality in Latin American vampire narratives
produces a visible presence in the wider realm of contemporary Latin
American narrative fiction: these authors bring sexuality into a reality that "is
especially silent about sexual themes" (Foster, Gay and Lesbian . . . 140).
2 In The History of Sexuality. Volume One. Michel Foucault underscores sexual discourse as
an historical product of and coexistent with other voices of power that attempt to repress
it: "The affirmation of a sexuality ... is coupled with the grandiloquence of a [larger!
discourse purporting to reveal the truth about sex, modify its economy within reality,
subvert the law that governs it, and change its future" (8).

13
Similar to writers of the "Boom" in Latin American literature, the
authors of the narratives examined in this dissertation have "subjected
modern Latin American narrative to a radical rewriting that swept away
traditional themes and sources of authority" (González Echevarría 33).
These writers attempt to explore the discourse of human sexuality through
the idea of the confession that allowed such discourses to proliferate and yet
remain a part of a repressed society. This dissertation shows that the
concept of confession about sexuality3 may be applied to Latin American
vampire narratives that present the subversiveness of vampire stories. Sylvia
Molloy points out that, similar to the imposition of the Victorian framework
onto Western sexuality that Foucault supports as the current cause for the
silence of sexual discourse4, turn-of-the-century Latin American writers enter
a modern era that is capable of classifying people, things, and discourses
from the "normative" point of view that "is arrived at, and indeed derives
from, the gender and sexual differences that purportedly deviate from it—in
3 This idea is developed by Foucault in his The History of Sexuality: An Introduction. Vol. 1
(1976), referred to at various points throughout this dissertation. Foucault establishes the
confession about sex as follows: "the dissemination and reinforcement of heterogeneous
sexualities...are linked together with the help of the central element of a confession that
compels individuals to articulate their sexual pecul¡ar¡ty--no matter how extreme" (61).
4 According to Foucault, the openness toward sexuality diminishes during the Victorian age
of the later nineteenth century and this restriction continues into the twentieth: procreative
sexuality becomes the norm and anything not considered to lead to sexuality that produces
offspring "would be driven out, denied, and reduced to silence" (Foucault, The History . . .
4). Yet Foucault emphasizes that the counterdiscourse about sex serves as a discourse
about the sexuality that has been silenced: the legal-medico-judicial restraints aimed at
controlling (perverse) sexuality in fact bring these sexualities into view as indicated above
about sodomy.

14
the same way that the definition of 'health' . . . follows that of disease, and
decadence gives birth ... to notions of maturity and fullness" (Molloy, "Too
Wilde ..." 187). Thus, as contemporary Latin American vampire novels of
the twentieth century imply, "normative" discourses of sexuality are set up
while at the same time destabilized through the exploration of alternative,
different, or deviant sexualities as a way of commenting on "normal" sexual
practices.
Sexuality is a contemporary issue that theorists attempt to define
outside of Latin American literary circles as well. Gayle Rubin observes that
human sexuality today has become the target of oppressive measures
because of its wider variety. Supporting Michel Foucault's idea that
sexuality is a social construct and therefore a social system,5 Rubin explores
how sexuality needs to be taken less seriously as an object of discourse
rather than a subject of discourse. Like Foucault, Rubin sees that sexuality
"is organized into systems of power, which reward and encourage some
individuals and activities, while punishing and suppressing others" (Rubin
34). For Rubin, the mystified nature of sexuality in many societies produces
battles about sexuality that are "highly symbolic. Sexual activities often
function as signifiers for personal and social apprehensions to which they
J As a different critic notes, Foucault's work on sexuality "teaches that sexual norms, and
more radically the perceptual and other cognitive distinctions that we make in regard to sex,
do not come from nature but instead express the values of influential social groups (political
[and] professional...)" (Posner 24).

15
have no intrinsic connection" (Rubin 25) but seem real nonetheless. The
political struggle over sexuality is often aimed at what Rubin calls "chimeras"
or "phantasms," vampire-like images of deviant and/or dangerous sexuality.
The crackdown on non-traditional sexualities adds a vampire-like quality to
sexuality as it "is rationalized by portraying them as menaces to health and
safety, women and children, national security, the family, or civilization
itself" (Rubin 25). he ambiguity surrounding what constitutes "unnatural
sex" remains constant into the twentieth century and attempts to specify its
exact nature allow for interpretations of non-heterosexual activity that use
the vampire figure "as a means of articulating what is epistemologically
constructed as both 'unnatural' and unspeakable" (Krzywinska 109) within
narrative discourse.
With reference to the Venezuelan writer Teresa de la Parra, Sylvia
Molloy brings to the surface the hidden but subversive textual/discursive
erasures carried out by critics to hide her (lesbian) sexuality. Such omissions
provide crucial information about the sexual identity of de la Parra in a way
that parallels Foucault's idea of alternative sexualities as "hidden" discourses.
As components of an overall literary/discursive system, these sexualities are
forced into silence but then explode into sight once revealed: "By highlighting
what is secret, clandestine, conspirational, on the threshold ... of a
relatively nonthreatening text, she [de la Parra] is offering not only clues to
her literary strategy but a lesson in discriminating reading, an invitation to

16
decode an oeuvre, a life, that permanently border on the unsayable" (Molloy,
"Disappearing Acts ..." 237).
In the six narratives examined in this dissertation the vampire figure
destabilizes heterosexuality while "grasp[ing] sexuality as the site of varied
and heterogeneous determinations, with sexual difference too then
understood in those terms: as social production, human reality, individual
articulation all at once, in interaction" (Heath, "The Ethics ..." 143). The
presence of the vampire figure in these narratives allows narrative discourse
to subvert "traditional" systems of sexual behavior by undermining the
expectations of heterosexuality within narrative explorations of and about
sexuality in Latin American fiction of the twentieth century. Each novel
presents challenging ideas about sexuality in Latin American society by first
establishing a central sexual conflict and then destabilizing the foundation(s)
on which the sexuality rests by introducing socio-political as well as personal
conflicts that textualize sexuality. In reference to assumed patterns of
heterosexual as well as social/cultural/political behavior and expectations, the
vampire figure in each of the six narratives suggests that sexuality in
twentieth-century Latin American narrative fiction is not restricted to
established and/or expected patterns of behavior and that any examination of
this "alternative" sexuality enriches and empowers the history of Latin
American literature in the sphere of global literature. Just as Foucault's
examination of the discourse(s) of sexuality brings to light its power as a

17
product of social, political, and authoritative discourses throughout history,
sexuality in these six narratives reveals truths of Latin American society in
the same fashion: "La sexualidad se deforma y exhibe sus rostros
monstruosos para dar testimonio de los males de una sociedad, es decir, del
determinismo social, de la violencia, de la frustración, de la corrupción y de la
hipocresía" (Caro 170).
The omission of lesser known works such as the novels examined in
this dissertation constitutes a serious problem for the appreciation of all
varieties of Latin American literature that need to gain recognition as
important contributions within as well as without the "canon." For example,
two recent supporters of lesbian and gay writing in the Hispanic world
lament the exclusion of non-canonical works such as those works written by
lesbians and gay men and encourage the examination of those Spanish-
language works, ideas, or writing techniques that expose non-heterosexuality
not in order to provide "alternatives to reality" but rather to expand the
boundaries of Spanish and Latin American literary studies: "in its genuflection
to the notion of successive 'generations' of writers, much criticism of
Spanish-language literature shows itself deeply wedded to a gallery of
canonical authors. While the celebration of such figures may serve as a
focus for cultural pride, it can also tend to silent divergent or dissident
readings" (Smith and Bergmann 3). (It is important to note that this 1995
collection of essays includes an article about Alejandra Pizarnik's La condesa

18
sangrienta [1971],6 an otherwise infrequently critiqued text within Latin
American literary studies that focuses on the bloodlust of the important
historical figure Elizabeth Bathory.) Likewise to how Smith and Bergmann
see continuous groups of well known heterosexual writers examined but
lesser known lesbian/homosexual authors ignored, in her 1994 survey of
Latin American prose fiction of the twentieth century, Naomi Lindstrom sees
"Spanish American prose fiction as a continuum" (Lindstrom 1) of realistic
as well as fantastic and/or mythical texts yet rarely examines works that are
not already included in overviews of narrative fiction. The six novels
presented in this dissertation appear seldom (if at all) in histories of Latin
American narrative fiction but because of the confession of sexuality in each
of these texts as well as the incorporation of vampire figures, they are
examples of what Lindstrom identifies as "innovative fiction[s,]. .narratives
with a strong mythic and fantastic strain, [that] can serve as a medium of
social criticism" (Lindstrom 12) and propitiate what Smith and Bergmann
refer to as "divergent or dissident readings" (3). Their appearance in this
dissertation adds to the general history of Latin American literature that,
according to Lindstrom, "require[s] continual adjustment of critical concepts
originally designed to characterize those literatures whose dominance was
long established" (226).
6 Suzanne Chávez Silverman, "The Look That Kills: The 'Unacceptable Beauty' of Alejandra
Pizarnik's La condesa sangrienta." ¿Entiendes? Queer Readings. Hispanic Writings, eds.
Emilie L. Bergmann and Paul Julian Smith, (Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1995): 281-305.

19
Each novel uses the vampire figure as the central mechanism with
which to look at human sexual relations as products of broader relationships
of political and personal power. The narratives uphold the notion of
confession as a discourse between sexual bodies as well as social bodies:
the complex human relationships that each narrative presents are as much a
product of sex as they are of political and social interaction. As Alicia Puleo
defines it, sexuality in narratives such as these is "una modalidad de relación
con el propio cuerpo y con los otros que se acompaña de un rol socialmente
establecido que condiciona nuestra percepción de los otros y de nosotros
mismos" (Puleo 18).
This dissertation surveys the presence of sexuality in six contemporary
Latin American narratives from Modernism7 to the present. If "it is
essentially through some form of conventionally taboo ql deviant sexual
behaviour that characters in modern Spanish-American novels often seek
7 The term "modernism" (or modernismo in Spanish) in reference to Spanish American
literature has a different meaning than associated with the Brazilian or Anglo-American
version of the term. As Alfred MacAdam notes, "Spanish American Modernismo must not
be confused with the twentieth-century avant-garde movement of the same name in Brazil,
and neither has any relationship with the currently fashionable term 'modernism,' a catch-all
term for avant-garde movements in general" (4). The Spanish American modernista
movement became "fully evident during the 1880s ..." (Lindstrom 7) and "predominated
in Spanish American letters into the 1910s ... " (Lindstrom 7). Distinct from Anglo-
American and Brazilian uses of the term, modernismo in Latin American literature refers to
what Naomi Lindstrom sees as "a response to the contemporary situation of the [Latin
American] region" (Lindstrom 19). In order to define the term, I cite her definition in its
entirety: "Modernists were closely attentive to tendencies in French- and English-language
literatures and referred with pride to European influences on their writing. Understandably,
they have been accused of disdain for their Spanish American heritage. Here, too, the
issues are complex. While modernists drew upon other literatures, these borrowings were
thoroughly, and inevitably, transformed" (Lindstrom 18). Generally speaking, Latin
American modernism begins in the 1880s and lasts through the end of the first decade of
the twentieth century.

20
themselves" (Shaw, "Notes on " 276-77, my emphasis) is it necessary
to first place sexuality within the confines of acceptability and then measure
to what degree any divergence from the norm occurs in the attempt to
examine the presence of a discourse of sexuality in Latin American literature?
What is the aberrant sexual activity to which Shaw refers and how is it
expressed in the Spanish American novel? With occasional reference to the
ideas of Michel Foucault about the historical manifestation of sexuality, this
dissertation attempts to uncover the answers to these questions through the
figure of the vampire in Latin American narrative fiction of the twentieth
century.
Foucault argues that for approximately three centuries the repression
of a discourse of sexuality not only creates more discussion about the topic
but in addition multiplies the voices of sexuality because of the same
restrictions: "since the end of the sixteenth century, the 'putting into
discourse of sex,' far from undergoing a process of restriction, on the
contrary has been subjected to a mechanism of increasing incitement;. . .the
techniques of power exercised over sex have not obeyed a principle of
rigorous selection, but rather one of dissemination and implantation of
polymorphous sexualities" (Foucault, The History . . . 12, my emphasis)
that the novels in this dissertation explore.
If Foucault supports on the one hand the examination of sexuality, he
maintains on the other that "literary discourse has been slow to appropriate

21
sexuality or to create sexual desire ..." (During 172) because the
expression of sexuality has remained a private or closed issue. With the
appearance of the printing press and the generation of mass media forms
that follows, written texts become a public domain in which the expression
of ideas and beliefs about sex proliferates yet remains carefully watched and
monitored: "in sexuality, as in penality, a moral discourse is consolidated and
displaced by practices and modes of thought that construct norms and
impose them as respectable, natural, or normal" (During 169). Thus, an
ideological battle over sexuality begins to differentiate between what is
acceptable and what is inadmissible sexuality.
Beginning with the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, Latin
America undergoes the change to modernity, a shift that Latin American
modernista writers attempt to portray in literature with a "break with
bourgeois convention" (Molloy, "Too Wilde ..." 190). Yet there is a
disquiet and suspicious feeling at the same time about the sudden
appearance of a discourse about sexuality that Molloy identifies as "the
paranoid construction of gender and sexual norm, and of gender and sexual
difference" (Molloy, "Too Wilde ..." 187) that Donald Shaw points to
above as well. In order to ease the transition into the twentieth century,
Latin American writers use the vampire motif to represent what Molloy and
Shaw point to as uncertain sexuality, for "The [vampire] monster always
represents the disruption of categories, the destruction of boundaries, and

22
the presence of impurities" within discourses assumed to be pure and
innocent (Halberstam 27).
Unsettling and ultimately critical about sexuality, Bram Stoker's 1 897
novel Dracula is a work that is considered by many to be lii£ work of
vampire fiction yet vampirism in literature must not be reduced to the actions
of Count Dracula as Stoker developed them. As Margaret L. Carter points
out, vampirism in literature is of all kinds and should not be limited to
prescribed actions: "Not all legendary vampires drink blood; some consume
other human products, while some spread death by their proximity . . .
.Moreover, an undead revenant may conform to vampire guidelines in other
respects while not preying on people at all . . . " (Carter, "An Anatomy . . . "
43). Vampirism is not restricted to the media of literature or film but a
pervasive presence in advertising, food labels, and children's television
shows. Vampirism and the vampire figure provide close parallels with human
behavior, and the popularity of the vampire figure is a reflection of how the
vampire myth and human behavior with all "its component actions conform
to some timeless design, classically the battle between good and evil that
transcends immediate historical interests and dilemmas" (Glover 135).
In response to the fact that contemporary Latin America is a fusion of
foreign and indigenous cultures, two critics have noted how popular culture,
"according to common usage in Latin America, evokes the possibility of
alternatives to currently dominant cultural patterns" (Rowe and Schelling

23
107) that decide and control how information is transmitted. Rowe and
Schelling indicate three points regarding the formation of Latin American
popular culture and its transmission: the influence of older forms of mass
media (they cite the telenovela and the folletín as two examples), the active
role of the receiving public, and the potential for a change of meaning, or
"resignification" (Rowe and Shelling 107) of established meanings or forms.
The novel Alias «Posadita» (1979) by the Colombian Mauro Alvarez exposes
vampirism through the channels of mass media and expresses its ability to
cross national boundaries and become a universal marker of human behavior
without adhering to a language, custom, or specific ideology. Vampire
stories use a variety of expositional techniques: the plethora of narrative
types (such as phonograph recordings, newspaper clippings, diary entries) in
Bram Stoker's novel also appears in Latin American novels about vampires to
demonstrate that within the vampire story "the mass media have brought
about a process of hybridization whereby cultural signs flow across social,
ethnic and nation-state boundaries, and the notion of high culture as a
separate sphere becomes impossible" (Rowe and Schelling 196).
In vampirism, a relationship of dependency is pervasive: "The vampire
motif always has something to do with the idea of being, or way of being,
that literally lives off another" (Dyer, "Dracula and Desire" 10). Vampires
can operate without the full knowledge of the victim. Vampirism is "the
draining of blood, the frequently slow loss of vitality and of life itself, most

24
commonly without the victim's knowledge" (Luhr 453). Vampirism implies
an imbalance of power since its "emphasis is upon an unequal relationship
and inevitably upon cruelty-thus, the evil vampire whose power over his
prey is both extraordinary and cruel" (Gordon, "Rehabilitating Revenants . .
230). Yet from within the confines of a restrictive dependence-independence
paradigm of power surges a significant fusion, a relationship that fosters
mutual understanding. In Latin America, the intermixing of popular cultural
forms is the way "en que los distintos grupos sociales y actores políticos han
conferido significado a los sectores subalternos o bajos de nuestra sociedad"
(Adrianzén 162).
Similar to how mass media permeates Latin American culture and
brings disparate groups closer together through various channels of
distribution, vampirism portrays an invasion of human space in different
forms that allows for reconfigurations, a redistribution of meaning as Rowe
and Schelling indicate above. Many sources differ as to the origin of
vampirism in world literature, but when Augustin Calmet published a treatise
on vampires in 1 746, this document indicated how "El vampirismo invadió
las bibliotecas, los talleres de impresión, los salones y hasta los dormitorios.
Todo ello creyó una psicosis . . . que llegaba incluso a las grandes urbes"
(Gordon, El gran libro . . . 19). In other words, with this document and
others like it, vampirism became part of the public consciousness that had
ignored it as a sign of irrationality with the belief "que una tradición tan

25
compleja no es más que un producto de la ignorancia, carente de todo
contacto con hechos reales, tampoco es una actitud adecuada a la hora de
analizar creencias populares que también forman parte de la historia"
(Cazzaniga 24).
Vampirism occurs in contemporary novels in an assortment of ways.
Human behavior serves as a basis for vampirism and this can be seen in most
renditions of vampirism in texts. Bram Stoker's character Count Dracula is
based on a historical figure from Eastern European history, Vlad Dracula (also
called Vlad Tepes or Vlad the Impaler), ruler of Wallachia in the fifteenth
century. "Vlad Dracula, who had been a hostage of the Turks in his youth,
led his army in a guerrilla war against the Turks with astounding success.
His favorite tactic was to attack at night, causing confusion and terror, and
then retreat, carrying away prisoners to be impaled" (Holte 248). For some,
Count Dracula is the prototypical vampire of fiction, but Stoker's inclusion of
extensive research into Eastern European history in his 1897 novel reveals
strong parallels between fiction and reality. David Glover sees a
contemporary fascination and attraction to the vampire myth as a product of
the novel Dracula's "confusion of temporalities in which ancient folktales,
medieval legends, and modern obsessions may all be instantaneously
present, coalescing with horrifying effect" (Glover 129).
Stoker adeptly develops a composite vampire made up of real as well
as conjectural elements in his rendition of the vampire myth: "Stoker

26
constructed, from many sources, an immensely persuasive hybrid: a
nightmare capable of unearthing the unconscious terrors of his own time"
(Sinclair 15). The French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau defended
Calmet's 1746 publication about vampirism and argued that beliefs in
vampires and their behavior "revealed much about the nature of authority in
civilized society" (Frayling 23). Rousseau's point is that "the relations
between vampires and their prey are an extremely potent symbol for
characterizing even the ordinary ties of dependence that bind individuals
together in civilized society" (Frayling 33).
Rousseau's classification of vampirism reverberates into the twentieth
century Latin American novel. For Rousseau as for contemporary Latin
American authors who use vampirism in their narratives, the vampire image
provides "a vivid means of symbolizing modes of mutual dependence in
society which were not benign . . . but benighted, parasitic and grotesque-a
master-slave dialectic, with teeth" (Frayling 34). Based on the Peruvian
dictatorship of Oscar Benavides, Manuel Bedoya's 1939 novel El general
Bebevidas. Monstruo de América draws history into the realm of fiction as
Stoker did in Dracula. but with the difference that the sexuality of the
persons exploited by the tyrannical regime of Bebevidas explicitly suffers:
Luis González and Julia de Solonio struggle to maintain their affair, itself a
hybrid of Julia's divorce-by-death and Luis's undying loyalty to fighting the
dictatorship.

27
There is very little consensus about what the vampire is, does, or
looks like, however, and no interpretation seems to be incorrect, but many of
the interpretations of the vampire figure in contemporary literature and film
are responses to social pressures like those Rousseau indicated in the late
eighteenth century. Classifying the vampire is nonetheless difficult because
of the multitude of variations: "es tan difícil dar una descripción exacta [de
los vampiros] por la variedad de leyendas orales y reales" (Gordon, El gran
libro . . . 199) that exist about the origins or features of the vampire, but
Latin American fiction pulls together already-established traditions (Bram
Stoker is a popular source) that merge with autonomous aspects of Latin
American culture to allow for the vocalization of the marginalized discourses
of sexuality.
A common feature that authors tend to highlight about the vampire is
its mysterious, perilous, and yet attractive sexual behavior; James Twitchell
sums this idea up, revealing the strong, sensual potential found in vampires:
"on the one hand, the vampire is bad, sucking what he should not be
sucking, being sexual where he should not be; yet it is all somehow very
alluring" (Twitchell, "The Vampire Myth" 87). The vampire provides many
appealing traits as a literary character, but "although the vampire takes from
his victim to feed his hunger, it is as if he is satisfying a hunger in his
audience-a hunger for sexuality and sensuality, a desire to live forever . . . ,
a yearning to be both empowered and powerless and thus completely

28
without any responsibility for one's own actions" (Dresser 168), free to do
as it pleases, especially when it comes to sexuality. The hesitation between
fear and safety is a common reaction to the vampire figure: "Worship or
identification, pity or revulsion? The long life of the vampire idea resides in
just such various possibilities" (Dyer, "Dracula and Desire" 10) that continue
with each interpretation. Twitchell points to the active involvement
(conscious or not) of the reader/observer in relation to the vampire story, one
aspect that Latin American authors incorporate into their vampire tales
through the exploration of sexuality via innovative forms of narrative such as
newspaper reports, first-person testimonies, and taped interviews.
The vampire reveals more about sexual behavior than extended life:
"they have supernatural power and they are sexier than just about anyone
around. They also force us to look into certain mirrors of reality that we
normally avoid" (Mathews 74). Compared with other popular horror figures
such as the Frankenstein monster, the Wolf-Man, or the Zombie, the vampire
attracts precisely because it is charming: "It is the subtle, suggestive,
disturbing appeal of the vampire that makes of the Dracula legend a very
different fantasy from . . . that of the werewolf or the golem . . . whose
grotesque physical appearance is sheerly repugnant and could never be
considered as 'seductive'" (Oates 505, emphasis in original). Not all believe,
however, including Stoker that the vampire is sexually alluring. In Stoker's
novel, Count Dracula has "breath that smelled like a charnel house, lice-

29
infected hair, pointed ears, a thin nose, sharp teeth, hairy palms, and long
and pointed nails" (Guiley 64). In Manuel Mujica Lainez's 1967 Crónicas
reales, for example, the vampire Zappo has a green tint to his skin, a feature
that makes him stand out as not sexually appealing to the reader, but the
object of desire for Miss Godiva Brandy.
The preoccupation about sexuality in Latin American novels is
expressed through the vampire figure but rarely is the vampire's past
examined in these novels as it is in Stoker's. The exception is Mujica's novel
which describes Zappo as a descendant of Benno von Orbs, a Gilíes de Rais-
type figure whose abhorrent sexuality included the molestation of children in
and around the Castle Wurzburg. As Mujica's and Stoker's novels
demonstrate, the legend of the vampire extends back into the centuries
before modern civilizations had been formed; it is not a contemporary
phenomenon even though "Most twentieth-century vampire literature draws
directly upon Stoker" (Holte 253) whose 1897 work is considered to be the
most common depiction of the vampire; the texts in this dissertation borrow
many aspects of the vampire from Stoker's novel as a point of departure in
order to incorporate national concerns about the expression of sexuality.
As it is depicted in literature, the vampire nevertheless reflects the
unpredictable aspect of human conduct, "a metaphor for the dark side of
human emotions and behavior" (Holte 261). "Believing in supernatural
troublemakers is a way to cope with the ups and downs of daily life,

30
particularly the downs" (Dresser 55). As times progressed, so did the desire
to know more about the mysteries of human existence and death, and in
literature the vampire becomes a creature capable of expressing possible
interpretations of unfamiliar realms such as death and dying as well as incest
or "different" sexuality: "The steadily intensifying interest in mysteries of life,
death, and immortality gave the vampire motif a felicitous welcome . . . "
(Carter, "An Anatomy ..." 23) into literature of the early nineteenth
century and beyond.
The vampire is continually changing in response to diverse social,
cultural, and political events that help shape within a culture its popular
forms of literature. Bram Stoker altered what he learned about the vampire
to make his character suitable for his Victorian audience; the result was the
syncretic vampire of contemporary times that combines a bit of ancient
times: "Stoker took elements, combined and transformed these ideas, then
embellished and personified them in Count Dracula. He [Stoker] made
changes which have had long-lasting effects" (Dresser 112). Likewise in
Latin American narrative fiction, vampires often appear as forms that "are
not mere conveyors of messages but meeting points of often contradictory
ways of remembering and interpreting" (Rowe and Schelling 9).
Works that do not follow Stoker's novel are by no means inferior
interpretations of the vampire. This dissertation supports how "Vampire
fiction after [Bram] Stoker has either followed his pattern, self-consciously

31
departed from it, or used pieces of it in weaving new patterns" (Carter, "An
Anatomy ..." 32). Luis Zapata's novel Las aventuras, desventuras v
sueños de Adonis García, el vampiro de la Colonia Roma (1979) comes
closest to resembling Stoker's utilization of extraliterary forms to tell the
vampire story. Through the use of the tape recorder, Zapata's novel
documents a period of time in the life of a gay prostitute in Mexico City.
However, Zapata's novel diverges drastically from Stoker in the exaltation of
homosexuality of the main character, Adonis, who also narrates his story, a
liberty not enjoyed by Count Dracula who is attracted to women but
constantly deals with men in the novel.
Latin American novels that copy Stoker are limited. Each of the novels
examined in this dissertation develops one aspect that Stoker himself
adapted but never fully explored within his novel Dracula. vampirism as a
menacing but curious sexuality. It must be remembered that Stoker turned
the historical character Vlad Tepes into the same monster that he was as
ruler of Wallachia in the fifteenth century but added the dimension of an
unruly sexuality, thus incorporating his (Stoker's) own experiences, fears,
and possible dreams as a member of Victorian society: "[the vampire)
Dracula is an idea, a concept full of fantasies and wonders, beyond the
reaches of darkness and imagination" (Carter, "An Anatomy ..." 27) that
Stoker as a mortal being magnifies through a literary exploration of sexuality.
However silently or non-textually Count Dracula's sexual proclivities develop,

32
the main apprehension in Stoker's novel is "an equivocation about the
relationship between desire and gender . . . [that] repeats, with a monstrous
difference, a pivotal anxiety of late Victorian culture" (Craft 108). Instead of
praise sexuality in all its forms like Zapata does in Las aventuras . . . .
Stoker's novel upholds what Foucault identifies as the modus operandi of his
time regarding deviant sexual behavior: "Breaking the rules of [heterosexual]
marriage or seeking strange [sexual] pleasures brought an equal measure of
condemnation" (Foucault, The History . . . 38).
Another twentieth-century Colombian novel parallels as well as
deviates from Stoker's novel in a successful way. Stoker employed the
technique of popular media forms to tell about Count Dracula: newspaper
articles, phonograph recordings, personal letters, diary entries, and travel
information all convey knowledge about the vampire to the reader. The work
El vampiro (1956) by the Colombian writer José Abimael Pinzón begins with
the newspaper report of a mysterious murder that has been associated with
a vampire: the killer molests the victims, drinks their blood, and writes the
word "vampiro" (vampire) on their corpses. The novel traces the successful
attempt to discover and eliminate the menace from Bucaramangan society,
and the close association with writing and journalistic reporting allows the
novel to be a wider critique of La Violencia, the eruption of street violence in
Bogotá in the 1 940s. This novel demonstrates the precarious position of
newspaper reporting of events such as a vampire/killer who not only murders

33
his male victims but has sex with them before their death, a straightforward
confession of the hypocrisy of the times.
The acceptability of the contemporary vampire story should not "be a
matter of how closely a given work follows Stoker's text, but instead . . .
how effective it is on its own terms as an extrapolation from a set of
material that Stoker himself co-opted but didn't always make the best of"
(Newman 12). Writers of contemporary Latin American narrative fiction
change the vampire myth by focusing on "the tormented humanization of the
vampire, which reverses the emphasis on the monstrous in texts like
Dracula" (Glover 138) and inserts a vampire who is human. With the
exception of the Chilean author Rafael Maluenda's novel Vampiro de trapo
(1958), in which the doll Polidoro slowly possesses its owner, vampirism in
the Latin American novels examined in this dissertation occurs between
human beings for whom sexual aggressivity is part of their existence. The
reader may often forget about the vampire and read for the effect, but the
imposing differences of interpretation and analysis continue to recreate the
vampire figure in many ways: "In our demented pop culture, the question is
no longer what vampires do to us, but what are we doing to them: just who
is sucking the life out of whom?" (Mathews 74).
The six authors whose works appear in the dissertation have different
nationalities yet develop vampire figures in three similar ways: each of the
narratives carries the word "vampire" in the title or it immediately appears in

34
the text, the principal arena of activity within each of the six novels is an
out-of-control sexuality to which the vampire figure is tied, and the
confession is the primary narrative device that narrates the story. In addition
to an overview of the vampire figure in Latin American literature, chapter two
looks at a novel by the Honduran writer Froylán Turcios (1872-1943), who
"fue uno de los escritores americanos más conocidos de su tiempo, y de los
más connotados de Hispanoamérica" (Arita Palomo 227) even though his
novel El vampiro (1910) remains relatively obscure within the study of
contemporary Latin American narrative. His literary works include poetry,
journalism as well as novels; he was an author who "incursionó en todos los
géneros literarios y fue además un exquisito antologo" (Arita Palomo 27) yet
appears infrequently in histories of Latin American literature. On August 1,
1901, Turcios founded the Revista nueva, the first Modernist publication
"que apareció en Honduras y quizás en Centro América" (Arita Palomo 33).
In 1905 "dio vida a su revista 'Esfinge' ... de dimensión invalorable"
(Cáceres Lara 66). Between 1912 and 1915 his literary production reached
a high point and this corresponded with "un gran florecimiento cultural . . . "
(Arita Palomo 34) in Honduras. In 1924, Turcios began the periodical
Boletín de la defensa nacional in which was the attempt to "solicitar la
colaboración de todos los hondureños que estaban en Tegucigalpa y que
podían usar la pluma para la defensa de los intereses nacionales" (Cáceres
Lara 68) against the recent American invasion.

35
El vampiro is a tragic love story primarily about a priest-vampire who
sexually victimizes an upper-class adolescent female who is in love with her
cousin, Rogerio. The secondary feature of this modernista novel is incest, a
marginal but equally strong voice of alternate sexuality of early twentieth-
century Central America. David M. Halperin defines "queer" as anything that
is in opposition to the norm, "a positionality that is not restricted to lesbians
and gay men but is in fact available to anyone who is or who feels
marginalized because of her or his sexual practices" (62). Turcios' novel
then, as a modernista text, minimalizes Rogerio and Luz's relationship but
accentuates the vampirism of Padre Félix both as "queer" voices of sexuality
because "Modernismo may be said to be the founding moment of Spanish
American literary queerness, inasmuch as an 'against the grain,' often willful
[sexual] marginality comes to be a part, if not the central part, of the new
aesthetic" (Montero 95) of the modern era.
This vampire figure reflects the tendency in Turcios to place "el amor y
la muerte ... en una íntima armonización, como dos notas del mismo canto .
. . " that is a crucial combination in the vampire myth as well. Turcios'
"handsomely written gothic tale" reflects "a widespread tendency toward
escapist writing in Central American countries ..." (Prieto 511) even
though the Latin American Modernist writers "were able to assimilate
successfully, for the first time, the techniques of the past that they admired
and the currents of their own times" (Davison 22). But as Turcios' novel

36
demonstrates, Latin American modernista writers are careful not to voice too
decidedly aspects of personal lives that do not fit the "mainstream" such as
the fatal sexuality that Padre Félix directs toward Luz as well as the
incestuous relationship between Rogerio Mendoza and Luz. In effect, £1
vampiro's depiction of incest shows that Latin American modernism not only
"assimilate[s]" respected literary trends and techniques but "translates lives
(at least some lives) into an acceptable cultural script [and] feels it must
erase marks of a deviance by which . . . they [the authors] themselves fear
to be judged" (Molloy, "Too Wilde ..." 196). The first-person narrative
structure of the novel strikes the reader from the first sentence as a memory
or recollection of a past time: "Nací en La Antigua, cuando la mágica ciudad
del Recuerdo conservaba, mejor que ahora, su recóndito prestigio legendario"
(Turcios, El vampiro 5). The continual struggle of Rogerio as well as others
around him to agree on the correct social and political course for Honduras as
well as Central America creates a space in which to develop an argument for
and against the unique or "queer" sexuality that underlies the characters'
discussions of the future of Honduras.
The Peruvian Manuel Bedoya Lerzundi (1888-1942) has written many
works, and he is perhaps "el más fecundo autor de novelas del Perú, aunque
no las mejores por su calidad" (Arriola Grande 104). In addition to his novel
about the vampire Bebevidas, examined in chapter three, he had published La

37
señorita Carlota ¡n 1915 in which Carlota becomes a vampire and commits
suicide (Yépez Miranda 228).
During his Chilean exile he published in Madrid El tirano Bebevidas.
Monstruo de América, in 1939. This work is written against the regime of
General Oscar Benavides "a quien [Bedoya] hace comparecer como una
especie de ogro moderno que se nutre con sangre de niños" (Arriola Grande
106), a faithful repetition of the blood motif of the vampire. As in Bram
Stoker's novel Dracula. the presence of the vampire Bebevidas "is restricted
to a relatively few paramount scenes and episodes, a technique which
enhances the aura of dread and mystery surrounding" the vampire (Klenman
Babener 140). As a way to denounce a political regime, Bedoya utilizes the
paraliterary use of the pamphlet used by German printers in the fifteenth
century to recount the horrific stories of Vlad the Impaler, the Romanian
prince who impaled his war victims with spikes. Bedoya reflects this use of
other "panfletarios políticos, agriamente enderezados a censurar al
conservadorismo peruano y sus procedimientos ..." (Enciclopedia . . .
271). Others of Bedoya's works like this are El otro Caín. El otro Abel. La
bestia roja, and La argolla negra. After the assassination of Sánchez Cerro in
April of 1933, the General Oscar R. Benavides "would dominate Peruvian
civil-military affairs from Sánchez Cerro's death until the end of the decade"
and the APRA, under Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre, "would combat Benavides
in the same way as they struggled against Sánchez Cerro: by subverting

38
army and navy personnel in their efforts to seize political power" (Masterson
41). One of the final scenes in El general Bebevidas . . . is an Inquisition-like
interrogation of three government officials of Bebevidas' regime by those of
the Partido.
The tyrant of this novel is a monster who feeds off young boys' blood
in order to remedy an illness. As the regime of Bebevidas maintains itself
throughout the novel as a continual presence, the efforts of the Partido
stumble along. The shaky efforts of the Partido to undermine Bebevidas'
forces parallel the unstable relationships of several of the party's supporters.
As the novel closes the power of Bebevidas remains unequalled as many of
the Partido are either shipped off to concentration camps or exiled by his
military forces. Luis González and Julia (de) Solonio, the two protagonists of
the novel, produce a child together out of wedlock whose future under the
continuing regime is uncertain.
Other characters in Bedoya's novel reveal the extent to which unstable
human sexuality can be a smaller-scale reflection of the uneasiness and
instability of larger discourses of power attempting to come to terms with
disparate and sometimes unreconciliable elements. In the novels by Turcios
and Pinzón, sexual/relational practices that stray from the heterosexual norm
(incest and homosexuality, respectively) appear as retaliations against
authority; in Turcios' novel Padre Félix prohibits Luz and Rogerio from
sleeping next to each other in the same room, they are separated, and their

39
relationship progresses-until Luz's death by the vampire-priest. The
juxtaposition of Catholic church mandates (Padre Félix) and reprisals against
such established authority (Luz and Rogerio are physically intimate as
cousins) provide a parallel "vampire against victim" motif that materializes in
the text as a discursive struggle. Bedoya's novel upholds a precarious
heterosexuality as well: of all the sexual relations between men and women
presented in the novel, only that of Luis and Julia produce anything that
continues. This novel places the homosexuality of the vampire-tyrant
Bebevidas alongside the unsuccessful heterosexualities of those of the
Partido in a struggle not so much for agreement but for control.
José Abimael Pinzón published in 1 956 El vampiro. Novela. Despite
its many typographical errors and a complicated plot development, this Latin
American novel examined in chapter four comes closest to producing a
representation of the vampire figure that crosses boundaries of popular
media. Most notable in Pinzón's novel is the use of constant cross-
references to an actual event that occurred in Bucaramanga, Colombia,
during the years of La Violencia, a period of intense intra-national fighting
beginning in 1947. The author's consistently inserted commentaries on
newspaper journalism as a form of communication within society argue for
and against what is "acceptable" reading for the public while providing a
double discourse on what can result from within an atmosphere of political
and social violence: the unbridled sexuality that sensationalist journalism

40
exploits. Perhaps the most curious aspect, however, of this novel are the
three murders of young boy prostitutes by the "vampiro" (vampire) Francisco
Gáscaro: he rapes the boys and writes on their (dead?) bodies various
markings, one of which is the word "vampiro."
The three boys' bodies onto which Gáscaro inscribes the word
"vampiro" (as well as other "signs" or marks not identified by the text) not
only provide the text, or object of discourse, that is central to this novel
about prostitution but they also expose him as the criminal, as an identified
or marked/marking person who has committed a crime. At the close of the
novel, Gáscaro is led into a trap set up by legal and medical authorities (the
"offical" discourse that develops momentum during novel), captured, and
successfully imprisoned. The last paragraph of the novel reveals an
inconsistency about the case, specifically, that the presiding judge sentenced
the wrong person: "para salvar el propio honor y la memoria del hermano
extinto, el Juez Penal Superior había cometido también el crimen de condenar
a UN INOCENTE" (Pinzón 303). Given the fact that he was caught/subjected
to the discursive power of the law as a molester of boys, Gáscaro's possible
innocence as an "unnmarked" individual (not labelled as a homosexual) is
improbable within a ficitional framework that attempts to argue for
heterosexuality as the norm. Gáscaro's writing on the boys' bodies betrays
and ultimately convicts him of sodomy, an act that goes against/is opposite
from heterosexual acts.

41
Gáscaro's homophobic act of killing gay youths backfires and marks
him as the criminal; his "texts" (the three boys' bodies) uphold
heterosexuality and condemn homosexuality since someone as evil as
Gáscaro could not do such a thing under "normal" conditions. Thus, in a
fashion that David Halperin notes as one of the salient points of Foucault's
History of Sexuality. Volume One (and much of Foucault's work as a critic),
the "newly" inscribed/marked bodies/texts exist in opposition to an already-
established "text," or heterosexuality; the bodies serve "not as a means of
denominating a real or determinate class of persons but as a means of
delimiting and defining-by negation and opposition-the unmarked term"
(Halperin 44), or heterosexual sex as correct within a novel that exposes
many kinds of sexual activity as deviations from heterosexuality in need of
examination and control.
Chapter five looks at a narrative fiction of Rafael Maluenda Labarca
(Chile, 1885-1963), Vampiro de trapo (1958). It is possible to apply "la
fábula de Maluenda [en Vampiro de trapol a otros terrenos . . . , por ejemplo
en la vida política, donde no faltan aquellos sujetos a quienes, por algún
tiempo, se entienden como meros ecos de una personalidad superior . . . "
(Silva Castro, "Rafael Maluenda ..." 311). This is in reference to the
control that the doll Polidoro has over the ventriloquist Máximo Luján and his
unsuccessful attempts to start a relationship with Carmen Barton. During
the novel the apparent cause of the fatal link between Polidoro and Luján is

42
never explained yet the novel's dialogue presents some possible
explanations, including psychoanalytical reasoning provided by Dr. Mendizani
to whom Luján turns for professional help/advice regarding Polidoro, another
confessional relationship that helps to draw sexuality out of Luján .
The doll's name is no doubt an echo of John Polidori, the author of the
first vampire narrative in literature who was accused of stealing Lord Byron's
idea of the story "The Vampyre," first published in 1816. Before looking at
the doll Polidoro as a vampire figure, this chapter first examines the debate
surrounding the authenticity of the first vampire story's authorship that
inevitably brings up the question of authority and presence with regard to the
vampire story in Maluenda's novel.
Chapter six looks at one chapter from Crónicas reales (1967), a novel
by Manuel Mujica Lainez that resembles both an offical history (relación or
chronicle) and a personal confession to an authority figure. The source of the
twelve chronicles are the published reports by the deceased historian of the
von Orbs family who claims to have seen "con sus propios ojos a los
espectros de los fallecidos moradores del Palacio [Heraclida], andando por
sus salas, claustros y pasajes" (Mujica Lainez 329), similar to the New
World discoverers who wrote down what they saw "with their own eyes" as
well as the fifteenth-century accounts about the source of Stoker's Count
g
Foucault mentions the "medicalization" of sexuality similar here: "Spoken in time, to the
proper party, and by the person who was both the bearer of it and the one responsible for
it, the truth [about sexuality] healed" (The History... 67).

43
Dracula, Vlad Tepes, that "appeared in the reports of official chroniclers,
diplomats, and travelers ... in a great number of languages . . . obviously
written by independent observers or commentators ..." (McNally and
Florescu 86, my emphasis) who were seeking compensation for their
writings. In the case of Mujica's novel, the division between the narrator of
the twelve chronicles and the source of the von Orbs family history is
distinguished by distanced respect rather than monetary pursuits: "[el Dr.
Dimitri Feodorovitch Maveroff] insistía en que si alguien merecía reemplazarlo
en el sitial mullido y austero, ese alguien éramos nosotros, y fijamos aquí sus
palabras generosas ..." (Mujica Lainez 296) to guarantee or at least
facilitate the desired appointment of future historian of the kingdom.
Manuel Mujica Lainez (1910-1984) has "more than a dozen books to
his credit as well as six or more literary prizes, both national and
international" (Schanzer, "The Four Hundred Years ..." 65). His writings
have close connections with aspects of human existence even though many
of his narratives take place in locales that have aspects of fantastic and far-
off places. When Jonathan Harker first ventures into Transylvania, he
records his impressions as one who is observing a never-seen-before place.
The actions and episodes of the von Orbs family in Crónicas reales (1967)
"revelan actitudes ridiculas, fallas, debilidades y simulaciones, ingredientes
todo de la naturaleza humana" (Cruz 139) even though they occur within
the kingdom of Hércules I and his descendants, a place that is supposedly

44
located near the Black Forest. As the royal family progesses through the
centuries, the lineage becomes tainted with different blood such as that of
the vicious murderer Benno von Orbs, one of the direct ancestors of Zappo,
the vampire of chapter ten. Destructive time exists in other works of his
beside Crónicas reales such as Bomarzo (1962) and El unicornio (1965),
works that have "rasgos que ya había [sic] aparecido en los destinos
americanos de Mujica Lainez, como si la historia universal se fuera ordenando
en círculos que se reiteran constantemente" (Ghiano 94). But similar to
some of his earlier works (Aquí vivieron [1949] and Misteriosa Buenos Aires
[1951]), the action in Crónicas reales "transcurre en un mismo sitio ... y se
desarrolla a través de centurias" (Cruz 137). Not only does Mujica Lainez
offer a vampire figure in Chapter Ten of Crónicas reales that is worthy of
examination, he also links present with past through the structure of the von
Orbs family whose descendants unsuccessfully attempt to keep their royal
blood untainted despite their belief that their family has remained free of
"outside" blood. Mujica's novel combines contemporary methods of
testimony or confession with age-old concerns such as heredity and family
honor in twelve chronicles of the human experience. In Crónicas reales, the
author "cuenta esencialmente la historia de la humanidad . . . con tanta
imparcialidad" (Revol 218, emphasis in original) that does not exist in
Stoker's structured and highly dictated novel.

45
Luis Zapata (1951- ) has an extensive literary record similar to the
previous five authors. He has written six novels, one of which was made
into a movie and another into a play, and a collection of stories. El vampiro
de la colonia Roma was published in Mexico in 1979, and translated into
English in 1981 by the Gay Sunshine Press of San Francisco, a translation
that closely follows the original use of spaces instead of punctuation marks
as well as the lack of capitalization. The novel won the Grijalbo Prize for
literature but was banned in London for being too obscene.
In his work, Zapata delves into an area that had previously not been
explored in Mexican literature: he utilizes "the extension of the
antiestablishment and countercultural principles of onda writing to include
the unabashed treatment of homosexual identity ..." (Foster, Gay and
Lesbian . . . 38). Zapata directly addresses the social issue of a marginal
group "to portray unflinchingly the wrenching conflicts of human
[homosexual] relationships" (Foster, Gay and Lesbian . . . 38) that are
determined (and undermined) by strict heterosexual roles in Mexican society
such as husband and wife. As Zapata makes use of characteristically
"Onda" writing techniques (throughout the novel there are references to
advertising, movies, and television), the use of homosexuality as the principal
discourse in Adonis Garcia's taped monologues subverts the paradigm of
heterosexual marriage from the first page. For example, Adonis begins the
novel telling about his family but does not base his actions on those of his

46
mother and father because he is unsure as to their status as a married
couple. Adonis never inquired about their relationship as a couple and so it
remained a silent component in his life that he assumed was the same for
every male-female couple: "nunca se los pregunté yo creo que nomás
estaban casados por lo civil . . . toda la gente se casa por la iglesia y que
tenía tres hijos que no lo querían ..." (Zapata, Las aventuras . . . 16). In a
sense, his abundant sexuality is in opposition to the married but short
relationship of his parents, an unstable and questionable foundation on which
to base his life and his future relationships as a picaresque character: "If
marriage is going to be the picaro's social contract, that contract winds up
being as unreliable a text as the picaro himself and the life that he . . .
writes" (González Echevarría 58).
Luis Zapata's novel presents a "narrative" that does not have
capitalization, punctuation, or chapters (each section is a tape from the
casette-recorded conversation between Adonis and the unidentified
interlocutor), a product of the onda generation in Mexican literature. The
main character Adonis is a marginal being because of his status as a gay
male prostitute (although vampirism is depicted figuratively in this narrative,
the novel refers to him as a "vampire") in a heterosexual society yet Zapata
respects him and allows him to "crecer y vivir por sí mismo, sin mediaciones
ni explicaciones" (Blanco 173), unlike Count Dracula who is continually
scrutinized by those who do not (and will not) understand him. Adonis is

47
free from constant analysis and allowed to live and describe his life as he
sees it. He uses a linguistic code that goes against established forms of
speech and narration; the note from the author at the very beginning of the
novel indicates that "la novela exige una credibilidad fonética que se opone a
las convenciones del lenguaje escrito" (Blanco 173, emphasis in original).
This demanding novel is a refreshing reality for a vampire whose literary
descendants had been subjected to "an aggregate of notions aimed at
securing the right to life for a small minority of the world's population" (Case
4), the heterosexuals.
This chapter suggests that Zapata refers to Michel Foucault's idea of
an alternative sexual discourse (homosexuality) that appears from inside a
prohibitive discursive framework (heterosexuality) excluding deviation and
intolerant of sexual difference in order to subvert it through language. The
lack of capitalization or punctuation in the novel as well as large spaces
between the words parallel how discursive laws, prohibitions, and
restrictions do not deter Adonis from literally advancing to a better living
condition while having fun telling the reader about it. For example, on tape
three Adonis uninhibitedly describes how he and eight friends are stopped by
the highway police and end up having sex with the policemen; "nomás te
digo que los cuates esos [los policías] se portaron a la altura mamaron
vergas prestaron nalgas y picaron como nunca en su vida habían picado"
(Zapata, Las aventuras . . . 87). On tape five, Adonis relates how he spends

48
time in jail and upon his release a guard strongly suggests he change his
lifestyle. Clearly defiant, Adonis responds in reference to the tape (cinta) and
not to the guard's observation about his life (vida): "Mejor cámbiarla [sic],
¿no?" (Zapata, Las aventuras . . . 159). Appearing from within the
(predominantly) heterosexual tradition of Mexican narrative, Zapata's novel
"makes use of what is considered [an] outrageous or scandalous [sexuality]
in order to provide a refracted image of the alienation of a hypocritical social
value system" (Foster, Rev, of . . . 91), thus using reality as the starting
point for a scathing attack against and penetration within the established
way of looking at things, primarily the established conventions of
heterosexuality.

CHAPTER 2
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE VAMPIRE IN LATIN AMERICAN NARRATIVE; EL
VAMPIRO BY FROYLÁN TURCIOS
Most contemporary vampire stories carry the indelible stamp of Bram
Stoker's 1 897 work Dracula. As he searches for the vampire Horacio, the
narrator of Horacio: la logia del vampiro, the 1 992 Mexican novel by Alfonso
López Rodríguez, laments that "no podía dejar de pensar en todas las novelas
de terror que había leído en mi primera juventud, sobre todo en Drácula, y de
pronto me la [sic] imaginé, saliendo por las noches de su tumba a la
búsqueda de sangre fresca para saciar su inagotable sed" (López Rodríguez
50). This example shows how rising up from the dead and searching for
blood, only two parts of the vampire myth, endure over time and across
language barriers.
Not all authors of contemporary vampire stories incorporate the same
aspects of the vampire myth, however. For example, Manuel Bedoya's
character General Bebevidas drinks blood as an antidote to an uncureable
disease, similar to the story of the "blood Countess" Elizabeth Bathory,
another "version" of the vampire myth: "sólo bebiendo sangre pura de
jóvenes inocentes, lograría aliviar el suplicio de su hedionda enfermedad"
(Bedoya, El general . . . 16). Alain Silver and James Ursini give an account
49

50
of the female vampire figure aluded to above: "For ten years, from 1 600 to
1610, Countess Bathory, with the help of her household servants,
slaughtered and 'milked' countless young virgins ..." believing that their
blood had cleansing abilities (Silver and Ursini 29). The vampire-like doll in
Rafael Maluenda's novel Vampiro de trapo is named Polidoro, a alteration of
the name Polidori, the British author of the first vampire story published
which "caused such a sensation in Europe that it inspired a sequel of poems,
stories, and plays for the next several decades" (Silver and Ursini 49), an
important text in the evolution of the vampire myth.
Before the appearance of the novel Dracula at the end of the
nineteenth century, many Latin American authors had already developed
stories using elements from many sources of vampire lore that do not
necessarily involve a physical vampire figure. Significant contributions from
Latin America comprise a crucial part of the tradition of world vampire
literature and do not always follow the image of the vampire in Bram
Stoker's novel Dracula (1897). The first vampire stories in Latin American
literature are important interpretations of the vampire myth, and their
appearance before Stoker's novel points to the timeless and polymorphic
nature of the myth.
The vampire tradition in Latin American literature starts in the early
nineteenth century with two poems, one of which is a translation of a

51
German work by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and the other an
interpretation of the same work. This early poetry initiates a long Latin
American tradition of the vampire and vampirism in short stories, novels,
poetry, and films which demonstrates how the vampire myth continues to
evolve and does not remain restricted to certain behaviors or descriptions nor
does it remain confined to the English language. In these early Latin
American texts, vampirism is represented as strong, eternal love, a non-
corporeal force that leads the protagonists to transgress limits of existence
and search for a union incapable of existing while alive. Even though he
attributes Heredia's and Echeverria's textual source to Goethe's ballad "The
Bride of Corinth" (Aldridge 145), A. Owen Aldridge does not mention that as
vampirism enters Latin American literature in the early nineteenth century, it
adapts to features of vampirism already developed by authors from different
countries and also adds new dimensions.
An important aspect of vampirism is the element of eternal,
transgressive, but dangerous love as Goethe, Heredia, and Echeverría develop
in their works. Christopher Craft refers to this type of vampirism as it "both
expresses and distorts an originally sexual energy" (107) between lovers
separated by death. The central element in Goethe's ballad "Bride of Corinth"
(1797) is hazardous love as the poem "establece un dramático conflicto
entre la repercusión social y los instintos sexuales" (Gordon, El gran libro . . .
186) of the lovers, determined to be together beyond the confines of death.

52
Because physical love is such a pervasive element in these early texts, there
is no need to develop (or borrow) vampirism in a physical form; in his
translation of Goethe's poem "Heredia nowhere mentions vampires or related
creatures, but his poem belongs to the mainstream of vampire literature"
(Aldridge 149) because he includes the same force provided by Goethe:
vampiristic love. In Goethe, Heredia, Echeverría as well as in later twentieth-
century Latin American narratives, vampirism is a controlling, consummating
force, an "interfusion of sexual desire and the fear that the moment of erotic
fulfillment may occasion the erasure of the conventional and integral self"
(Craft 107) as love brings together those whose boundaries are established
and supposed to be maintained but are crossed.
The first Latin American text to include this type of vampirism is José
María Heredia's "La novia de Corinto," a translation of Johann Wolfgang von
Goethe's 1797 poem "Die Braut von Korinth" (The Bride of Corinth).
Heredia's translation appeared in October of 1829 in a journal called
Miscelánea (Heredia 338), and attests to the early appearance of foreign
vampire literature in Latin America and how its interpretation involved slight
but not drastic modifications of other sources. For Heredia, the female lover
is not a blood-drinking vampire taking away her lover's life as Goethe had
developed her. Instead of losing his life, the male protagonist in Heredia's
poem shall regain it "as long as he shall be united with her" (Aldridge 148)
and their love can exist, for as the poem tells the reader, "Love still burns

53
though buried under clay" (Goethe 143). By using references to pale skin,
Heredia only insinuates a vampire figure; by contrast, "in Goethe's poem the
maiden clearly reveals that she is a vampire, depending on the blood of her
lover for sustenance" (Aldridge 148). The vampire figures in Esteban
Echeverria's poem "Elvira, o la novia del Plata" are also deviations from what
Goethe had established, not blood-suckers but demons and ghouls who
appear to feverish Lisardo, deeply empassioned by Elvira.
In Goethe's poem, a dead girl returns from her grave to be with the
young man who is temporarily staying at the house of the girl's parents.
While alive, "her fanatically religious mother refuses to let her marry the man
she loves, so she returns to him as a vampire —with death acting as a
catalytic release from the sublimation of the living" (Silver and Ursini 22-23).
The love she was denied by her religiously zealous mother while alive brings
her back from the dead. In Goethe's poem, the traveling man asks her
when they first meet why she is so pallid, but Heredia modifies what Goethe
had expressed. In Goethe's version, the young Athenian asks "Why are you
so pale? / Sweet, now let us hail / The joyous gods, their gifts with
appetite!" (Goethe 136-37), referring to her lack of color as typical of a
corpse. Heredia mentions emotions rather than her lack of skin color: " . . .
¿Por qué aterrada / Te demudas así¿ ?No eres la esposa / Que me destina el
Cielo? Ven, ¡oh amada! / No te alejes de mí: ven a mi seno ..." (Heredia
335). Despite the young man's strong desire to be her lover, the girl warns

54
him that she is not what he thinks she is: "... mas si tocaras / En desnudez
mis miembros, temblarías / Al ver lo que te cubre aqueste velo. / Blanda cual
nieve, y como nieve yerta / Es la infeliz que quieres por esposa" (Heredia
336). But he disobeys her, unable to abide by her command: "No! By this
flame I swear between us burning, / Fanned by Hymen, lost thou shalt not
be!" (Goethe 137).
She comes back from the dead seeking what she was deprived of
while alive, and in Goethe's poem she states that what she has done with
him she will do to others until she is satisfied, that is, removing blood from
her lover (and others) to survive: "And I have sucked the lifeblood from his
heart. / If he dies, I will / Find me others, still / With my fury tear young folk
apart" (Goethe 143). Heredia is not as graphic in his translation. In fact,
vampirism in this poem does not involve bloodsucking at all but rather
undying love: as the un-dead female tells her suitor, "Tú poco vivirás, esposo
mío. / De nuestro amor recíproco las prendas / Nos ligan ya con vínculos
eternos. / Tu infausta unión a la hija del sepulcro / A vejez prematura te
condena ..." (Heredia 338). In his translation, Heredia subtly repeats one
aspect of vampirism found in Goethe's version, pale and cold skin, but
directly emphasizes the emotional strength of love as an eternal, vampiristic
force that will kill her lover: "Y yo he salido yerta de la tumba / A reclamar mi
bien, amar mi amante, / Y sellar nuestra unión en otro mundo" (Heredia 338,
my emphasis).

55
The next Latin American text with a similar feature is Esteban
Echeverria's poem "Elvira, o la novia del Plata" which first appeared in
September of 1832. Vampires in this poem appear in Stanza 10, "one of the
most complete monster catalogues in world poetry" (Aldridge 149).
According to Echeverría in this poem, vampires are creatures "Que en la
tenebrosa noche / Dejan sus sepulcros yertos ..." (Echeverría, La cautiva . .
^ 162), not those who suck blood and live off others; Echeverría labels this
group as "Hienas, Sanguales y Lamias" (Echeverría, La cautiva . . . 162).
For Echeverría, then, vampires may not always suck blood, indicating a broad
knowledge of the vampire legend and, like Heredia, a deviation from what
Goethe had established. In this sense, "Echeverría, que poco leía a los
poetas americanos, demuestra conocer la obra del [poeta] cubano" (Caillet-
Bois 1 02), Heredia.
According to one source, this poem first appeard anonymously
(Echeverría, Páginas literarias . . . 174). It is dedicated to Don José María
Fonseca and carries an epigraph consisting of two short lines, one by the
Spanish poet/playwright Moratin and another by the British poet William
Wordsworth that combines love and death into the fatal pattern of the poem:
"This said that some have died for love." In the poem by Echeverría the
animated corpse of Elvira returns from the grave to reaffirm her love for
Lisardo, and in twelve stanzas, Echeverría confirms love as a powerful but

56
destroying force that unites Lisardo with the undead Elvira, the tragic love
story in Goethe's poem.
Esteban Echeverria's short piece "El matadero" (1871) is better
known than "Elvira, o la novia del Plata" and demonstrates his apparent
knowledge of traits of vampirism, in this case, the power of blood. The
short story "El matadero" depicts the harshness and brutality of the
dictatorship under Manuel Rosas whose regime inspired Echeverría to write
the vivid account. The bloodiness of the slaughterhouse and Echeverria's
description of the unitario's death are comparable to an example from Bram
Stoker's novel Dracula in which a man drives a stake through the heart of a
female vampire as she lies in her coffin: "He looked like a figure of Thor as
his untrembling arm rose and fell, driving deeper and deeper the mercy¬
bearing stake, whilst the blood from the pierced heart welled and spurted up
around it" (Stoker 222). Two scenes from "El matadero" display similar
description. Matasiete displays his prowess with a knife as he kills a steer: "
. . . con su enorme daga en mano, se la hundió al cabo hasta el puño en la
garganta, mostrándola enseguida humeante y roja a los espectadores. Brotó
un torrente de la herida, exhaló algunos bramidos roncos, vaciló y cayó el
soberbio animal entre los gritos de la chusma ..." (Echeverría, El matadero .
. . 1 07). When Matasiete and his federales bring the young unitario back to
the slaughterhouse, the young man's slow death is not unlike that of the
steer or of Lucy Westenra, Stoker's female vampire: "inmediatamente quedó

57
atado en cruz y empezaron la obra de desnudarlo. Entonces un torrente de
sangre brotó borbolloneando de la boca y las narices del joven, y
extendiéndose empezó a caer a chorros por entrambos lados de la mesa"
(Echeverría. El matadero . . . 113-14).
The presence of blood in many vampire stories indicates an inversion
of the Christian ritual of communion as well as a reaffirmation of the power
of vampirism. One critic sees a reflection of vampirism in the rite of the
Eucharist: "The central sacrament of Christianity is wine drunk as blood . . . ;
the most important icon of Christianity is a dead man who has eternal life"
(Dyer, "Dracula and Desire" 10). According to another critic, in history as
well as in the tradition of vampirism, "blood sacrifice appears to be almost
universal, often employed as a means to acquire strength or power, and the
sacrament of the Eucharist is based on the transfer of power throught the
sharing of blood" (Holte 246). Both associations point to the livelihood of
blood as a "saving" fluid for the good as well as the evil, the Christian as
well as the vampire. The brutality of Esteban Echeverria's writings offers
more than bloody scenery since its author "aprovecha la oportunidad para
denunciar la alianza de la Iglesia con el régimen de Rosas ..." (Franco 74),
a similar ideological stance that Froylán Turcios assumes in El vampiro by
combining the priest and the vampire into one character, Padre Félix, as a
representative of the evils of the Catholic church as perceived by the narrator
Rogerio de Mendoza.

58
Arturo Torres-Ríoseco points to a significant fact regarding
Echeverria's poetic works by saying that they are "little more than imitations
of Byron" (Torres-Ríoseco 66), but his texts are crucial critical contributions
to Latin American literature, nonetheless: "La doctrina estética de Echeverría
tenía, complicado con este afán de universalidad a la manera de Byron, un
sentido social de aplicación americana que nunca perdió de vista . . . "
(Caillet-Bois 104). It is important to note that George Gordon, otherwise
known as Lord Byron, produced "the first extended vampire story"
(Twitchell, Dreadful . . . 113) in English in 1819, when it appeared for the
first time. His poem "Giaour" (1813) mentions vampires as well: "But first
on earth, as Vampyre sent, / Thy corpse shall from its tomb be rent; / Then
ghastly haunt thy native place, / And suck the blood of all thy race"
(Twitchell. Dreadful . . . 311n6).
In Echeverria's 1832 poem, Elvira is not a vampire who sucks blood
similar to Byron's Vampyre or to Count Dracula. The spirits in Echeverria's
poem who feed on dead bodies are "Hienas, Sanguales y lamias . . . "
(Echeverría, La cautiva . . . 162), the last group of which are female
vampires "made famous by Keat's use of the subject in his dramatic [poem]
'Lamia' in the early 1800's" (Silver and Ursini 32). Echeverría interprets the
timeless vampire myth by using what had already existed in literature about
vampires: in his dedication of the poem, he states that the material used in
his work is not new, especially in the literary traditions outside of Spain: "las

59
novedades introducidas en mi poema ... no se hallará modelo ninguno en la
poesía castellana, siendo su origen la poesía del siglo, la poesía romántica
inglesa, francesa y alemana ..." (Echeverría, Páginas literarias . . . 175).
Echeverría's poem presents love as a seductive, vampiristic force that
Goethe had developed in his poetry. Unlike the lovers in Goethe and in
Heredia, however, Elvira and Lisardo exchange passionate kisses and
embraces while alive, drawn closer together with each encounter. In Stanza
Vil, "Hechizadas sus bocas se encontraron ..." (Echeverría, La cautiva . . .
1 56) and their infatuation becomes enthralling and sparked by a balanced
attraction: "Sus ardientes suspiros se mezclaban, / Y sus trémulos labios se
abrasaban / En mutuo fuego ..." (Echeverría, La cautiva . . . 157). After
her fearful vision, Lisardo tells Elvira to be his forever, their souls united by
rapturous love: "Nuestras almas, Elvira, abandonemos / Al júbilo, al placer, y
a la alegría, / A los transportes del amor supremos: / Tuyo por siempre soy, y
tú eres mía" (Echeverría, La cautiva . . . 161). They share the same fateful
vision that ultimately separates them and which contains the truthful
statement (repeated in Stanzas VII and X) about the meaning of this poem,
"Este emblema del infierno: / 'El amor y la esperanza / No son sino un vano
sueño'" (Echeverría, La cautiva . . . 163) of the living, but possible with
death.

60
A brief review of the poem shows that Echeverría uses motifs that
appear in later vampire stories as well, including Stoker's Dracula. In stanzas
I through VII, the passion between Elvira and Lisardo grows. In stanza VII
they pledge eternal love as Elvira tells Lisardo "Tuya seré triunfando de la
muerte" (Echeverría, La cautiva . . . 159), but he is concerned about her
apparent uneasiness over something which to Elvira is undefinable: "Yo no sé
qué fantasma nos rodea / De infortunio y pesar, y nuestras glorias / Amaga
devorar en un momento" (Echeverría, La cautiva . . . 159). In stanza VIII,
Elvira recalls her vivid dream/vision in which a skeleton keeps two lovers
apart by their hearts, causing them to fade away into nothing: "Tocólos
luego: /Los corazones / Se marchitaron / Como la flor" (Echeverría, La cautiva
160).
Stanza 10 is where Echeverría introduces the vampire figures. As
Lisardo goes to sleep on a dark and stormy night, and as the clock strikes "la
hora / Fatal de los espíritus malignos" (Echeverría, La cautiva . . . 162), he
has a detailed vision/dream in which the participants are devils, ghosts,
"Vampiros, gnomos y larvas" (Echeverría, La cautiva . . . 162). This is the
first use of the word "vampire" within Latin American literature.
In the next stanza, Lisardo wakes with a fever that causes him to see
Elvira at his door. She tells him she is dead, but that she still loves him:
"Una ley fatal temprano / Ha congelado en mi cuerpo / La sangre que por ti

61
ardía, / Pero no ha helado mi afecto ..." (Echeverría, La cautiva . . . 167).
The lovers in Goethe's poem are similar, his life force uniting with her cold,
lifeless corpse: "All his passion's flood / Warms her gelid blood ..." (Goethe
139). Elvira is no longer human, and as she speaks to Lisardo, she tells him
that her love for him will not die, echoing again the eternal love that has
drawn her to his door: "Y cual sombra de la noche / A verte, Lisardo, vengo:
/ Mi alma a la tuya está unida, / A pesar del hado adverso ..." (Echeverría,
I a cautiva . . . 167). The last stanza in the poem confirms Elvira's death
with her funeral procession during which Lisardo throws himself onto her
coffin and, "Exánime cayó en el duro suelo / Con pasmo de la triste comitiva"
(Echeverría, La cautiva . . . 1 69), victimized by Elvira's love for him from
beyond the grave.
Echeverria's character returns as the living dead, the principal feature
of most vampire protagonists in literature and film. In addition to the
vampires mentioned in Lisardo's nightmare, Echeverría provides a living
corpse similar to Goethe's bride, returning after death to be with her lover.
He also uses images that remain in vampire fiction and film for the next
century and a half. Lisardo's dream/vision involves creatures in Hell "Que en
la tenebrosa noche / Dejan sus sepulcros yertos ..." (Echeverría, La cautiva
. . . 162) and come to torment him; a vampire is a reanimated corpse that
has returned from the grave. Lisardo notes how pale Elvira is when he sees
her outside his door: "¿Por qué tan lánguida te hallas . . . ?" (Echeverría, La

62
cautiva . . . 1 66) and tells her that she is cold to the touch: "-Frío está, mi
dulce amiga,/ Como la nieve tu cuerpo ..." (Echeverría, La cautiva . . .
167). What for Elvira was a dream image is described as an actual entity
coming to her at night: "... veo y siento / La imagen de fantasma
tenebrosa, / Que anoche vino a mi tranquilo lecho / A conturbar y acongojar
mi pecho" (Echeverría, La cautiva . . . 159). Lisardo sees the bloodless
Elvira after his delirious state, and his reaction simultaneously reflects fear
and happiness: "Y vio al pálido reflejo / ¡Oh terror!, ¡oh encanto! a Elvira /
Acercarse a pasos lentos / De alba túnica vestida ..." (Echeverría, Le
cautiva . . . 166). In Froylán Turcios' novel El vampiro. Rogerio receives a
bite from a vampire, suffers a similar fever, and awakes to discover that his
fiancée Luz is dead.
In 1893, four years before the appearance of Bram Stoker's novel
Dracula. the Nicaraguan writer Rubén Darío produced a short story titled
"Thanathopia" in which the narrator James Leen discovers that his
stepmother is a figure similar to a vampire. The events of the story are being
recorded by a narrator who is present as James tells his story in a Buenos
Aires bar. From the beginning of this story, James fears death and all things
associated with it; the title of the story is Spanish for "thanatophobia" which
the Oxford English Dictionary defines as a "morbid fear of death" (862).
James comes face to face with his biggest fear when he meets his
stepmother, a reanimated dead person, living death. James' fear of death

63
expresses the uncertain fears about the approaching turn of the century that
"no dimanan de la imaginación . . . sino que están relacionadas con las
nuevas vivencias del conflictivo hombre de la época" (Gálvez 149).
A constant part of James' life have been images of death, "un
conjunto de imágenes que completan la atmósfera fúnebre que debe rodear al
personaje —a causa de la obsesión por la muerte que ha declarado abrumarle .
. . " (Risco 262). For example, James recalls how away at school he would
look out the window of his room and see, "bañados de una pálida y
maleficiosa luz lunar, los álamos, los cipreses ..." (Darío 33). He does not
want to meet his new stepmother but when he finally does, her eyes are
blank and from her emanates the smell of death. James cannot endure his
encounter with his stepmother: "¡Madre, socorro! ¡Ángeles de Dios, socorro!
¡Potestades celestes, todas, socorro! Quiero partir de aquí pronto, pronto . . .
" (Darío 36).
Darío utilizes the same technique as Heredia and to a certain extent
Echeverría by describing physical features in detail, in this case, the pale
aspect and cold touch of the woman. When James first meets his father's
"new" bride, he reacts to her touch: "El contacto de aquella mano [de su
madrastra] me heló, me horrorizó. Sentí hielo en mis huesos. Aquella mano
rígida, fría, fría ..." (Darío 36). As she prepares to kiss him, James notes
how her strange voice "brotó de aquellos labios blancos, de aquella mujer

64
pálida, pálida, pálida ..." (Darío 36). In both instances, as James describes
the woman, he repeats two adjectives that Heredia had used to describe the
dead female: pale and cold.
In this story, Dario develops sounds, smells, feelings, and sights which
are elements of "el típico sensualismo impresionista-modernista [que] se pone
aquí en juego para ofrecer una figura repugnante y horrible ..." (Risco
265), in contrast with James' tender recollections of his mother: "de niño
[mi madre] me amó tanto, me mimó tanto, abandonada casi por mi padre,
que se pasaba noches y días en su horrible laboratorio, mientras aquella
pobre y delicada flor se consumía ..." (Darío 34). The contrast suggests
the continuation of James' deceased mother's love for him, the emotion that
his father slowly usurped as he spent all his time in his laboratory.
As in the previous examples by Heredia and Echeverría, Darío develops
vampirism as a force of love, this time removed from his mother by James'
father whose replacement for his former wife is a lifeless, loveless creature.
The protagonist's stepmother is not described as a creature yearning for
blood nor is the word "vampire" mentioned anywhere in this story until the
last sentence when James utters how he will tell "que el doctor Leen es un
cruel asesino; que su mujer es un vampiro; ¡que está casado mi padre con
una muerta!" (Darío 37). James refers to her as a vampire, but one critic
questions her sudden appearance as such in the world of James and his

65
father, a prominent scientist: "¿cómo ha entrado tal ente en el mundo
cotidiano del personaje-narrador, tan parecido al nuestro?
¿Espontáneamente? ¿O por medio de las manipulaciones científicas del
doctor John Leen?" (Risco 265). In Dario's narrative, the usurper is the
father and his "manipulaciones científicas" (time in his laboratory, away from
his wife) actually produce the vampire figure, James' step-mother. Like a
"delicate flower," his biological mother faded to nothing because of the lack
of love from her husband, and James is deprived of maternal love, something
he will not take from his stepmother. His fierce reactions to her ("¡Madre,
socorro! ¡Ángeles de Dios, socorro!") are fuelled by his lack of love from his
real mother as well as his professed fear of death. In this narrative, the
presence of such a being can be questioned by rules of science that, during
the beginning of the twentieth century, had become more able to contrast
unexplanable occurrences. Dario demonstrates in this short story the advance
of modernism which becomes a viable argument against "old" myths such as
that of the vampire.
Other Latin American Modernist writers such as Amado Ñervo and
Froylán Turcios attempt to forge a new poetic language representative of
their time by opposing the discourse of the vampire and science-based
arguments. The Latin American modernist movement is syncretic, and "en
su afán por ensanchar la expresividad del español literario [los autores
modernistas] asimilan elementos descomunales que enriquecieron la lengua .

66
. . " (Schulman 90), such as Turcios' vampire —who is also the parish priest
of La Antigua.
The Uruguayan poet Delmira Agustini develops vampirism as a central
motif in her poetry in order to "elaborar un eros poético que funciona como
foro de resistencia contra la represión que experimenta en una sociedad
patriarcal" (Norat 153). Her mother was a powerfully dominant and stifling
force in her life, and Agustini seeks revenge against her mother by writing
poems with vampiristic images such as love "situándose en semejante
posición de dominio y control" (Norat 1 56) that her mother had. Her poetry
is highly critical of the society in which she lived, and the language in her
poems demonstrates how the poet/writer/intellectual in Latin America
incorporates vampirism in many forms into literature of the twentieth century
as a way to criticize reality.
In the poem "El vampiro" from the 1910 collection Cantos de la
mañana she bites her lover and pulls out blood, leaving her lover's heart hurt
and broken. In the relationship, she becomes an active participant instead of
a passive one, the vampire consuming the victim in the act of love and
passion; the use of the active verbs here is crucial: "Yo invoqué tu dolor . . .
," "Tu herida mordí en ella . . . ," "Y exprimí más, traidora, dulcemente . . .
" "Tendí a esa fuente abierta en tu quebranto ..." (Agustini 160, my

67
emphasis). The active stance of the poet/vampire in this poem liberates
because both have the power to temporarily control destiny using love.
Vampirism stands out in Agustini's poetry and in comparison with the
other examples presented thus far; she develops vampirism not only as a
bold representation of her pain and suffering she was exposed to during the
"represión experimentada dentro del ambiente literario, social y familiar que le
tocó vivir ..." (Norat 163) but also as a way to seek revenge on those
who hurt her, namely her mother.
Amado Nervo's short piece "La novia de Corinto" (1920) is another
rendition of Goethe's tale in the Spanish language. Ñervo admits the
extensive tradition of this story, as did Echeverría: "[la historia del vampiro]
es muy vieja y ha corrido de boca en boca entre gentes de las cuales ya no
queda ni el polvo ..." (Obras completas . . . 22).
Like in Heredia and in Echeverría, the woman's description parallels
that of a corpse: "... parecía distraída, absorta y de una frialdad repentina.
En sus facciones, aun con el amor, alternaban serenidades marmóreas"
(Obras completas . . . 18). However, unlike the two poets before him,
Ñervo addresses the theme of vampires in his work, even if negatively:
"Vampirismo . . . ¡no! Suprimamos esta palabra fúnebremente agresiva, e
inciémonos ante el arcano, ante lo incomprensible ..." (Obras completas . .
22). Instead of attempting to promote vampirism in Latin American

68
literature, Ñervo seems to reject the theme and opt to support the
unrationality of the topic instead.
Another Mexican writer, Manuel Horta, wrote El tango de Gabv (1 921)
in which appears the short fiction called "El coleccionista de marfiles," the
first Latin American short story that most closely follows Bram Stoker's
model used in his novel Dracula (Horta 51). The narrator recalls the bell¬
ringer of Tula's last story about "un millionario maniático que hace muchos
años llegó a Tula buscando marfiles ..." (Horta 51). In Stoker's vampire
tale, Count Dracula is a Transylvanian aristocrat who goes to London to buy
real estate and to find humans who fade to the pale color of marble as he
drains their blood. In Horta's story, even though the only two individuals
who have access to the story are the narrator and the deceased bell-ringer,
the division into seven parts of "El coleccionista" creates the feeling of a
collection of different voices, similar to the narrative device used by Stoker
to narrate about the vampire Count Dracula. In Stoker's novel, Jonathan
Harker's diary entries first recall the encounter with the vampire, then other
characters contribute their versions until there are multiple points of view
telling about the events.
The ivory collector falls in love with Constanza "que se consumía
lentamente, víctima de una enfermedad pulmonar" (Horta 51). His
predilection for ivory causes him to want Constanza as part of his collection

69
because of her pale beauty: "¡Qué armonía de marfiles en su rostro, en sus
manos y en sus flores!" (Horta 52). He sees her as an object of art, not a
human, so her destruction carries no emotion, similar to how a vampire
searches for victims without emotional attachment. As he bends toward her
to bite her on the neck, she dies. Instead, "le dio [a ella] un largo beso en la
boca sanguinolenta" (Horta 52) and the disease passes to him. He leaves
Tula, infected by Constanza, and "los campesinos fanáticos le vieron
perderse en la lejanía polvosa, con la escurrida capa al viento ..." (Horta
52).
Comparable to how Ruben Darío uses strong sensory perception to
contrast life and death, Manuel Horta uses colors to suggest this same
opposition. The ivory collector purchases one of the oldest houses in Tula
and then purchases "para su huerto las rosas más pálidas ..." (Horta 51)
that grow in the collector's garden. The pale white color of ivory is similar to
the appearance of the collector whose "rostro de un amarillo muy pálido se
avivaba con el carmín anémico de los labios y el violeta de las orejas
hundidas ..." (Horta 51), two colors suggesting that perhaps the collector
is associated with a liquid the color of blood. His "escurrida capa color de
rata" (Horta 52) suggests a similarity with the image of Count Dracula in his
tuxedo and cape and reminds the reader of the cape worn by Padre Félix in El
vampiro by Froylán Turcios.

70
The collector devises a scheme to make Constanza a part of his
assortment of ivory and his behavior is described with colors as well. In part
five, his conduct "tomó tintes amargos" (Horta 52); he wrote love poetry for
Constanza and sent it to her on "papel color de gardenia" (Horta 52); he
envisions her "con el cuerpo transparente y blanco amortajado en sedas
antiguas y esmeraldas muy pálidas ..." (Horta 52). The use of descriptive
pale colors stands in sharp contrast to vivid or strong colors often associated
with powerful emotions such as passion and death, and thus this vampire
story succeeds by suggestion rather than direct action as in the poetry of
Delmira Agustini. Vampirism in this story works in the opposite direction as
Constanza passes the disease to the collector. This act likewise presents
another female vampire figure in Latin American literature.
With the exception of Nervo's ivory collector, each of the examples
discussed above has a female vampire figure. This changes with Bram
Stoker as Count Dracula establishes vampirism as a male attribute.
However, British Romantics such as Keats, Coleridge, and Lord Byron
developed femmes fatales in their Romantic poetry, a strong point of contact
for most Latin American modernist writers. Carlos Fuentes develops a
female figure worthy of the title femme fatale in his novella Aura (Glantz, "La
metamorfosis ..." 2). In contemporary Latin American vampire stories
female vampire figures are scarce; in each of the novels discussed in this

71
dissertation the victim is male, a unique twist to the vampire story in world
literature.
As this brief survey indicates, vampirism in early Latin American
literature is distinct from earlier versions such as Goethe's in several
respects. His bride sucked the blood of her lover, but both Heredia and
Echeverría do not characterize the female lover as such in their poetry. A
repeated motif is sexual love as a determining, vampiristic force that affects
those involved. The vampire in Latin American literature develops along the
same lines as in other traditions with noticeable differences.1
Latin American works about vampires differ from their North American
or British counterparts in how they develop vampirism and the vampire
figure. Differences in appearance or actions in Latin American vampire
literature are more varied than in English and North American vampire stories.
In spite of the language the vampire myth remains the same with slight
modifications. The parallels between Spanish-language vampires in literature
and film and English-language versions show that the same story can be told
repeatedly and provide different approaches to basically the same
phenomena. Latin American novels with vampires as characters, regardless
The trajectory of the vampire in Latin American culture is more dominant in film than in
literature. Alain Silver and James Ursini, in The Vampire Film: From Nosferatu IQ Bram
Stoker's Dracula (1992) focus on many films produced in Latin America and Spain. It is the
first thorough treatment of the subject.

72
of the form of the vampire, have similarities and difference in comparison
with the vampire myth discussed above.
The first Latin American narrative work of the twentieth century that
has a vampire protagonist is the novel El vampiro by the Honduran Froylán
Turcios, a Latin American modernista writer whose literary career spans
nearly a quarter century with novels, poems, essays, and documents to his
name. In most discussions about Latin American Modernism, Turcios is not
mentioned, even though "fue uno de los escritores americanos más
conocidos de su tiempo, y de los más connotados de Hispanoamérica" (Arita
Palomo 27). In addition to many writings about Honduran political and social
affairs (his varied writing styles ranging from poetry to essay to novel),
Froylán Turcios produced the first vampire novel in Latin America at a time
when the supernatural was being challenged by advances in science and
technology. El vampiro presents the possibility of another reality; one critic
observes that the work "reflects a widespread tendency toward escapist
writing in Central American countries ..." (Prieto 507) when in reality the
novel directly addresses important social issues.
Froylán Turcios was born on July 7, 1877 in Juticalpa, Honduras, and
died in 1943, in Costa Rica (Turcios, Tierra . . . 9). His father, also named
Froylán Turcios, was a successful business man, and his mother Trinidad
Canelas "pertenecía a una de las familias más ricas y respetadas" in

73
Honduras (Vicenzi 3). Froylán Turcios grew up in a wealthy family which
permitted him to have access to many luxuries including foreign texts not
readily available to most Hondurans of the time. As Marcos Carias has
pointed out, though, the situation of the writer in Honduras is historically
weak, and a solid and uniform literary heritage does not exist: "el trabajo
sigue siendo solitario, no hay identificación gremial y muy poca identificación
generacional" (174). It is precisely Turcios' literary knowledge outside of
Honduras that allows him to write a vampire story, the first of its kind in
Honduras and in Latin America. Turcios was not deeply influenced by the
Quijote or Gil Bias but instead by authors such as Byron, Goethe, Poe,
Shelley, Keats, Baudelaire, and Wilde (Vicenzi 5), authors who had produced
significant texts with vampirism as a central motif. It should be remembered
that the modernista writer not only presents a personal knowledge of the
world "sino también de lo que ha sido sugerido por sus lecturas, campo en el
cual ... su imaginación puede establecer lazos tanto posibles como
probables" (Silva Castro, "¿Es posible..?" 175).
At the age of 1 8, Froylán goes to Costa Rica and his political career
begins. During several years his fame as a politician increases as do the
number of responsibilities: "desempeñó los cargos de Ministro de
Gobernación, Diputado al Congreso Nacional, Encargado de Negocios de
Honduras en Francia, Delegado a la Liga de las Naciones y a la Conferencia
Panamericana de Rio de Janeiro . .
(Arita Palomo 27). He was the

74
director of three Honduran "diarios": El tiempo lasted three years; El heraldo,
one; El nuevo tiempo, almost nine. Between 1901 and 1904, he directs
Revista nueva, a "publicación quincenal de selectos textos de arte" (Vicenzi
6), and "la primera publicación modernista que apareció en Honduras y quizás
en Centro América" (Arita Palomo 33). His magazine/anthology Esfinge
produced sixty issues.
Most of his published works contain prose and verse in the same
publication/book. The two works that are only prose are El vampiro (1910),
discussed in this chapter, and El fantasma blanco (1911). Between the
publication of many other collections of prose and poetry, Froylán Turcios
helped direct several magazines.2 Similar to many other modernista writers in
Latin America, Froylán Turcios wrote about a wide range of topics, dividing
equal effort among fiction as well as politics. In 1924, he publishes the
Boletín de la defensa nacional which "Apareció como protesta por el
desembarco de marinos norteamericanos en Amapala y Puerto Cortés"
(Heliodoro Valle 569), an example of the social and political commitment of
Latin American writers as they attempts to "solicitar la colaboración de todos
los hondureños que estaban en Tegucigalpa y que podían usar la pluma para
la defensa de los intereses nacionales" (Caceres Lara 68). His other literary
2 The most thorough examination of Turcios' journalistic career is provided by Rafael
Heliodoro Valle, "El periodismo en Honduras. Notas para su historia," Revista de historia de
América 48 (diciembre 1959): 517-600, who indicates that Turcios was active in the
publication of many journals for almost forty years.

75
works and their dates of publication are: Mariposas (1895), Renglones
(1909), Hojas de otoño (1905), Tierra maternal (Plancho) (1911), Prosas
nuevas (1914), and Floresta sonora (1915). In 1 980, Memorias is published,
a chronological collection of essays encompassing his travels.
Like other Latin American modernista writers such as Rubén Darío,
Amado Ñervo, and the poet Alfonsina Storni, Turcios did not dedicate his
literary career to vampires or horror literature, a quite active genre at the turn
of the century which appeared mainly in the serial magazine, Turcios' major
contribution to Latin American literature. It should be made clear, however,
that Turcios did not write for "pulp magazines," cheap publications which
provided ample space for horror stories in the Anglo-American tradition
(Kendrick 196).
El vampiro was written in January of 1910 and published in October
of the same year (Turcios, Memorias 207). The novel is the first Latin
American novel with a vampire character. Due to his extensive acquaintance
with foreign texts (including the German and British Romantics) Turcios
develops his interpretation of the vampire along lines similar to those that
had been used repeatedly in other literary traditions. As has been indicated
about his political writings, Turcios demonstrates in this novel the ability of
producers of Latin American literature to confront issues in writing as a way
to directly comment on problems. His vampire fits into modernista3 literary
3 See p. 30, note 3, for an explanation of Latin American modernismo.

76
aesthetics as an appropriate image of the transition into the modern era, an
unstable time period paving the way for growth, perfect for "un
enriquicimiento de lo propio con el aliento ¡novador del extranjero" (Olivares
73). Unlike the traditional parish priest who is the enemy of the vampire,
Turcios' vampire is a priest.
The novel is divided into 64 short and uneven chapters and "The heart
of the novel is the passionate relationship of a teen-age couple whose
romance ends up in tragedy" (Prieto 511): the fact that Rogerio and Luz are
cousins. As James Twitchell has pointed out, sexual relations form an
integral part of vampire stories and these relationships become horrifying
when they deviate. According to Twitchell, the vampire story, along with
that of the Frankenstein monster, the werewolf, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,
strive for "biological efficiency, repression in the service of protecting
established reproductive systems" (Twitchell, Dreadful . . . 139, my
emphasis), and not "the psychological and social undesirability of these
particular participants" (Twitchell, Dreadful . . . 137) as they engage in
taboo sex, or in this case, incest.
Using detailed descriptions, Rogerio de Mendoza narrates the events
during seven years of his life as he matures from an adolescent to an adult.
The title character is Padre Félix Aguilar, who is absent during most of the
story, a similar feature of Bram Stoker's vampire whose "literal presence in

77
the narrative is restricted to a relatively few paramount scenes and episodes.
. . " (Klenman Babener 140). During these seven years, Rogerio falls in love
with his cousin Luz who eventually dies, the victim of the vampire-priest.
Tragic love and religion are the two aspects of this novel that are least
developed by Rogerio in his narrative yet they form the nucleus of his
existence. Turcios skillfully weaves these two themes into his work as
repetitive motifs of vampirism. In an ending unique to the traditional vampire
story, instead of religion defeating the vampire (the force of evil), both are
defeated and Rogerio walks away alone.
Aníbal González points to an important feature of Latin American
modernist prose that Froylán Turcios employs in El vampiro. Modern
literature does not focus only on original models or texts but rather "el
retorno constante y la revisión crítica de un repertorio de tópicos y problemas
planteados primeramente por las obras que inauguran la tradición . . . "
(González, La novela . . . 23), in this case, the vampire myth. Another
critic echoes the tendency of Latin American modernists to borrow from
different traditions: "la poética del modernismo hispanoamericano podría
definirse por su capacidad incorporativa" (Chiampi Cortez 336-37) to include
other motifs. For example, in the novel Rogerio tells how the German tutor
teaches Rogerio and Luz "canciones de Goethe, de Uhland y de Heine, . . .
abriendo ante nuestras deslumbradas fantasías extraños mundos de
misterioso amor" (Turcios, El vampiro 12), the love that is their downfall.

78
Sergio Ramírez sees this tendency as a negative, almost restrictive feature of
Central American writers of the early twentieth century, a time when "no se
hacía más que reflejar o calcar las modas literarias europeas, con la
desventaja de que tales influencias se producían o todas a la vez ... o de
manera anacrónica" (Ramírez 31). With Turcios, however, these influences
serve as a starting point for him to develop the first vampire story in Central
and Latin American literature.
Aspects of Rogerio's family in the novel reveal insights to his unstable
relationship with Luz. Rogerio does not have a traditional family: his mother
is widowed and has not remarried; he is an only child whose closest
companion is his cousin Luz and many family acquaintances. She lives with
Rogerio and his mother because both of her parents have died; Rogerio notes
his mother's feelings toward Luz, almost a daughter to her: "desde entonces
mi madre la quiso más, con cierto apasionamiento, extraño en su carácter
apacible" (Turcios, El vampiro 10). Luz first kisses Rogerio at his fourteenth
birthday party and from then on they become inseparable. Their mutual
affection grows into love and Rogerio tells Luz that they will marry one day.
Almost like a premonition, Rogerio tells Luz that his love for her will last
forever: "Aunque [yo] pasara siglos mirándote, siempre hallaría en ti un
nuevo encanto" (Turcios, El vampiro 42). Rogerio tells Luz that, together,
their love will survive an eternity: "Perpetuaremos nuestros espíritus en otros
espíritus; y así nuestras individualidades se desdoblarán indefinidamente en el

79
porvenir" (Turcios, El vampiro 86), echoing the aspect of eternal love found
in early nineteenth century vampire stories such as that portrayed in "Elvira,
o la novia del Plata," discussed above. Rogerio's existence depends on Luz,
and without her "habrían permanecido . . . inmutablemente inmóviles mis
fuentes interiores de emoción y de sueño" (Turcios, El vampiro 98). Rogerio
has a dream/vision, similar to Lisardo's in Echeverría's poem: Rogerio sees
"una virgen angélica, envuelta en una blancura espectral, con el cuello
rodeado por un collar de gotas de sangre" (Turcios, El vampiro 142). When
he awakes, Luz is dead, her neck stained with drops of blood —she had been
the victim of a vampire.
Religion is an important aspect of Rogerio's family, but for unknown
reasons, he dislikes religion. As one critic of the vampire in literature has
pointed out, religious faith was an inescapable force in people's lives as "the
heavy sway of Church authority over the popular mind tended to give
imperial sanction to . . . beliefs" (Klenman Babener 13) such as the
possibility of vampires. Rogerio's mother, doña Francisca Marroquin, was
well known and respected by the clergy, who were often present at his
home. But their company caused Rogerio to feel ill at ease, apparently for no
specific reason: "no me atrevía a mirarles la cara, dominado por un malestar
sin nombre" (Turcios, El vampiro 9), a feeling that never gets defined in the
story.

80
Rogerio establishes his uneasiness toward religion at the beginning of
the novel. When Padre Félix comes to his house, accompanied by doña
Francisca, Rogerio observes the priest's face as he glares at Luz: "Sus ojos
pequeños, amarillentos y hundidos en las cuencas, como dos foscas
alimañas, en sus agujeros, devoraban el semblante de Luz con un ardor
maléfico y bestial" (Turcios, El vampiro 13). Rogerio's portrayal of the priest
as beast-like is a crucial part of vampire lore. As an essential aspect of the
myth, "the entire Christian ethos, with its dramatic personification of the
forces of evil in the person of a Devil and its often maudlin emphasis upon
the bestiality innate ..." (Klenman Babener 10) in the human nature, can
be seen in the character representations of Padre Félix. In San José later on,
when Rogerio see him again, his description does not change much; in fact,
Rogerio sees Padre Félix as a "clérigo carnívoro" (Turcios, El vampiro 33)
whose appearance resembles that of a destructive creature.
Rogerio's animosity toward the priest represents on a small scale his
undefined dislike of religion, a curiously important force in the development
of the vampire myth. When asked his opinion on the reason why
Catholicism has been misinterpreted, Rogerio believes very strongly that the
Catholic church stands in conflict with Jesus Christ who "fijó los primeros
cimientos del Liberalismo" (Turcios, El vampiro 67) and that the organized
church "ha buscado un rumbo opuesto al que marcó el filósofo divino"
(Turcios, El vampiro 67), whose beliefs were predominantly liberal and those

81
of the Church, predominantly conservative. This conflict within the church
(in this case, hostility on Rogerio's part toward Padre Félix) can be explained
by the fact that the vampire has become "such a part of the whole Christian
ethos" (Twitchell, Dreadful . . . 109).
The vampire in this novel is Padre Félix, and Rogerio's description of
him reflects Turcios' knowledge of other vampire literature because he
incorporates the use of the religious icons used to keep the vampire away,
the result of an antagonistic relationship between the vampire and the
Catholic church over the centuries, the results of which are the "symbols
used in destroying the vampire: holy water, the sign of the cross, church
icons of all sorts ..." (Twitchell, Dreadful . . . 108). Padre Félix visits Luz
when she is ill, but she begs Rogerio to keep the priest away: by using the
crucifix. The priest stands at the door similar to a winged creature: "El
viento inflaba su capa negra, que hacia los costados se extendía como dos
alas siniestras" (Turcios, El vampiro 16). Luz tells Rogerio that at
communion she had to keep Padre Félix away from her with a crucifix again,
and it worked: "tomé un crucufijo del altar y con él le contuve" (Turcios, Ei
vampiro 18). Before the priest leaves La Antigua for Alta Verapaz, Rogerio
condemns him and forbids the man never to return to his house again. Upon
hearing this, Padre Félix "escapó como un fantasma por la puerta abierta"
(Turcios, El vampiro 19) and things return to normal. Description of the
priest comes closest to that of Count Dracula when Rogerio sees him in San

82
José: "Amarillo y negro a un tiempo, flaco hasta lo inverosímil, con los
pómulos agudos rompiendo la piel árida, y las manos como garras, parecióme
una enorme alimaña venenosa cubierta con un trapo de luto. Su larga nariz,
desprendiéndose como una línea maléfica de la angosta frente llena de
arrugas, hacía evocar el pico de las aves rapaces ..." (Turcios, El vampiro
33).
When Rogerio goes into his grandfather's closed room, he is attacked
by a bat in a very similar fashion to cinematic versions of the vampire attack.
Having been in the room for a while, he hears a noise and a bat comes flying
at him from out of a hole. The clock strikes midnight and the bat attacks
Rogerio on the neck: "sentí en el acto como una violenta puñalada en el
cuello" (Turcios, El vampiro 140). He leaves the room bleeding, and when he
returns to his bed, he falls into a fever and goes in and out of consciousness.
Two aspects of the vampire myth are religion and incest, discussed
above. Of the two that James Twitchell discusses in Dreadful Pleasures: An
Anatomy of Modern Horror, impure sexuality is the negative but powerful
force behind the demise of both Rogerio and Luz in Turcios' novel, the "story
of incest . . . and of the establishment of social and sexual taboos" (127). It
is not the sex act itself (Rogerio and Luz kiss, but they are never sexually
active in the novel) but rather Rogerio's dislike toward Padre Félix and the
precarious position of Luz within Rogerio's immediate biological family that

83
combine to create within Turcios' novel a similar feature found by Twitchell
in Dracula: a strong message about "the perverse effect of violation"
(Twitchell, Dreadful . . . 136) of sexual relationships that fatally affect both
Rogerio and Luz. The crucial point of El vampiro is not "el realismo científico
y sugestivo, sino ... el audaz esfuerzo de remover los círculos viciosos de
las ideas y los sentimientos y ponerlos en nueva tensión armoniosa" (Vicenzi
29). The aspect of forbidden love had already been explored by Heredia and
by Echeverría as Elvira and Lisardo are fated not to be together while alive, a
reminder of Goethe's Bride whose mother forbade her to see the young
traveler before she died but who was unable to prevent the passion to
continue after her daughter's death.
The novels examined in this dissertation display a
transgressive/vindictive passion or love, similar to the man who is visited by
his deceased lover in Heredia and Echeverría, and Rogerio and Luz, who
disobey the restrictions placed on them by the vampire-priest, Padre Félix. In
Manuel Bedoya's El general Bebevidas- Monstruo de América (1939), Luis
González has an affair with Julia de Solonio, the wife of one of General
Bebevidas' important advisers, ignoring the possible consequences of their
relationship. Despite their social/class differences, and despite the ever¬
present danger of being discovered by the dictator, their association provides
a small-scale paradigm for examining the corrupt aspects of the regime of the
blood-drinking despot. One character in Bedoya's novel describes the

84
vampirism of love between such people as Julia and Luis: like a vampire
seeking a body to replenish itself with blood, "el amor ha ido a buscar
nuevos recipientes, nuevas ánforas, nuevas canastas que humedecer, que
perfumar y que empalidecer con la nostalgia maravillosa de su eterna
inconstancia" (Bedoya, El general . . . 190). In Vampiro de trapo (1958),
by Rafael Maluenda, the ventriloquist Máximo Luján's doll Polidoro slowly
drains his personality from him, and in the process, the actor suffers an
identity crisis. His struggling relationship with a dancer suffers as well.
While doing a show in Rio de Janeiro, "[la danzarina] Carmen Barton se
mostró seducida por el trabajo tan lleno de perfección y gracia del
ventrílocuo" (Maluenda, Vampiro . . . 15), but it is challenging to know
whom she is seduced by on the stage, the actor or his doll. In an attempt to
save their relationship, Carmen places knives in the doll's body, thinking she
is exercising a demon, but Luján dies of heart failure as he cuts himself on
the knives.
In Manuel Mujica Lainez's Crónicas reales (1969), the kingdom
presented in twelve chapters has a complicated hierarchy among whose
members is the vampire Barón Zappo XV von Orbs. He is asked to appear in
a vampire film written by Miss Godiva Brandy, and after meeting him she
falls in love with the vampire. But, in addition to her discovering his
attraction to the leading lady in the film, Miss Brandy realizes that he is
sucking the blood out of practically all the crew and cast members of the film

85
and she kills him, convinced that, "como en varios de sus libros, el amor se
metamorfoseaba en odio" (Mujica Lainez 263).
In El vampiro by Froylán Turcios, the vampire attacks Rogerio as well
as Luz, and this reveals an erotic element of the vampire myth not
sufficiently explored by Stoker in Dracula. The homoerotic vampirism of
desire appears again in contemporary Latin American narrative in José
Abimael Pinzón's El vampiro. Novela (1956) as well as in Luis Zapata's Las.
aventuras...de Adonis García... (1979), works that echo how vampiristic,
sexual impulses carried to extremes can cause ruination, provide social
commentary about such sexuality in modern society as well as lead to
freedom from imposed norms; this is the case of Zapata's protagonist Adonis
Garcia. As one critic puts it, "an implicitly homoerotic desire achieves
representation as a monstrous heterosexuality, as a demonic inversion of
normal gender relations" (Craft 110, my emphasis) that the child-
molester/murderer "El vampiro" in Pinzón's novel, and the male prostitute
Adonis Garcia are unable to achieve and maintain while confined to the realm
of the living, but find easier to realize as vampires. Froylán Turcios does not
develop a homosexual vampire, but his rendition of the vampire myth takes
the "vicious circles" of sexual emotions and feelings and places them in a
new context within Latin American modernism: his native Central America.

CHAPTER 3
MANUEL BEDOYA'S EL GENERAL BEBEVIDAS. MONSTRUO DE AMÉRICA.
In Manuel Bedoya's 1939 work, El general Bebevidas. Monstruo de
América, the beginning and ending sections of the novel show the
dictator/vampire before and after, respectively, he has ingested human blood.
Framed within these two sequences is a set of complex human relationships
attempting to find stable ground but which constantly revert to vampirism in
order to survive. In a style that recalls Stoker's use of the embedded texts in
his novel Dracula. Bedoya presents vampirism as a way to represent and
confront human conflict, primarily in the form of the dictatorship under the
tyrant Bebevidas and secondarily of the human relationships among the
members of the Partido, the group against the dictator.
In the novel, the dictator Bebevidas is a blood-ingesting vampire who
is ominously present yet absent at the same time, increasing the fear of his
next attack. His threat comes in the form of oppression and suspension of
the elections as well as the jailing of the oppositional forces not sympathetic
with the regime, aspects that were typical of the government of the Peruvian
dictator Oscar R. Benavides from 1933 to 1939, the regime that inspired
Bedoya to write the novel. Similar to the novels of Bram Stoker and the
Honduran Froylán Turcios, vampirism in Bedoya's narrative helps explain
86

87
political and social events that occurred in Peru at the turn of the century.
This chapter examines the vampirism of the dictator throughout Bedoya's
novel as well as of the uneven human and sexual relations among those who
attempt unsuccessfully to subvert the regime.
Manuel Augusto Bedoya (1888-1941) published extensively in many
areas, including prose, essay, theater, and journalism; his journalistic career
was strongly influenced by his time in exile outside of his native country as
well as events in Peru. The work El general Bebevidas. Monstruo de América
focuses on the regime of Oscar Ruperto Benavides, president/dictator of Peru
from 1933 to 1939. In this novel, the dictator is a vampire whose survival
depends on blood: he has a disease similar to diabetes, and in order to stay
alive he must drink the blood of young men captured by his henchmen. The
vampire is present only in the opening and closing sections of the novel, but
he frames the action of the story; his presence pervades the novel and
determines the actions of the characters as well. Even though several critics
consider Bedoya to be an important contributor to Peruvian literature of the
early twentieth century, his 1939 novel has gone unnoticed by critics of
Peruvian and Latin American literature who point more to Bedoya's
development as a Peruvian modernista journalist and less to his ability as a
novel writer. As one critic of Peruvian literature notes, Bedoya is among
those modernista writers who "se apartan de toda participación colectiva, o

88
si participan de ella, lo hacen ocasionalmente" (Sánchez 270), thus making a
classification of his novelistic work difficult.
In his interpretation of the Benavides regime, Bedoya portrays the
leader as a cruel, despotic vampire. During his tenure as president of Peru,
Oscar Benavides continued several important national movements begun in
earlier administrations such as social security, the installation of irrigation
systems, and federal highways (Masterson 58). Throughout Bedoya's novel
the reader experiences the anguish and frustration of the Partido members
attempting to overthrow the dictator and not their praise of his actions as
Peruvian president. Partido members refuse to admit that Bebevidas has
done anything good for their homeland, a fact that seems to conflict with
historical accounts that report the several achievements of Benavides'
regime. As Masterson and other historians of Latin America indicate1, the
conflict in Peru between the appearing middle-class and the military was a
decisive factor in the oppresive outcome of most governmental issues, but in
most accounts of the time period Benavides does not receive the adequate
attention as an important but controversial figure in Peruvian politics that he
does in Bedoya's novel. The central struggle within the story parallels the
antagonism that developed between Benavides and the group APRA (Alianza
1 See Thomas E. Skidmore and Peter H. Smith, Modern Latin America (New YorK; Oxford UP, 1984),
chapter six, and Benjamin Keen and Mark Wasserman, A History of Latin America (Boston,
Houghton Mifflin Co., 1988), chapter sixteen, for information regarding Peru's conflict with the
military. In each of these histories, Oscar Benavides is superficially examined but his years in power
are depicted as generally favorable.

89
Popular Revolucionaria Americana) [American Popular Revolutionary Alliance],
referred to in the novel as the Partido. The constant conflict, however, with
APRA never ceased even after Benavides had made promises to acknowledge
certain demands of theirs such as new elections, and this conflict pervades
most of Bedoya's novel. Bedoya utilizes the vampire myth to highlight and
to increase the effect of the darker episodes of the Benavides regime with
respect to his conflict with APRA as well as to establish human, sexual
behavior as primarily vampiristic as the participants live off each other in
order to survive.
Early Latin American literature about dictatorships suggests the image
of the vampire to portray cruel and merciless regimes, and through stylistic
changes the image of the dictator as vampire remains suggestive in
contemporary works with the same theme. Few critical works devoted to
the dictator figure in Latin American literature sufficiently examine the
parallel between dictators and vampires, an important component of Bram
Stoker's 1897 novel that critics of the European-American tradition have
pointed out.2 In novels such as Bedoya's El general Bebevidas and Miguel
2 There are several critical works that examine Count Dracula outside of a literary point of view and
place him within the framework of despotism and extreme political fanatacism. A revision of their
1989 work (listed below), including corrected information about a falsely-labelled picture taken in
Eastern Europe and a complete filmography of the vampire, is In Search of Dracula: The History of
Dracula and Vampires (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1994) by Raymond T. McNally and Radu
Florescu. Christopher Frayling, in Vampyres: Lord Byron to Count Dracula (London: Faber and Faber,
1992), offers insight not only about the literary development of the vampire but also about the
military stature of Count Dracula. Frayling argues correctly that Stoker's character "differs from the
previous vampire Counts of literature...because he is a military figure as well, who periodically
reminisces about his military successes in the distant past, in campaigns to drive the Turks out of
his territory" (76, emphasis in original). Frayling wonders if "beneath the crusade against the empire
of the nosferatu [in Stoker's novel Dracula]...lay some kind of cosmic racial conflict...." (82). A

90
Angel Asturias' Fl Señor Presidente (1946), the dark and horrific elements of
history allow for an interpretation of vampirism as a central theme. In
Asturias' novel, The President dresses from head to toe in black, as if
prepared for a funeral: "vestía, como siempre, de luto riguroso: negros los
zapatos, negro el traje, negra la corbata, negro el sombrero que nunca se
quitaba ..." (Asturias 39). Juan Liscano argues that dictators and their
regimes provide Latin American literature with "relatos y novelas" because
these dictatorships "implican siempre sangre, represión, injusticia y dolor
humano" (Liscano 64), not a far cry from elements found in the vampire
myth. For Liscano, the nightmarish atmosphere perpetuated by The
President in Asturias' 1948 novel originates from the dictator whom he
describes like a bloody vampire figure; in the story "los seres humanos
parecen simples marionetas entre las manos de un gigante sanguinario"
(Liscano 72) who knows everything about the people in his country, "atento
a lo que pasaba en las visceras más secretas de los ciudadanos" (Asturias
41).
thorough examination that relates fifteenth-century historical background and the vampire myth
surrounding Count Dracula can be found in Radu R. Florescu and Raymond T. McNally, Dracula:
Prince of Many Faces: His Life and Times (Boston: Little, Brown, 1989). The same authors devote
separate contributions of particular interest associated with Vlad Dracula, the Romanian ruler whom
Bram Stoker "fictionalized" and subsequently raised to mythic fame. For a lengthy but detailed
examination of the history surrounding the authentic Dracula including pictures of places in Romania
purported to be directly associated with Vlad, see Radu Florescu, "The Dracula Search in
Retrospect." The New England Social Studies Bulletin 43.1 (Fall 1985-1986): 25-50. The possibility
that a fifteenth-century Greek document holds the true story to Dracula's present-day depiction is
explored by Raymond T. McNally in "The Fifteenth-Century Manuscript of Kritoboulos of Imbras as
an Historical Source for the History of Dracula." East European Quarterly 21.1 (March 1987): 1-13.
A more dated study looks at how Stoker's novelistic rendition of Count Dracula is faithful to
Southeastern European history and folklore; see Bacil F. Kirtley, "Dracula, the Monastic Chronicles
and Slavic Folklore." Midwest Folklore 6.3 (Fall 1956): 133-39.

91
Asturias' novel is a blend of legend and myth with contemporary
reality that helps to confront the issues of a brutal Central American
dictatorship, a vampire-like "creación de una atmósfera de terror y miseria
bajo la dictadura y la fusión del nivel mítico de las culturas precolombianas
con las latinoamericanas actuales" (Sandoval 259). However, the tie
between fiction and reality does not allow for a justification for the brutal and
murderous activities instigated by Latin American dictators. For Conrado
Zuluaga, in Latin American novels about dictators as in Dracula by Bram
Stoker (indicated by McNally and Florescu in their study), "las figuras
literarias son apenas un pálido reflejo de los protagonistas reales, que ante
estos últimos las primeras se desvanecen . . . ."3
In a study that devotes some attention to Latin American dictator
narratives and vampirism, Julio Calviño Iglesias observes that in Manuel
Bedoya's El general Bebevidas the two central motifs, vampirism and
anthropophagia, help to recall "las secuencias más macabras del folletín
finisecular o de los 'gotic [sic] tales'" (Calviño Iglesias 126) that are
represented in José Abimael Pinzón's 1956 novel El vampiro as well.
Although Calviño Iglesias places other Latin American narratives within a
framework of vampirism as well, he does not provide in-depth analyses.4 He
3 Conrado Zuluaga, Novelas de dictador, dictadores de novela (Bogotá: Carlos Valencia Editores, 1977)
11 5. His study examines the following works: Tirano Banderas by Ramón del Valle-lnclán, El
recurso del método (1974) by Alejo Carpentier, Yo. El Supremo (1974) by Augusto Roa Bastos, and
El otoño del patriarca by Gabriel García Márquez.
4 He classifies four Latin American narratives that centralize vampirism as "una categoría englobante
de lógica inclusiva que se organiza como un inventario paradigmático..."(10). The four works in his

92
notes that Rufino Blanco Fombona's 1931 novel La bella y la fiera combines
desire as a weapon against the Gómez regime in Venezuela (Calviño Iglesias
163). From within Esteban Echeverria's novella "El matadero" he lists themes
that includes Rosas as a vampire: "las metáforas políticas directas
(Argentina-Madero; Rosas-Matarife; Populacho-Rosistas; Sangre-Color
emblemático del dictador-vampiro) ..." (Calviño Iglesias 24). Iglesias'
study begins to relate dictators and vampirism, but good, critical approaches
to this powerful combination in Latin American literature are lacking. These
examples indicate that criticism about Latin American novels of the dictator
allows for an interpretation of vampirism within these texts even though the
novels themselves rarely make use of vampirism directly.
Manuel Bedoya's novel, however, represents literal and figurative
vampirism: Bebevidas is a tyrant who drinks the blood of adolescent boys
"porque padecía de una enfermedad que sólo se aliviaba bebiendo sangre
humana ..." (Castellanos and Martínez 80). Bedoya also develops his
tyrant as a national problem, drawing his novel more into the realm of
critical/political journalism. With this in mind, he directly addresses the
dictator in the prologue: "Como un tenebroso vampiro les bebes la vida a
todos los hombres libres del Perú" (Bedoya, El general . . . 10). In their
examination of the dictator figure in Latin American narrative, Castellanos
study are: "El matadero" (1835) by Esteban Echeverría; La hella y la fiera (1931) by Rufino Blanco
Fombona; El general Bebevidas (1939) by Manuel Bedoya, and Megafón o la guerra (1970) by
Leopoldo Marechal.

93
and Martínez list Bedoya's novel in a footnote devoted to many early
twentieth-century Latin American novels about dictators (103n3) and explain
that analogous to other novels of approximately the same time period (for
example, El hombre de hierro [1907] and La bella y la fiera [1931] by the
Venezuelan writer Rufino Blanco Fombona), Bedoya depicts Latin American
dictatorships through "panfletismo" or a style of writing with which the
writer becomes "un combatiente, cuya obra no tiene finalidad estética, sino
que es un instrumento de lucha contra la tiranía" (Castellanos and Martinez
80).
Benavides' regime is the subject of a pamphlet published in the same
year by Luis Antonio Eguiguren called El usurpador (para la historia). Using a
comparable approach as mentioned by Castellanos and Martinez, Eguiguren
suggests that the Peruvian dictator has a dark and sinister character, similar
to the vampire that Bedoya develops: "amante de los ambientes
encapotados, que huyen o desaparecen al más ligero raya de luz, don Oscar
Benavides imprime a su existencia y a las de los que lo rodean un hábito
sombrío y tétrico impenetrable y misterioso ..." (Eguiguren 28).
Eguiguren's style is similar to the pamphlet mentioned by Castellanos and
Martinez in their article.
»
On the cover page of Adolfo León Ossorio y Agüero's pamphlet The
Caribbean Vampire, or The Tragedy of Cuba is a drawing of Fulgencio Batista
as a vampire with large, black bat wings on his back. Only his upper torso is

94
visible; his head is wrapped in a bandana with a skull and crossbones and his
hands are resting on a large sword stained with dark blood. All around him
are hundreds of human skulls, and protruding from the left of the drawing are
the legs of a dead woman. This evocative visual image parallels the written
text of this 1 957 work that seriously condemns the Batista regime in Cuba,
"the most infamous, cruel and shameless dictatorship that Cuba has ever had
the misfortune to suffer" (León Ossorio y Agüero 17). León gives an
account of Batista's rise to power in Cuba that occurred at approximately the
same time that Benavides took control of Peru.
Somewhat similar to Bedoya's work, The Caribbean Vampire utilizes
the vampire motif to describe a Latin American dictatorship, but Agüero
writes more an emotionally personal denunciation against Batista's
dictatorship than a novel fictionalizing his regime like Bedoya's novel does
with regards to Benavides' regime in Peru. Full of typographical errors and
poorly organized sentences, this translation nonetheless evokes a powerful
image of a despot whose bloody regime was splattered as well with unruly
sexuality that knew no borders, "A veritable orgy of blood and crime which
has impoverished the people [and] left hundred of good families mourning
their dead. Since then, prostitution and vice have run their wicked course
rampant, with nothing to impede their progress ..." (León Ossorio y Agüero
31). Accompanying the written text are photographs evidently taken from
the years of Batista's rule in Cuba "where un [sic] unmerciful dictatorship

95
holds full sway and where bllody [sic] events are the order of the day" (León
Ossorio y Agüero 86). León's prose is reminiscent of the literary origins of
the Dracula stories that appeared in fifteenth-century German pamphlets
"designed for an unsophisticated audience" in which "Dracula is portrayed as
a demented psycopath, a sadist, a gruesome murderer, a masochist, 'one of
the worst tyrants of history . . . '" (McNally and Florescu 80).
McNally and Florescu have shown in their book the close connection
between the historical figure Vlad Tepes as a ruthless tyrant and his
supposed vampiristic acts on and off the battlefield: the impalement of his
victims and his subsequent consumption of their blood. In contrast with
Stoker's novel about this tyrant who is a vampire, most Latin American
novels about dictators do not incorporate vampirism. In several cases of
Latin American dictator novels, vampirism can be implied but is rarely used
as the main feature of the tyrant, a technique that Manuel Bedoya utilizes
successfully. For example, in Miguel Ángel Asturias' novel El Señor
Presidente (1946), the President dresses entirely in black and remains
virtually invisible but no mention is made of the despot's need to ingest
human blood. A possible reference to vampirism in Asturias' novel is in part
3, chapter 37, "El baile de Tohil," in which the cloud-god Tohil expresses the
need for human sacrifices for his existence, a reality of the President's
regime: "Sobre hombres cazadores de hombres puedo asentar mi gobierno.

96
No habrá ni verdadera muerte ni verdadera vida ..." (Asturias 270), a state
similar to the life-in-death state of the vampire.
Another twentieth-century Latin American novel about a dictator, £i
otoño del patriarca (1975) by Gabriel García Márquez, portrays the dictator
with similarities to a vampire figure as well, but unlike Bedoya, in novels
such as this one the author "se ha salido del pasquín para entrar en la obra
de arte" (Castellanos and Martínez 102) in which "el personaje central, el
dictador, no es ya una sombra impalpable, sino una realidad viva, brutal y
sangrante, situada en el mismo centro de gravedad de la obra artística"
(Castellanos and Martínez 102-03). As critics point more and more to the
social aspect of dictatorial discourses, novels such as El otoño del patriarca
highlight the importance of the dangerous discourse of dictators that was the
focal point of the early accounts of Count Dracula mentioned above. One
critic has noted how the inclusion of dictators in narratives parallels this
representation of vampires in literature "because it gives birth to death and
deadly forms" (Kubayanda 54), one of the principal features of the vampire
in literature.
In the novel by García Márquez, the dictator shares many features
with Count Dracula. The Patriarch is already dead and the narrative goes
back in time to tell the story again from an external point of view. The
beginning of each of the six sections of El otoño . . . focuses on the death,
rebirth, and death of the Patriarch after many years have passed, a cycle

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similar to that of the vampire. The dictator in this novel does not need blood
for survival, but he dies twice, a reminder of the repetitive life-death-life
cycle of the vampire. The narrator notes the mystery surrounding the
Patriarch's dying, a feature that surfaces in reinterpretations of the Dracula
myth: "we knew that no evidence of his death was final, because there was
always another truth behind the truth" (García Márquez, The Autumn . . .
43). The Patriarch is ageless or at least has lived for so many years that his
age is not apparent. Like the vampire myth surrounding Vlad Tepes,
speculation about the timelessness of the dictator appears in the press "still
dedicated to proclaiming his eternity . . . with more authority and diligence
and better health than ever in spite of the fact that many years ago we had
lost count of his age ..." (García Márquez, The Autumn . . . 1 26).
The Patriarch exists with no concrete foundation in time, agelessly
drifting through the present in the popular literary form of newspapers that
can only speculate as to his existence. In a similar fashion, the stories of
Count Dracula became popular "due to the coincidence of the invention of
the printing press in the second half of the fifteenth century and the
production of cheap rag paper" (McNally and Florescu 83) onto which these
accounts were printed. Like Count Dracula, who "marks" his terrified victims
on their necks, transforming them into eternal vampires as well, Garcia
Márquez' Patriarch also mysteriously marks households with his presence
"que hacía temblar a la gente de la casa, ... sin sospechar que aquella casa

98
quedaba marcada para siempre con el estigma de su visita ..." (García
Márquez, El otoño , , 93).
García Márquez and Stoker point to the idea of a timeless tyrant
whose power in literature is due to its repetition in a popular form. Garcia
Márquez's cyclical use of death at the beginning of each of the novel's
sections parallels the process of death and dying-as-beginning of the vampire
repeatedly developed in the vampire myth. However, El otoño . . . does not
use vampirism as the central defining characteristic of the dictatorial
Patriarch: no mention in the novel suggests that the Patriarch is required to
sacrifice humans in order to survive. Manuel Bedoya's novel is a unique
contribution to the Latin American novel of the dictator because it brings
together, as McNally and Florescu demonstrate with the Dracula myth,
despotism and vampirism and creates a vampire dictator whose continuity is
dependent upon the blood of young boys.
Manuel Bedoya devoted most of his effort as a writer pursuing
journalism but his novel El general Bebevidas. Monstruo de América depicts
the vampirism latent in a human social system subjugated by a dictator
whose bloodsucking becomes a metaphor for Peruvian reality still dominated
by a class division similar to that of the time of the Conquest in Latin
America but in which new social groups (principally, the middle class) appear
and make their presence known. Despite his extensive publications, Manuel
Bedoya's reputation as a notable Peruvian author is marginal compared to

99
fellow writers such as the poet César Vallejo, Mario Vargas Llosa, or José
María Arguedas, whose 1961 novel El sexto also "provided an unforgettable
account of his time in the notorious Lima jail under the [Oscar] Benavides
government" (Martin 118). Bedoya nonetheless uses the vampire figure as
the background for El general Bebevidas. a fact that attests to the increasing
popularity of the topic among Latin American writers as well as to the need
to include works such as Bedoya's novel in handbooks and guides of
contemporary Latin American literature that stress the universal nature of
contemporary Latin American fiction-as well as the possibilities of vampirism
as a way to describe the reality under a dictator.
Bedoya interprets the early years of twentieth-century Peru using
vampirism, and in order to understand the importance of the use of the
vampire figure as the president/dictator Oscar R. Benavides, it is necessary to
examine the social and political events of the 1930s in Peru, a time marked
not only by the appearance of Benavides as Peru's president/dictator but by
important class conflict as well. This chapter first looks at the politics of the
Benavides era, its relationship with APRA, then examines Bedoya's
contribution as a Peruvian modernista, and finally examines his novel.
The stock market crash on Wall Street in New York City of 1929 had
an adverse effect on Latin American countries such as Peru whose "export-
oriented economy, like that of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, was particularly
vulnerable to the decline in world demand . .
for Peruvian-produced

100
products (Masterson 39). As financial problems were affecting such
economies, "Latin America witnessed the formation of new political alliances
as emerging middle- and working-class groups gained their first access to
political power" (Masterson 39). An important force during these years in
Peruvian politics is the APRA, started by Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre in
1924 while exiled in Mexico. In response to this new group, the Peruvian
military strengthened its ranks during the 1930s due to its "deep mistrust of
populist politics and of traditional civilian political parties" (Masterson 39),
the threat that APRA presented to the military.
The hatred between the APRA and the military stems from a bloody
conflict that occurred in 1932 in the Peruvian city of Trujillo. Shaken by an
attempt on the life of the president/dictator Luís M. Sánchez Cerro by a
young aprista. the military attempts to bring down the APRA supporters who
murder their hostages, "ten military officers, fifteen policemen, and twenty-
five civilians" (Skidmore and Smith 212). The military brutally responds by
executing thousands of potential APRA supporters. For those within the
Peruvian armed forces, this event "took on the character of a blood feud, and
convinced many officers that they must never let APRA come to power"
(Skidmore and Smith 212), the central point Bedoya highlights in his novel.
During this time period General Oscar R. Benavides represents the
Peruvian political and military faction with fluctuations between adherence to
the legacy of militarism and commitment to non-military forces, a contrast

101
that Bedoya insufficiently focuses on in El general Bebevidas but which is
noted by historians of the time period.
The major competitive force against Benavides in Peru is APRA, "a
broadly based alliance of students, intellectuals, workers, and elements of
the middle and peasant classes ..." (Masterson 42) which strove to gain
important representation for these groups and establish itself as a crucial
competitor against the conservative Benavides regime as well as any
competition not representing middle class interests. In a paraphrased
statement from the 1920s when he began to push for the heightened
consciousness of the middle class towards political activism, Haya de la
Torre ties the struggle of APRA to vampirism in order to bring his forces
together: "The great foreign firms extract our wealth and then sell it outside
of our country. Consequently there is no opportunity for our middle class.
This, then, is the abused class that will lead the revolution" (Keen and
Wasserman 414), the resuscitated element that Bedoya develops as the
Partido. Closely paralleling the tight structure of the military, APRA and its
party unity eventually made it "the most disciplined political force in Peru"
(Masterson 46) of the early 1930s to stand in opposition to the military and
to build a strong middle class. APRA successfully subverted military officers
in the attempt to increase their support as a viable political force; in fact,
many military officers "were still willing to cooperate and conspire with
APRA for a variety of personal and political reasons" (Masterson 46).

102
In the presidential elections of 1931, Luís M. Sánchez Cerro's win over
Haya de la Torre, APRA's leader and founder, helped to increase the
oppression against APRA's clandestine activities as well as foment the
brutality of a dictatorship. In a publication of the early 1930s that appeared
not much after Benavides assumed power of Peru, Manuel Bedoya writes
optimistically about Benavides' arrival on the political scene given the fact
that Sánchez Cerro's regime had already shown shades of vampire-like
characteristics: "¿Qué podría importarles a estos hombres [de Sánchez Cerro]
el patrimonio popular, si ... la sangre peruana no es para ellos sino materia
nutritiva de inconfesables apetitos y dominio?" (Bedoya, El otro Caín . . .
21). When Bedoya writes in the same book that "Los Sánchez-civilistas . . .
afirmaban que la dictadura era el peor de los males que podía aflijir al pueblo
peruano ..." (Bedoya, El otro Caín . . . 58), he is unaware that within a
few years Benavides will show the same tendencies.
In April of 1933, General Benavides is selected by Sánchez Cerro to
head a National Defense Committee, and later in the same month, Sánchez is
assassinated by a young APRA member. This act caused the party's
continued proscription by the controlling government under the newly-elected
president Benavides, chosen to serve as president during the remainder of
Sánchez Cerro's office.
The Benavides years were constructive for Peru, establishing national
programs such as social security, a national irrigation system, and expansive

103
national highways. His ties to the military continued to position him against
the civilian population, however: "Devoid of a popular base and at odds with
large segments of Peru's social elite, he was forced to rely almost exclusively
on the loyalty of the military until he relinquished power in December 1939"
(Ciccarelli, "Fascism and Politics ..." 415). Benavides' government
increased the military in Peru on many levels, acquring more aircraft and
stepping up the national arsenal during his time as chief executive. Even
though Benavides granted amnesty to the APRA leader Haya de la Torre,
exiled in Mexico by Augusto B. Leguia, he annulled the 1936 elections
fearing that APRA would make significant inroads in national politics: on
September 5, 1936, "the National Election Board . . . disbarred APRA and
Haya de la Torre from participation in the national elections scheduled for 11
October" (Masterson 56). The elections were suspended on October 21, and
on November 14, 1936, Benavides assumed dictatorial powers by having
"the congress extend his presidential term until 8 December 1939"
(Masterson 56). By 1937, APRA began to "portray Benavides as a fascist
agent intent on undermining the independence of Peru and the freedom of
the Americas" (Ciccarelli, "Fascism and Politics ..." 428), a charge that
was not apparently true even though the group published many pamphlets,
books, and manifestos in support of their argument. The intent of the
APRA's claims of a fascist tendency in Benavides was to increase their
visibility as a bona fide national political group and to regain authorized

104
status; in short, the majority of their propaganda "was intended to further
sour United States relations with Benavides, expedite the president's removal
from power, regain legality status for the party . . . and use its popularity and
organisation [sic] to gain power" (Ciccarelli, "Fascist Propaganda ..." 382).
In his novel, Bedoya presents the conflicts between the pro-APRA supporters
and Benavides as a way for them to achieve publicity and acknowledgement
and not to portray Benavides as a fascist dictator, even though during his
regime he wavered between sympathy for the APRA and adherence to
fascist ideology. Just before he annulled the elections in 1936, "he
appointed the pro-fascist Riva Agüero as his prime minister" (Skidmore and
Smith 213).
After Benavides left office he continued in the national political
spotlight. His successor, Manuel Prado, named him Peruvian ambassador to
Spain in 1939. The time following his presidency of Peru shows a change,
for in early 1 945, Benavides supported "the election of a civilian government
that could achieve national unity" (Masterson 79), and in response to his
attempts to block the election of his chief military rival General Ureta,
Benavides "received telegrams of felicitations from leading Apristas in exile"
(Masterson 79) after he and Haya de la Torre agreed on a manifesto that
Benavides had issued urging the civilian elections. Benavides died on July 5,
1945 less than a month after national elections were held on June 10 when
José Luís Bustamente y Rivero defeated the military-leaning candidate

105
General Eloy G. Ureta. This victory was possible because of "the critical
support of APRA and Benavides as well as the serious divisions within the
armed forces ..." (Masterson 82).
The important point that Bedoya stresses in his 1939 novel El general
Bebevidas is that subversion occurred during many decades of Peruvian
politics and increased during the Benavides regime from 1933 to 1939. In
fact, the "attempted subversion of individual officers and entire military units
by APRA and other civilian political groups never completely abated . . . "
(Masterson 57) after these years, and Bedoya makes this a central focus in
his novel. This was not strictly a Peruvian problem as the United States,
more and more concerned that the Axis was making important advances in
many parts of the Western hemisphere, was worried that the Axis threat was
not military "but rather through the use of propaganda and subversion"
(Ciccarelli, "Fascist Propaganda ..." 361) evidenced by the infiltration of
pro-Axis communities into Latin American countries such as Peru. As the
1 930s came to a close, much of the dissension against Benavides continued
as it had begun, a product of "The emergence of mass politics and social
class conflict in the early 1930s ..." (Masterson 59) in Peru and the use of
subversive maneuvering between the classes. In this sense, the fact that
Bedoya uses actual facts from Peruvian political history in his fictional
rendition of the events makes his novel an important interpretation of Peru in
the early part of this century, a time when the new social groups mentioned

106
above produce literature that expresses a "nueva alternativa de entender el
problema nacional y para replantear sus proyectos y destino" (Cornejo Polar
117).
Manuel Bedoya's literary career started before Benavides became
dictator of Peru in 1933. Among the members of the Generation of 1905 in
Peru, a group "plenamente modernista" (Sánchez 299), are Manuel Bedoya
as well as Ventura García Calderón, Felipe Sassone, and Alberto J. Ureta.
During this time period Bedoya began writing drama and verse "para
proseguir y acabar en la novela y la prosa de combate" (Sánchez 361).
Much of Bedoya's writing appeared in Peruvian literary magazines and
newspapers, two of which, El Comercio and La Prensa.5 supported fascist
ideals during the turbulent years of the Benavides regime, the antagonistic
force in El general Bebevidas. Monstruo de América.
Preceding Benavides as dictator of Peru is Augusto B. Leguia, whose
rule from 1919 to 1930 (known in Peruvian political history as the "oncenio"
or eleven-year rule) corresponds approximately with the same years in which
there is a substantial growth of newspapers and magazines in Peru (Cornejo
Polar 112). In fact, before the governmental crisis of the early 1930s, the
number of published journals and magazines steadily increases to 475 titles
5 Bedoya, El otro Cain... 37. In a scathing attack against the Peruvian newspaper El comercio
Bedoya refers to the daily as a "deadly serpent" that would stop at nothing to "romperle el corazón
de un tiro a todo aquel que tuviese la inverosímil audacia de 'levantarse' contra el Régimen" of
Sánchez Cerro. His use of vampire-like imagery (fangs of a snake) is not restricted to El general
Bebevidas as an instrument to criticize his opponents.

107
in 1929; by 1936, the number drops to 326 (Checa Godoy 255). Bedoya's
drama, "La ronda de los muertos" and his first novel, El hermano mayor
(1909), were responsible for his exile to Spain where he actively participates
in literary activities, working for three Madrid publications: Nuevo mundo. La
estampa, and El sol (Sánchez 362). In 1923 he returns to Lima amidst the
turmoil of the Leguia regime and continues to be an active journalist. In
1936, Bedoya is self-exiled to Chile where he "organizó una tertulia literaria
en Santiago" (Sánchez 364) and where in 1939, he publishes El general
Bebevidas. Monstruo de América. Bedoya died in 1 941.
Bedoya's career as a journalist is not overlooked by most critics, one
of whom sees him as "Entre los que han dado, si no todos en libros, por lo
menos en revistas y periódicos, obra ya considerable ..." (García Calderón
431). Similar to the case in Honduras, Latin American literary Modernism of
the early twentieth century in Peru was different in comparison with that in
other Latin American countries of the same time because of a noticeable lack
of cohesion among the writers producing works. An archaic legacy rooted in
the colonial past of Peru could not adequately produce an authentically
"modern" literary phenomenon that was struggling for expression amidst
drastic changes occurring not only in Peruvian politics but in Peruvian society
as well. The appearance of different social classes (predominantly, an
emerging middle class as well as a corresponding reading public) did not
make up for the fact that there was no binding ideology among the

108
writers/intellectuals, giving Peruvian literature of this period a fragmented
appearance in criticism. But the same idea of conflicting ideologies that set
apart the dominant classes from the submissive ones in Peru's past also
determines the place of the emerging middle class in Peru as producers and
consumers of literature, a group that appears interested in the problems
plaguing Peru during the 1920s and the 1930s even though the oligarchy
and its writers were more interested "en la exploración del pasado, sin
demasiados contactos con lo presente" (Lauer 23). Writers of this time
period such as Manuel Bedoya produce literature that reflects their position
within society and their attempt to address their relation with society directly
as "funcionarios en actividades vinculadas a sus propias profesiones, como
parte de la expansión de la base material de las letras iniciadas un decenio
atrás" (Lauer 27).
The concept of a Peruvian national literary tradition is based on a
system of oppositions, a tension "hecha de conquista y resistencia ... la
que soporta históricamente la existencia de los sistemas literarios que dibujan
con trazos étnicos su alteridad" (Cornejo Polar 190). The turbulent politics of
the 1 930s in Peru was an "orden de hegemonías y subordinaciones, con sus
correlatos étnico-sociales más o menos precisos, [que] tuvo obvios anclajes
en el proceso histórico de la nación" (Cornejo Polar 106). Bedoya's
literature adequately reflects how such turmoil is best expressed by using the
vampire figure to represent the conflict between politics and social action.

109
Martin Tropp points to the enduring fascination with cultural texts out
of late Victorian England such as the story of Jack the Ripper, the novel Ths
Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, and the
vampire story interpreted by Bram Stoker in Dracula. Like Bedoya's novel El
general Behevidas. each of these stories develops social interactions
involving striking distinctions, contrasts below the surface of a "normally"
functioning society. Bedoya's theater and prose works reflect the idea of
hidden contradictions waiting to appear in the same way that Stoker's
vampire story (and each subsequent retelling including El general Bebevidas)
threatens to expose these oppositions and place them into discourse. The
ultimate dismantling of the Victorian world in Dracula by a vampire parallels
real life just as the invasion of the private, social realm by the tyrant has
implied force in Bedoya's novel because of the perverse sexuality
orchestrated by the vampire figure Bebevidas. Under him, the social
stratifications of Peru suffer nothing less that a "breakdown of the
distinctions between gender and sexuality, in the release of a destructive
power and a dangerous passion among men and women at a turning point in
their lives" (Tropp 143) that are not only determined by the politics of
Bebevidas but by his sexual practices as well.
In addition to its potential to express politics, the vampire myth in
contemporary culture exhibits sexuality that has gone awry: "the popular
fascination with vampirism has been related to its alleged expression and

110
distortion of an originally sexual energy" (Gagnier 142, my emphasis). In
folklore, the male vampire returns to females in order to receive sustenance.
In literature this changes to include female vampires who stalk young men.
Female vampires who prey on other women became popular with Sheridan
Le Fanu's 1872 novel Carmilla which introduces lesbian vampirism. As one
critic points out, the sexuality in modern interpretations of the vampire story
"portrays threatening male sexuality and passive female innocence . . . "
(Griffin 454) but in Manuel Bedoya's novel the dictator/vampire feeds off
young boys, homoerotic vampirism that is also developed in José Abimael
Pinzón's novel El vampiro and Luis Zapata's Adonis García. Vampiristic
sexuality in same-sex liaisons as well as male-female relationships occurs in
Bedoya's novel as the tyrant prefers the blood of young men.
In Bedoya's narrative, vampiristic sexuality is not always associated
with prescribed heterosexual formulations. In Stoker's novel Dracula (1897)
the absence of the vampire Count Dracula during the majority of the novel
allows the sexuality to be "dissociated from Dracula and associated instead
with the four female vampires seeking male victims" (Griffin 455) such as
Jonathan Harker, who is seduced by the vampiresses in Castle Dracula. In a
similar fashion, Bebevidas is absent from most of Bedoya's narrative, and
vampirism is associated with the characters who are fighting against the
tyrant. As this novel demonstrates, vampirism is sexual activity occurring
outside of marriage as Luis González and Julia de Solonio participate in a

tryst not associated with marriage. In this novel, "Vampirism can now be
celebrated as the most exquisite form of sexual pleasuring, yet it remains
outside of ideal sexual relationships" (Dyer, "Children of the Night ..." 67)
as the dictator Bebevidas demonstrates an affinity for the blood of young
males and as other characters develop sexual dependency on each other.
In Bedoya's play "La ronda de los muertos," he presents the
destructive power of passion as it breaks apart the protagonists of the
drama, similar to the force at work in El general Bebevidas. The story
revolves around the "conflicto pasional y apasionado de uno de tantos
matrimonios equivocados en que el deseo se decora con el pomposo nombre
de amor ..." (García Calderón 437). Darío marries the former girlfriend of
his best friend Ramón who still loves the woman; "con la antigua novia, en
una tarde sentimental, le recuerda [a ella] su pasado fervor ..." (García
Calderón 527). Before he commits suicide, Darío surprises them, Ramón
slips away, and Carmela attempts to convince Dario that she really loves him
and not his best friend. Dario reproaches Carmela of infidelity, but blames
passion for his apparent physical discontent that clearly resembles the
wasting away of a vampire victim: "¡Enfermo, sí, estoy enfermo! El
torbellino de las pasiones, que es grande y que es fuerte como el mar, me ha
enfermado ... Tú estás espléndida, vete también, mírate en el espejo . . . .
Estás joven y plena, eres una hermosa flor de primavera; en cambio yo me
veo marchito, en el invierno de la vida" (Bedoya, "La ronda ..." 534-35).

112
In his novel Bedoya uses the vampire myth to describe Oscar
Benavides of Peru as well as to criticize his regime. As the novel progresses,
it becomes clear that vampire imagery not only describes persons but social
relations between individuals as well. Interpersonal relationships among the
characters of this novel arise out of the struggle for independence from the
oppressive control of the regime that occupies the center of the story, and all
these relationships provide a suitable backdrop for vampirism.
Bedoya's commitment to expose his country's difficult relationship
with the military appears later in the novels of Latin American authors such
as Miguel Angel Asturias who paints a bleak picture of Guatemala under
Manuel Estrada Cabrera in El Señor Presidente (1946); in Alejo Carpentier,
who presents a dictatorship based on facts of a Cuban dictatorship in £1
recurso del método (1975); or in Augusto Roa Bastos' Yo El Supremo
(1973), a complex combination of letters and written documents about the
Uruguayan dictator Gaspar de Francia. These writers use vampire imagery to
provide interpretations of political events, and as Gerald Martin points out,
Latin American texts about dictators such as José Mármol's Amalia (1851)
and Asturias' work increase the similarity between despots and vampires
through the depiction "of some Monstrous Personage violating the ordinary
individual's privacy, both of home and of consciousness" (Martin 266).
Although Bedoya creates a strong connection between vampiristic imagery
and military rule, the focal point of this novel revolves around the precarious

113
human relationships that form between certain members of the Partido, the
unsuccessful opposition struggling to end the terror the regime of Bebevidas.
Bedoya's novel begins and ends with "classic" vampirism, and within the
framework of a dictator/vampire are human relationships that are vampiristic.
Similar to the vampire count of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula. Bedoya's
vampire dictator is based on an actual political figure, Oscar Benavides of
Peru. Stoker had extensively researched the background of Vlad Tepes,
better known as Count Dracula, for his 1897 novel; Bedoya had lived
through and outside of the Benavides regime, so he wrote the novel as true
experience. Vampirism in Bedoya's novel is evident from the title: the name
"Bebevidas" roughly translates as "life-drinker" in English, an adequate
description of the dictator depicted in the novel. Life and death are placed in
immediate contrast when in the prologue, written by Astolfo Tapia Moore,
the novel is referred to as "a living document" that will provide a "verdadera
autopsia a los representantes más encumbrados de la opresión retardataria e
inhumana que todavía flagela a un trozo de nuestra América" (Bedoya, £i
general . . . 14). In other words, the leaders of Peru are dead bodies in
need of examination, corpses that still terrorize Peruvian citizens. In this
fashion, death is quickly introduced in the novel as a major component. In
order to appease the dictator's thirst for blood, "se había organizado una
matanza sistemática para abastecer con vidas de hombres jóvenes la sed de
sangre del monstruo Bebevidas" (Bedoya, El general . . . 16). The closing

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section of the novel repeats this initial scene, establishing how the vampire
myth traverses the entire work. The novel is divided into seventeen
unnumbered sections and is narrated in the third-person; it is dedicated to
Colonel Marmaduke Grove.
Before examining the vampiristic connections in this novel, it is
necessary to display how the regime itself is presented in the work in terms
of vampire imagery. The power of the regime begins to appear when
Bebevidas cancels the national elections in an effort to minimalize the
Partido's chances for representation. Jorge Herrera tells how the
government under Bebevidas is responsible for the reaction against the
regime, that is, for the existence of the Partido, the main opposition to the
dictator: "Es el General Bebevidas y su cónclave de altos jefes militares,
quienes han declarado la guerra civil al pueblo. El primer disparo ha salido de
sus filas, el fuego ha comenzado a correrse desde allí" (Bedoya, El general . .
115) and will instigate those of the Partido to launch measures to attempt
to overthrow the dictator.
Bebevidas is an unseen but dangerous force that threatens by
coercion; "Sus explosiones no las siente nadie, pero impulsan poderosamente
sus émbolos" (Bedoya, El general . . . 116). He is a vampire who lives off
the blood of his victims, a product of generations of Peru's societal
hierarchy, a theme that the Partido continually reinforces throughout the
novel, summarized in terms of vampires: "Nuestro medio social ha producido

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siempre una casta de militares vampiros que no tuvo más mira que la
opresión del pueblo. Pasemos revista a todos los Generales, Coroneles y
Comandantes que han entrado por la Puerta Grande de Palacio desde hace
unos cincuenta años. No hicieron otra cosa que embestirse al pueblo"
(Bedoya, El general . . . 117). (Julia de Solonio, a key figure in this novel,
had been married to one of Bebevidas' "comandantes" but she defects to the
Partido). In the fashion discussed above by Masterson, young officers and
leaders of the military "esperan solamente la oportunidad sagrada de una
transformación completa de nuestra estructura política-social" (Bedoya, El
ganara! . . . 11 7) that APRA offers them. As another Partido member, Juan
Tierra, explains: "hay que confiar en el elemento joven de la oficialidad del
Ejército, para ganar la revolución" (Bedoya, El general . . . 119). Tierra
supports the idea that the Armed forces are absolutely vital for the existence
of Bebevidas and therefore the ironic and paradoxical way to create his
downfall, a fact that Masterson points to in his book. As an important
counterforce, the Partido provides the potential for many episodes of
rebellion against the tyrant Bebevidas in the attempt at a revolution; as Tierra
knows, "Las grandes causas revolucionarias . . . necesitan de estos riesgos
de sangre y de lágrimas" (Bedoya, El general . . . 121) that the title of the
novel mentions. The Partido's success is due in large part to the same of its
enemy the dictator, the two sides living off each other in a vampiristic
struggle for ulimate power and control; the title of the novel mentions the

116
Calvary, the struggle between the dictator Bebevidas and the Partido: "más
muertos, más prisioneros, más desterrados, y ... en estos dias comenzará el
nuevo calvario" (Bedoya, El general . . . 122).
The leader of the Partido echoes the sentiments expressed early by
Jorge Herrera, who stated that after promising elections then cancelling
them, the government causes and incites revolution: "Es el propio Presidente
Constitucional de la República quien le ha dado este golpe revolucionario a la
Nación" (Bedoya, El general . . . 127). Julia compares the actions of the
Partido members with those elements discussed by Masterson as similarities
between the Regime of Benavides and his opponents: "El Partido es una
ampliación de nosotros. Lealtad, disciplina, amistad fraterna. Los unos
estamos para servir a los otros, con reciprocidad equitativa" (Bedoya, £1
general . . . 234). The Partido is reclaiming what was unfairly taken from
them (elections, publishing rights) by the Bebevidas regime, and such actions
are only in response to the aggressor, the Regime: "Nosotros no hacemos
otra cosa que defender a la nacionalidad atropelada por la invasión de la
horda civilista ..." (Bedoya, El general . . . 236).
The complex human/social relationships parallel those within the
opposition to Bebevidas as well. The Partido members realize that within
their ranks are certain groups or "balillas" that are extreme, violent
revolutionaries who do not follow party guidelines. Like the illicit relationship
between Luis and Julia not officially sanctioned by society, the Central

117
Committee of APRA decides what measures are correct to follow within the
Partido and that "Todo aquello que salga de esa punta debe ser
absolutamente prohibido" (Bedoya, El general . . . 164). As Partido member
Mario Solis puts it in the novel, "Si condenamos la violencia a los de arriba,
no debemos permitirla a los de abajo" (Bedoya, El general . . . 165). (The
ultimate defeat of the Partido is in part due to the clandestine operations of
some of its members that are revealed by Julia's dying husband in section
sixteen of the novel, violence that filters down from "above" to the Partido.)
Nevertheless, the oppression furthered by Bebevidas only creates and fosters
more violent reaction by those of the Partido whose leader believes that
revolutionary success involves mutual bloodshed, an act typical of vampires.
In a statement attesting to this fact, Solis points to the image of blood, the
common feature in vampirism: "Cuando ataquemos la pirámide de Poder,
derramaremos la sangre de los adversarios, pero derramaremos también la
nuestra" (Bedoya, El general . . . 170), also showing how mutual
bloodletting is necessary for the survival of one of the enemies.
As Partido members reflect throughout the novel on the power of
Bebevidas and his regime, a common element they mention is the lack of
causality of the power structure in Peruvian society, a point earlier indicated
by Cornejo Polar. Things are the way they are just because: the journalist
Manuel Montoya believes that the small number of powerful families in Peru
are "vampiros elegantes y ventrudos" (Bedoya, El general
1 85) who

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ignore the needs of the pueblo and who continue to exist living off the lives
of the less fortunate. Supporters of Bebevidas, those against the Partido,
believe that things are the way they are because God made them that way
and therefore not subject to questioning or speculation: "El mundo es como
es; como lo ha hecho Dios, y siempre el rico tendrá más que el pobre; el
sabio, conocerá más que el ignorante; el nacido en una buena cuna, tendrá
que ser más honrado que el que nació a la intemperie ..." (Bedoya, £1
general . . . 192), an argument that is often made against the vampire by
those who attempt to explain its existence: an anomaly such as a vampire
cannot possibly exist in the realm of God. In Bedoya's novel, however, not
only God is to blame for the events that unfold due to the regime of
Bebevidas but other supernatural forces as well, an important argument in
support of the existence of a vampire as dictator of a country. The result of
the regime's power, a "vibrating abnormality" (Bedoya, El general . . . 226),
occurs due to the "influencia de Marte, de Venus o de los pajes siderales de
Arturo [que] alteraban el cotidiano lugareño del gran aldeón" (Bedoya, £1
general . . . 226).
In a final interrogation scene, members of the Partido kidnap three top
officials of Bebevidas' regime and bring them to a print shop for detailed
questioning. In order that the Partido members present in the room not be
identified by their prisoners, each wears a cowl with a number. The
disguised Partido members interrogate three men of the Regime by asking

11 9
their familiarity with the basic elements of APRA, Marxism, and Communism.
The point of this inquisition is to specify what the Regime and the Partido are
doing to advance their respective causes and to see if members of the
Regime know who and what the Partido is. Luis González hopes for a time
when his fellow Partido members are in positions of official power, able to
have legitimate force. At that time, "Cuando el Estado sea dirigido por
nosotros, nubes de compatriotas, desconocidos por ustedes, surgirán
inyectando una savia nueva a la nacionalidad" (Bedoya, El general . . . 257)
like numerous vampires sinking their fangs into victims to produce new
existences. Another Partido member, Tristán Cordova, emphasizes the
vampirism idea as well when he states that, like one vampire producing many
others, the situation in Peru is no different because the power of many
actually lies in the hands of only a few who determine the outcome of an
antiquated system: "unos cuantos viejos, con polilla espiritual en el corazón,
mantienen los hilos de la farsa" (Bedoya, El general . . . 259).
The vampire motif of death and rebirth is used by Bedoya to exemplify
the struggle between the regime of Bebevidas and those of the Partido; Luis
sees death of the regime not leading to its subsequent rebirth but rather to
that of the Partido's followers: the death of the regime will be eternal and
will not produce more of the same but instead its opponent: "de ella [la
muerte del regimen] no resucitará nadie, y . . . una nueva vida humana, de
más noble visión de la vida, de más honda comprensión social, de alta

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generosidad ideológica, de más luminosa conciencia del dolor y de la
sabiduría os sucederá en los destinos de la Patria" (Bedoya, El general . . .
260). The journalista Manuel Montoya disagrees with this idea, stating that
the regime is eternally rejuvenating itself: "podríamos matarlos [a los del
régimen] moralmente, más aun de lo que están, pues parecen tener siete
vidas, como los gatos" (Bedoya, El general . . . 264), a fact that the end of
the novel attests to.
On his deathbed, Julia's legal husband uncovers a subversive plot by
the Regime to undermine and extinguish any hopes of the Partido to succeed
with their plan to overthrow Bebevidas with a revolution, and this signals the
last hope of the Partido to be successful: "Allí estaba metido el
maquiavelismo del gobierno. Sus artimañas habían triunfado . . . pero no se
podían dar cuenta exacta del alcance de todo aquello" (Bedoya, El general . .
273). Colonel Solonio, Julia's estranged husband, gave her papers
indicating this plot before he died, but "el asunto del coronel Solonio, a quien
le habían enterrado ya" (Bedoya, El general . . . 273), continues after his
death in a fashion typical of the deathlessness of the vampire. Once the
regime eliminates all chances of the Partido from being a considerable threat,
Bedoya describes the country as a big torture chamber: "cuanto pudo
imaginar el cerebro inquisitorial de las [sic] satrapacia, se aplicó a la carne
joven que a diario se volcaba en los presidios" (Bedoya, El general . . .
276). Bedoya describes the carnage of Bebevidas in terms similar to how the

121
historic figure/tyrant Vlad Dracula (Vlad the Impaler) exterminated his
enemies: "La ciudadanía yacía en tierra, con la punta de la bayoneta oficial
empujándole las entrañas" (Bedoya, El general . , , 276).
The novel's last section, titled "Masacre y terror permanentes"
(Permanent Massacre and Terror), depicts Bebevidas admiring Victor Raul
Haya de la Torre, founder and leader of APRA discussed above. Bebevidas is
talking to a picture of the revolutionary leader and praising him for being so
popular and for doing what he had hoped to achieve in Peru: "has hecho lo
que yo hubiera deseado hacer en mi Patria: . . . eres la gloria más pura que
ha salido de vientre de madre peruana ..." (Bedoya, El general . . . 284).
In a manner atypical of traditional vampire stories, the vampire in Bedoya's
novel does not get his preferred victim in person, only a photographic, two-
dimensional image from which he cannot remove blood to survive. Instead,
the vampire in this story lives off the blood of innocent young men in a
continual drunken stupor as a "borracho consuetudinario" (Bedoya, El general
__ 283).
From the beginning of this work, unstable human relations appear
consistently through the story. As the novel opens, Luis (Lucho) González
and Jorge Herrera react to the "anónimo" that Luis received telling him that
his lover Julia is to appear with someone else at a specific place. Luis
interprets the note as a reaction against his unsanctioned affair with Julia
that, like infidelity or "cualquier amorío," society does not tolerate; he tells

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Jorge that his affair with Julia has outcast him: "Si tú escamoteas estos
trámites, quiere decir que te declaras en rebeldía, que tomas el camino de
campo traviesa, y que debes ser considerado como un enemigo de la
sociedad" (Bedoya, Fl general . . . 20-21). Their affair is what others in
Peruvian sociey do not dare because of its scandalous nature.
Instead of beginning his novel with the politics of Bebevidas, Bedoya
immediately places emphasis on the affair between Luis and Julia as an act
that Peruvian bourgeois society does not tolerate nor does it acknowledge
even though the potential for such a romance is always present. Similar to
the mysterious threat of the vampire who hides until it attacks, these
amorous liaisons between Luis and Julia dare to express the impossible: they
are capable of "llegar a hacer lo que los demás, deseándolo como ellos, no se
atrevían, por miedo a la intrusión del 'qué dirán'" (Bedoya, El general . . .
24). Ten years his senior, Julia possesses a dangerous but seductive power
over Luis capable of sinfully mesmerizing him, "una magnífica hembra
pecadora, una sublime Eva paradisíaca" (Bedoya, El general . . . 26). The
parish priest Padre Crecencio is not immune from the tempting powers of
passion either, as his secret desires to marry Encarnación Pérez are revealed
at a party: "no tengo inconveniente en declarar que ahorcaría los hábitos, en
la primera alcayata que encontrase al paso, con tal de contraer matrimonio
con la señora Encarnación Pérez" (Bedoya, El general . . . 31). Margarita, or
Margocha as she is known to the boarders of her rooming house, is an ardent

123
supporter of the Partido. In her attempt at convincing Encarnita to sway
Padre Crecencio romantically, she tells her that their amorous alliance can
only help the cause and adds that "Las mujeres listas hacen lo que quieren de
los hombres enamorados" (Bedoya, El general . . . 1 56), something that
most female characters in the novel are capable of doing as they are affected
by love and passion but utilize it as well. Eventually, Encarnación causes
Padre Crecencio to leave the priesthood: "la elocuencia de su palabra y la
emoción de sus gestos habían terminado por dar el golpe de gracia a los
hábitos del padre Crecencio ..." (Bedoya, El general . . . 269) who
becomes an ardent supporter of the Partido.
In addition to his affair with the wife of one of Bebevidas' important
supporters, Luis is suspected of being a traitor within the Partido, but he
claims that he is victim of mysterious forces as "Algo infernal, una intriga
maquiavélica se cierne sobre todo esto para perderme" (Bedoya, El general . .
*_ 65) despite the fact that Garcés, a fellow Partido member, believes his
innocence as far as being a traitor goes and tells him that his affair with Julia
is not a secret and therefore potentially dangerous: "el Partido está enterado
de sus relaciones con una señora, cuyo marido tiene servicios de alto
espionaje favorables al Gobierno" (Bedoya, El general . . . 67) of Bebevidas,
a fact that proves to be the ultimate downfall of the Partido as a viable
opposition.

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At first, Luis and Julia connect only on a sexual, passionate level,
unrepresentative of a married couple whose union is defined by sharing a
household: "Yo nunca he dormido en su casa, ni ella en la mía. Nos hemos
pasado las horas amándonos locamente, delirantemente ..." (Bedoya, £1
general . . . 71).
Driven to spy on Julia because of the anonymous note, Luis learns that
Julia and her husband have been meeting secretly at a small house. Unsure
of their motive, Luis feels betrayed and victimized by Julia whom he
describes in terms of bites and deadly fluids: "aquella sirena embrujada ... le
mordía los flancos del corazón como si fuera el alicate ponzoñoso y dentado
de la mordadura de un áspid" (Bedoya, El general . . . 76). Disguised as a
chauffer, Luis picks up Julia after a meeting with her husband, and near the
ocean's edge intent on killing her for being a spy suddenly attacks her
sexually like a vampire: "La besó una y mil veces, rompiéndole los labios en
succiones de vampiro enloquecido" (Bedoya, El general . . . 85) in an
episode very strange in nature and uncommon, "más extraño y superagudo
que puede imaginar la mente humana" (Bedoya, El general . . . 85), the
reaction most commonly associated with the confrontation in literature
between vampire and victim. Her reaction is completely unexpected,
creating "una extrañísima sensación. Ella, también, había creído que aquel
hombre desconocido abrigaba el propósito de robarla, de matarla . . . "
(Bedoya, El general . . . 85-86). This episode demonstrates the surprise and

125
"very strange sensation" that the veiled and clandestine attacks (in the form
of "soplones" or informers) with which the Bebevidas regime controls the
Peruvian citizens. Julia's wide-eyed disbelief in someone supposedly ready
to rob and murder her also offers insight into an important aspect of the
vampire lover: it is someone shocking and familiar at the same time who
depends as much on the victim as the victim depends on the assailant.
Energized by his attack, Julia turns on Luis and the roles are reversed, he
now the victim: "Su boca de vampiresa le selló los labios en la forma voraz
con que ella solía hacerlo, y no hubo más remedio que obedecer. De otro
lado, Luis estaba sintiendo el peso de una terrible fátiga nerviosa y muscular"
(Bedoya, El general . . . 88), the male now suffering from the attack of the
female, an indication of reversal in the novel of roles assumed to be rigid.
All of part six in the novel deals with their encounter at the Balneario
where Julia offers Luis the best food and drinks available. In this part of the
novel, Julia also reveals to Luis her past history. Her parents died when she
was eighteen, and Julia married Colonel Solonio, a wealthy war hero injured
by a grenade explosion that left him sterile, a fact that ruined their marriage
since he "no cumplía con sus más elementales deberes de esposo" (Bedoya,
El general . . . 98). They split up but eventually agree to continue to meet
secretly at their house on San Pablo Street, the locale from which Luis had
seen her leaving accompanied by her estranged husband. Instead of an
amorous connection as husband and wife, the colonel and Julia shared

126
strictly financial ties: they each guard half of the secret combination of a safe
that contains a large amount of jewels and cash. The house in which the
safe is located is next to where Luis and the leader of the Partido meet to
discuss strategy against the Bebevidas regime. Luis had reason to suspect
that Julia was a spy for the regime, but she assures him that Solonio had
revealed the Partido's plans to Bebevidas' police force and not her. Her
affection for Solonio is purely superficial; as she admits to Luis, "Siempre me
habían interesado los hombres que doman la popularidad. Por eso me prendé
de mi marido, de quien la sociedad de París y Londres se hacía lenguas por su
compartimiento en la Gran Guerra" (Bedoya, El general . . . 109), their
impression of him encouraged by his acts and not his true self. In contrast,
Julia is attracted to Luis because he is capable of enjoying Julia for who she
is, something she was denied during her nonsexual experiences with the
colonel, even though Luis is "demasiado estremecido por el deseo,
demasiado ciego con la venda del amor prohibido ..." (Bedoya, El general .
110), a fact she openly welcomes. When Colonel Solonio eventually
dies, Julia does not feel true sadness for him but rather for the loss of the
Partido in its struggle against the regime: "a pesar del luto riguroso por la
muerte de su marido, para salvar las apariencias, sólo le importaba el dolor de
la derrota" (Bedoya, El general . . . 274) of the Partido. Her marriage with
the colonel was only cursory; her true devotions lie with the Partido.

127
Julia has contacts with persons whom Luis has never met before, a
new existence that has a curious and hypnotizing effect on him: "la
revelación de un mundo nuevo le deslumbró" (Bedoya, El general . . . 137)
and introduced him into a new reality. Despite the newness and marvel of
this new life, it is through Julia and her friends at her home the Villa Pandora
that they are able to create a resistance against the regime of Bebevidas. In
their efforts to battle the dictator, they are a group at the edge of existence
capable of operating when and where they please, a small band of fighters
created by the vampire/dictator as mentioned above.
For Julia's domestic employee Odette, love is also a transforming
force. She is in love with Franz Schultz, a German national who supports the
Partido. For the two women, love has changed them: "sin el mayor esfuerzo
ni sacrificio, hemos transformado nuestras existencias desde el punta [sic] de
vista del amor" (Bedoya, El general . . . 109). The political endeavors of
Luis and the Partido members transform Julia, but love and passion have a
much stronger effect on her: "Diríase que desde hacía mucho tiempo [que
Luís] le acompañaba en sus doctrinas e ideologías. No de otro modo se le
habría explicado, a no ser que ignorase los milagros que el amor produce"
(Bedoya. El general . . . 146).
Marta Silvestri, a friend of Julia, married for money and did not remain
faithful to her husband, a wealthy Italian shopkeeper. After her nuptials
"Toda una historia de saltos acrobáticos en los arrabales del Código de la

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moral cristiana" (Bedoya, El general . . . 180) determined her existence,
similar to that of Julia. For Marta, men in love are nothing more that
deceivers of women, but John Lee, another Partido supporter, thinks
differently. Women such as Julia are destructive when it comes to questions
of love, and think nothing of smashing men like glass: "las mujeres como
usted . . . deben sentir la necesidad de destruir a cada hombre que las ame,
como los emperadores romanos que rompían los vasos, después de beber en
ellos ..." (Bedoya, El general . . . 188). Destructive drinking can be linked
to the act of the vampire instead of the Roman emperors to better fit with
the imagery of this novel.
A different perspective on relationships comes from the journalist
Manuel (Manolo) Montoya who sees men as polygamous creatures by nature,
not restricted to stay with one mate. Love is a superior force not to be
altered with monogamy: "Eternizarse en el amor de una sola mujer, es
traicionar al amor superior que debemos sentir por el Amor. Por eso la
naturaleza nos ha hecho esencialmente polígamos, como lo son todos los
animales machos de la creación" (Bedoya, El general . . . 188). Love and
marriage are not related according to Montoya, and his interpretation defends
the actions of both Julia and Marta in the novel. Accordingly, marriage is
simply a legal agreement that is imposed by society and culture; attempting
to fuse love and marriage is like carrying water in a basket: "por muy
previstas y legalizadas que estén las trabazones de las junturas

129
matrimoniales, el sutil y volátil elixir del amor acabará por escaparse"
(Bedoya, Fl general . . . 190) and search for new recipients.
In part fourteen Julia shares with Luis her suspicion that Villa Pandora
is being spied upon by Pedro Vargas. The conversation turns to their
conflicting views about their status as a couple. For Luis, marriage is an
unstable concept: "yo creo que el matrimonio es la tumba del amor" (Bedoya,
El general . . . 209), and he believes their union, not sanctified by marriage,
is far more meaningful than matrimony defined by such concepts. Her
willingness to help others in the Partido is more important: "¿cómo no habría
de sentir adoración por esa amante extraordinaria de belleza de alma y de
belleza de cuerpo, que vibraba con él, que sentía con él, que se quemaba con
él en las hogueras de la emancipación redentora de los desheredados de la
fortuna?" (Bedoya, El general . . . 212-13). In addition to the burning
passion of sexual love (a component of their relationship anyway) Luis feels
the same sensations toward her ideological stance and her commitment to
party causes. Julia also sees the conventions of marriage
(husband/wife/lover) as a puzzle: as she tells Luis, "vas a ser el marido de tu
amante, o el amante de su mujer. Que para el caso es siempre una paradoja
. . . " (Bedoya, El general . . . 210).
In part fifteen, the engineer Pablo Vargas is involved in an altercation
with Marta Silvestri, friend of Julia's mentioned above, in which she
mistakes his advances as driven by sexual impulses. He falls and hits his

130
head against a china cabinet in her residence. Manuel Montoya and Marta
believe he is dead, and throw him into the sea. He is still alive, and much to
their horror, regains consciousness. This episode involves life and death and
revival of the dead, the common characteristic of the vampire figure. But
who is vampire and who is victim? According to Montoya, Marta is to blame,
as would be all women in her position: "Sin duda alguna usted provocó a
Pablo de tal modo que éste no pudo menos que enardecerse .... Marta, el
pobre Pablo ha sido víctima de su lujuria hipócrita y de su inexperiencia con
las coqueterías femeniles ..." (Bedoya, El general . . . 219), but as Pablo
regains consciousness and is resuscitated, Manolo realizes the severity of his
and Marta's actions: "Impulsado por esta fuerza ciega e irresistible, se hizo
cómplice sumiso de Marta y se dispuso a ayudarla en su maniobra infernal.
¡Oh, qué fondo más inescrutable el de las pasiones humanas!" (Bedoya, £1
general . . . 225), another testimony to the dangerously seductive power of
love and passion as it victimizes him.
In the following section of the novel, Marta and Julia are visited by
Vargas, a shock that sends Marta into paroxysms of fear that the dead return
from their graves. She screams to Julia as she hears Vargas' voice on the
phone: "hemos sentido esa voz como si fuera la voz del muerto ... Es el
eco de la ultratumba" (Bedoya, El general . . . 229). Manolo Montoya
reveals to Marta that in a reversal of roles she had been victimized by an
undead Vargas who, "por hacer algo sensacional, es capaz de haber utilizado

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el teléfono para dar un golpe de teatro y dejarlas 'muertas' a ustedes dos que
le creen muerto. Pero está vivo, sano ..." (Bedoya, El general . . . 230).
Like the vampire who frightens his victims, Vargas is believed to be dead
when in fact he is "alive, healthy" and capable of inciting extreme dread.
In part sixteen Julia reveals to Luis that she is pregnant with his child
who will be raised in the beliefs of the Partido. As she tells Luis, "sólo
comprendo que . . . me has devuelto a la vida, y que yo, en pago, te
devuelvo, a mi vez, otra vida por la vida que me diste" (Bedoya, El general . .
266). Julia returns a life to Luis (their child) in exchange for the life he has
given her. This transfer of fluid (semen) from Luis to Julia does not remove
life as occurs between vampire and victims but instead generates a new one,
vampirism with a positive, life-fulfilling outcome. As Luis reflects on his
approaching fatherhood he also sees the Partido as an equally productive
force in Julia's life: "si bien él la había reingresado a la naturaleza, el Partido
la había santificado con sus doctrinas redentoras" (Bedoya, El general . . .
268). Her "return to nature" is nothing more than her first experience with a
man in a loving, child-producing relationship, an existence she was denied by
her sterile and dead husband.
One of the figures in the novel is the journalist Manuel Montoya whose
last name closely resembles that of the author (Manuel Bedoya), an indication
that this novel is Bedoya's autobiograhical account or confession of his time
during the Benavides regime; as the novel closes, Montoya is listed among

132
the characters who "pudieron salvarse, sea burlando la acción de la policía, o
en el destierro ..." (Bedoya, El general . . . 285) where Bedoya spent the
last years of his life. In this novel, Bedoya harshly criticizes the political
violence of the Benavides regime, and his development of human
relationships in the novel indicates how vampirism is a suitable metaphor for
both since they are human systems. As Bedoya had indicated in his work El
otro Caín . . . . he has fulfilled his responsibility as a writer in El general
Bebevidas: to point out "aquello que está en la conciencia de todos, pero que
nadie acierta a concretar en el cuerpo compacto de una acusación" (Bedoya,
El otro Caín . . . 53).
Manuel Bedoya adds the reality of a Latin American dictatorial regime
to the vampire story in a work that resembles the tedious and drawn-out
aspect of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula. The combination of a frightening
dictatorship with the aspect of potential vampirism in human relationships
creates a re-telling of the vampire myth that goes beyond Northrop Frye's
definition of myth to include "projections of human fear" (Kellogg and
Scholes 219) as well as human desire. Bedoya wrote El otro Caín . . .
probably just subsequent to 1933 when Benavides first became dictator of
Peru; his novel El general Bebevidas demonstrates how the end/death of one
dictator (Sánchez Cerro) resurrects in the form of another (Benavides), similar
to the vampire figure in its cycle of birth, death, and re-birth. In the
transformation of myth over time in literature as "the expression in story

133
form of deep-rooted human concerns, fears, and aspirations, the plots of
mythic tales are a storehouse of narrative correlatives . . . guaranteed to
reach an audience and move them deeply" (Kellogg and Scholes 220), the
same effect Bedoya had achieved in both his interpretations of turbulent
years in Peruvian political history.

CHAPTER 4
FI VAMPIRO BY JOSÉ ABIMAEL PINZÓN
When Jonathan Harker finally reaches Count Dracula's castle in the
opening part of Bram Stoker's 1 897 novel Dracula. he writes in his diary how
he is almost seduced and victimized by three female vampires. In one of his
rare appearances in the novel, Count Dracula forcefully interrupts this sexual
liaison and viciously declares to the three women "'How dare you cast eyes
on him when I had forbidden it? Back, I tell you all! This man belongs to
me!.." (Stoker 47). As the vampire count looks at Harker, he "said in a
whisper [to the three female vampires]: 'Yes, I too can love; you yourselves
can tell it from the past. Is it not so? Well, now I promise you that when I
am done with him you shall kiss him at your will ..." (Stoker 47). Harker's
journal entry for the following day tells how he wakes and his "clothes were
folded and laid by in a manner which was not my habit" (Stoker 49).
Despite the fact that Dracula feeds on Harker's blood, what happens
between the two men is never revealed to the reader.
Thomas Byers has observed the importance of this episode in revealing
"that vampirism is a sexual activity" (Byers 149), but he does not identify
what kind of sexual activity. Byers describes how Dracula reprimands the
three women for taking what is his, "promises them that they shall have
134

135
Harker later, and . . . gives them a present--a baby. They immediately take it
and disappear" (Byers 149). If Byers' conclusion about the novel Dracula is
correct, that as an interpretation of the vampire myth "it [the novel] leads us
to recognize precisely those historical and political actualities it strives to
conceal" (Byers 1 56) or keep off the written page such as group sex or
homosexual activity hinted at in the above episode, then more attention
toward the discourses of other human sexual activities in vampire narratives
is required. As another critic notes, "this failure to integrate sexuality, and to
project it instead onto Satanism . . . renders the novel fDraculal finally
worthy only of the appellation 'popular literature.' There is no growth
towards self-knowledge, no integration or acknowledgment of interior forces.
All sexuality is relegated to the vampires" (Demetrakopoulos 111) and
human sexuality is ignored. James Twitchell's observes that the lack of an
active sexual discourse in the vampire myth is how sexuality appears in the
myth overall: "sex without genitals, sex without confusion, sex without
responsibility, sex without guilt, sex without love-better yet, sex without
mention" (Twitched, "The Vampire Myth" 88). As another critic states.
Stoker's novel is silent about sexuality: "The text resists the 'temptation' of
spelling out any notion of sexuality, for which ... it lacks any developed
terms of description ... as if the narrative itself takes a certain delight in
resistance" to sexual discourse (Pick 75).

136
This chapter of the dissertation supports the critical thesis that the
vampire figure and sexuality1 are often expressed together as a violent
combination, and, as Michel Foucault says of sexuality since the eighteenth
century, placed into discourse (Foucault, The History . . . 23). The violence
in José Abimael Pinzón's novel El vampiro (1956) is a reflection of the
repercussions felt across Colombia after the aggressive "bogotazo" on April
9, 1948 when Jorge Eliécer Gaitán was assassinated on a Bogotá street. It
1 Many critics explore the potential between vampirism and the various expressions of
sexuality. Sue-Ellen Case, in "Tracking the Vampire," Differences: A Journal of Feminist
Cultural Studies 3.2 (1991): 1-20, argues for a queer discourse that recovers what the
heterosexual paradigm has refused in human sexuality. For Case, the possibility of "new
forms of being..." is achieved through a "queer discourse that reveled in proscribed desiring
by imagining sexual objects and sexual practices within the realm of the other-than-natural,
and the consequent other-than-living..." (4) figure of the vampire. John Allen Stevenson, in
"A Vampire in the Mirror: The Sexuality of Dracula," PM LA 103.2 (March 1988): 139-49,
discusses the non-incestual potential of Bram Stoker's Count Dracula. Although Stevenson
supports the presence of violence against women in Stoker's 1897 narrative, he indicates
that "the ironic thing about vampire sexuality is that...it is in many ways very like human
sexuality, but human sexuality in which the psychological or metaphoric becomes physical
or literal" (142). For Stevenson, the bisexuality of the vampire figure "is both strange and
familiar, both an overt peculiarity to be seen and dreaded and a reflection to be repressed"
(146). For Joyce Carol Oates, "Dracula (Tod Browning, 1931): The Vampire's Secret,"
Southwest Review 76.4 (Autumn 1991): 498-510, vampirism remains heterosexual with
numerous physical conquests: "the [vampire] story is an erotic fantasy in which the
Stranger...seduces one too-trusting woman, and then the other, beneath the noses of their
male keepers" (504). Oates contends that vampirism represents a shocking attractiveness;
"It is the subtle, suggestive, disturbing appeal of the vampire that makes of the Dracula
legend a very different fantasy from...that of the werewolf or the golem...whose grotesque
physical appearance is sheerly repugnant and could never be construed as 'seductive'"
(505, emphasis in original). James Twitched, in The Living Dead: A Study of the Vampire in
Romantic Literature (Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1981), discusses how Sheridan Le Fanu's 1872
"Carmilla" is somewhat of an inspiration for contemporary female vampire movies. This
story is different from earlier versions of the vampire tale because it presents a "lesbian
entanglement, a story of the sterile love of homosexuality expressed through the analogy of
vampirism" (129). in "Dracula: Stoker's Response to the New Woman," Victorian Studies
26.1 (Autumn 1982): 33-49, Carol Senf notes that vampire sexuality is free from the
confinements of human sexuality. She writes: "The vampire, dead yet intensely sexual,
defies both natural law and society's restrictions and therefore manages to escape many of
the limitations which affect human beings" (39). Carol Fry, in "Fictional Conventions and
Sexuality in Dracula," Victorian Newsletter 42 (Fall 1972): 20-22, agrees as well that
"vampire lore has much in common with human sexuality" (22).

137
also develops a startling image of the sexual activity going on in
Bucaramangan society during the years following Gaitán's murder. Pinzón's
narrative connects the journalistic discourse of violence with a novelistic
version of the vampire myth to produce a violent vampire story that gives
graphic detail about sex "based upon relationships where one partner is
largely under the control of the other; sex which almost inevitably leads to
some bad end."2 For Pinzón, vampirism is the several types of hidden sexual
activity in Bucaramanga; from the homosexuality and prostitution in the
upper classes to the rapes and murders of three boys from working class
families, El vampiro demonstrates how "the relations between vampires and
their prey are an extremely potent symbol for characterizing even the
ordinary ties of dependency that bind individuals together in civilized society"
(Frayling 33).
There are two notable strategies in Pinzón's novel. First, through the
combination of newspaper articles and a novelistic structure that ultimately
raises the potential for journalistic discourse to narrate events, the work
presents the often hidden and mostly violent sexuality within the vampire
story. Second, Pinzón gives a vivid retelling of the sweeping effects of La
Violencia in the province of Santander, Colombia, through this same
2 Stephen King, Danse Macabre (New York: Berkeley Books, 1981) 68. King's comment is
important because within the vampire myth is the destructive capability of sexuality. Even
though his book focuses on the Anglo-American tradition of the vampire in literature and
film, his comment is applicable to Pinzón's narrative.

138
discourse.3 Pinzón's novel depicts the violent murders of three adolescent
boys through/as sketchy retellings of murders that took place in February of
1955 in Bucaramanga, Colombia. Pinzón names the novel after a secondary
character (the "vampire" is Francisco Gáscaro, a low-profile medical
secretary working for Dr. Evaristo Nuncira, the investigator of the case) but
develops the main story lines around other characters, a technique of Bram
Stoker and two other Latin American authors, Froylán Turcios and Manuel
Bedoya, whose works are named after the vampire figures who appear
significantly few times during the novel.
The action of the novel takes place in Bucaramanga (he tells the reader
twice that the work is based on events that occurred there) (Pinzón 6, 305),
but it is not limited to a Colombian locale to be effective social criticism.
Pinzón writes that the novel "no queda circunscrita a una localidad, sino al
universo del CRIMEN y de la INJUSTICIA SOCIAL,"4 thus making the novel
an adequate work with which to examine human behavior. Since violence is
the key issue in this novel, this chapter includes some thoughts about
violence and its relationship to testimonial writing by Ariel Dorfman who sees
3 See Laura Restrepo, "Niveles de realidad en la literatura de la 'violencia' colombiana',"
Once ensayos sobre La Violencia, ed. Martha Cárdenas (Bogotá: Fondo Editorial CEREC,
1985) 119-69, for comments regarding the evolution of the narrative about La Violencia in
Colombia. Restrepo observes how early works become less dramatic representations of
violence: the "'Inventarios' de muertos y horrores, registrados por las primeras denuncias,
que buscaban enardecer conciencias con la presentación de corte naturalista de los hechos,
cedieron ante los escritos que abandonaron las circunstancias más explícitas..." (126).
4 Pinzón 5. Pinzón contrasts words spelled with all capital letters with lower-case ones to
highlight his reference to the eye-catching potential of sensationalist newsprint.

139
the role of literature in Latin America as a way to question powerful and
many times violent reality, for "only an exploration of the ways in which our
contemporary fiction subverts prevalent power, or submits to it, can reveal
that fiction's true character."5
In one chapter of his book Some Write to the Future (1 991), Dorfman
outlines the formation of a written body of testimonial "voices" that describe
the horrors of post-1973 Chile under Augusto Pinochet. The reporting of
violence in contemporary Chilean testimonial literature has a strong
resemblance to how Pinzón interprets the newspaper accounts of a murder
that occurred during the years of La Violencia in Bucaramanga, Colombia.
Pinzón read about this event and then, like the compiler of a testimony, "took
5 Ariel Dorfman, Some Write to the Future: Essays on Contemporary Latin American Fiction
(Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1991) xii. Dorfman's comments are appropriate for a discussion
here about the effects of violence since he has published, among novels, plays, and short
stories, a collection of essays on Latin American writers and the relation between death and
violence in their texts called Imaginación v violencia en América (Santiago: Editorial
Universitaria, 1970). This publication is important because he states that narrative violence
goes against established norms of content and form representing an attack against "la
estructura misma del universo en que el lector descansaba su mirada...." (36). Dorfman
uses vampiristic imagery to describe violence: "Detrás de los dientes que muerden está
escondido el hombre" (31-32) and "la violencia es un lento desangramiento interior" (33).
Recently, Dorfman's play Death and the Maiden was released as a major motion picture
starring Ben Kingsley and Sigourney Weaver as torturer and victim, respectively, whose
roles of power that existed within an unidentified South American dictatorship are reversed
or, as Dorfman says in the text above, subverted. One critic identifies (the film rendition of)
the play as "a sadomasochistic love story that locks torturer and victim together in a
chillingly intimate spiritual embrace" (Owen Gleiberman, "With a Vengeance," Entertainment
Weekly 260 [February 3, 1995): 33). Dorfman's current status as a critic of the power of
multiculturalism in Latin American literature is underscored by David William Foster who
claims that Dorfman's The Empire's Old Clothes: What the Lone Ranger. Babar. and Other
Innocent Heroes Do to Our Minds (1983) "is actually not concerned with Spanish-language
texts but the consumption in Latin America of translations of foreign texts and the
consumption through them of abiding imperialist models" (David William Foster, Cultural
Diversity in Latin American Literature [Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1994]
93).

140
the risk of sitting down and searching for the written words that would give
expression to what [he] had to articulate, and later . . . circulated it in the
form of a manuscript or a mimeograph copy or even as a book-the
transposition of that enclosed episode ..." (Dorfman 134) of violence in
his city.
John Beverly defines the testimony as "a novel- or novella-length
narrative told in the first person by a narrator who is also the real-life
protagonist or witness oí tbs events qe she narrates" (Beverly, "'Through
All Things Modern...'" 125-26, my emphasis). Like Dorfman, Beverly also
includes in the genre someone like Pinzón "who then edits and textualizes
the account, making it available as a printed book or pamphlet to a . . .
national and international reading public" (Beverly, "'Through All Things
Modern...'" 128). By turning to newspaper accounts of an event, Pinzón
incorporates an accessible mass-produced literary form into the telling of a
regional event of La Violencia and makes it public. With its many
typographical errors, the cheap paper onto which it is printed, and the use of
the highly popular vampire figure to portray the violence of Colombia, the
novel exists as a popular literary artefact "located at the intersection of the
cultural forms of bourgeois humanism-like literature and the printed book,
engendered by the academy and colonialism and imperialism-and subaltern
cultural forms" (Beverly, "'Through All Things Modern...'"
135) that are

141
accessible to a wider, less culturally-integrated reading public that the book
seems to target.
Pinzón's career is not well documented by critics of Colombian
literature. In addition to El vampiro, published in 1956, he has a sketchy
publication record. His other book, Las frutas de la venganza, does not carry
a place of publication or a date. It is the story of the conflict between two
powerful families involved in the fruit industry in Colombia but does not carry
any message of vampirism. El vampiro, however, is divided into forty five
chapters, prefaced by the "Aclaración" (Declaration) by the author. Each
chapter consists of several unnumbered sections which alternate the dialogue
between characters and the omniscient narration describing the events as
they occur. After the last chapter of the novel is the "Explicación y
reconocimiento" (Explanation and Recognition) in which the author claims
that the novel portrays events that occured in Bucaramanga in the province
of Santander in 1955. In this same space he recognizes and thanks the
employees of a Medical-Legal office who provided him with the technical
framework for his novel, a complex but interesting contribution to the
vampire story in contemporary Latin American literature.
In his recent book about journalism and narrative in Spanish American
fiction, Aníbal González indicates that Latin American writers involve
journalistic discourse into their works as a way to comment about social

142
reality,6 and argues for a closer examination of the impact of journalism on
Spanish American narrative fiction. Pinzón's novel El vampiro provides a
suitable frame with which to examine the development of a narrative
discourse through journalistic techniques. Pinzón's narrative depicts a
characteristic of Spanish American modernity that González highlights as "a
violence that must be exerted and renewed periodically upon a milieu that
actively or passively rejects it" (González, Journalism... 3).
The murders in FI vampiro are unique because the killer writes the
word "vampiro" (the Spanish word for vampire) on his victims' bodies after
having sex with them. Closely connected with the search for the murderer
are excerpts from newspapers and/or comments that either support or
oppose the investigation, a process that slowly reveals the identity of the
killer/vampire. Pinzón utilizes newspaper articles as the source of his story
and incorporates into his novel commentary about the press and what they
do and do not allow to appear. The presence of three different texts in
Pinzón's narrative-the novel itself, the newspaper articles, and the word
"vampiro" on the dead bodies-throws into question the meaning of textual
Aníbal González, Journalism and The Development of Spanish American Narrative
(Cambridge, England: Cambridge UP, 1993). Chapter One of González's book introduces
the topic. In chapters two through four respectively he examines the following authors and
their works: José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi, El Periquillo Sarniento (1816), Domingo
Faustino Sarmiento, Facundo, o Civilización v barbarie (1845), Ricardo Palma, Tradiciones
peruanas (1872-83). Chapter five looks at the Spanish American Modernists' close tie to
journalism. In chapter six González provides commentaries on Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel
García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Elena Poniatowska and their status as writers
influenced by journalistic discourse.

143
authority: whose "text" is the reader to believe? That is, to what extent can
Pinzón's novel be an accurate mirror of Colombian society during La Violencia
when "el vampiro" emanates from three different sources? Is it possible to
draw direct parallels between vampirism and human activity when in this
novel the belief in vampires appears as sensationalist journalism?7
In Pinzón's novel the definition of the vampire is left to the reader.
Consistent differences in the text require close attention and continual reader
speculation as to the vampire's identity. After the autopsy on one of the
murder victims presumably killed by Francisco Gáscaro, Dr. Evaristo Nuncira
notes that "'El cadáver está sin una gota de sangre; parece que lo mató para
chuparlo . . . [¿]ve esta herida del cuello?'" (Pinzón 124). Before he is finally
apprehended and publicly labelled as "El vampiro," Gáscaro's last attack is
quite different than the one earlier postulated by Evaristo: "El criminal
«Vampiro» cayó sobre la víctima de la prueba y con una de sus garras le
cubrió la boca en tanto que con la otra se propuso estrangularle" (Pinzón
302). In a similar fashion, his actions do not directly reflect the newspaper
article that initially informs the people of Bucaramanga that a vampire is
among them: "Aparece con las primeras sombras de la noche y deja como
7 Twitchell notes that the combination of fact with fiction via newsprint is present during
the early nineteenth century in Edgar Allen Poe's story "Berenice" (1835), his first attempt
to draw the vampire into a tale that is based on newspaper reports of grave robbers. Poe
was part of "the first generation [of writers] to find in its newspapers that life indeed did
imitate art, and so when Poe made premature burial and grave robbing central, he was not
doing anything new but rather carrying 'imitation' to a new level..." (The Living Dead...
59).

144
huellas cascos de cabra y un intenso olor a azufre en el ambiente por donde
pasa" (Pinzón 7). These subtle discrepancies in the text leave room for the
reader to construct a vampire figure based on presented material as well as
information from the vampire myth that Pinzón incorporates into his text.
Pinzón demonstrates how fact and fiction together in the same space
produce powerful social commentary, a technique that parallels Bram
Stoker's use of imbedded journalistic narratives (newspaper articles, eye¬
witness accounts, diary entries, recordings) to establish the paradigm of
accounting for the vampire myth within the framework of Victorian society in
Dracula. As Stoker extensively researched Eastern European history to
provide the verisimilitude of his novel Dracula. Pinzón admits that he worked
diligently "con la imaginación buscando cuál debía ser el personaje central y
su ubicación, desde dónde pudiera enfocar todas las situaciones y
complicaciones de la trama en los diferentes problemas sociales que debía
exponer" (Pinzón 305). His narrative focuses on the mythic figure of the
vampire as a way to examine social problems, and the driving force of the
story centers around writing about violent acts. Because of its sweeping
ability to describe basic human actions, the vampiristic imagery in Pinzón's
novel depicts his region's cultural struggle with La Violencia as well.
At the beginning of the novel, Pinzón carefully explains to the reader
that his work is not an historical document; "Es una Novela ficticia; no una
Historia novelada" (Pinzón 6). The two words the author emphasizes with

145
capitalization are "novel" and "history," or "story," respectively. In this
work, Pinzón combines historical facts within a novelistic structure, but he
exonerates himself from any coincidence between those actual events and
what is in the novel for two reasons. Pinzón believes that a writer has every
right to "escoger un tema cualquiera y elaborar de él su obra" (Pinzón 6) and
also that his role as a journalist grants him the ability to fictionalize facts
taken from published chronicles: "hice la historia de tales hechos en crónicas
publicadas en el periódico EL FRENTE ..." (Pinzón 6). To demonstrate that
the novel is inspired by real events, however, he dedicates the novel to the
mothers "que perdieron sus hijos por un monstruo que llama «El Vampiro»"
(Pinzón 6), the criminal about whom the novel is based.
Pinzón's interpretation of Colombian violence does not center around
the capital province of Bogotá but brings together the urban elements of
violent and deviant sexual behavior, adultery, prostitution, and drugs into
play in rural Colombia. David Block has observed the predominance of
publications about La Violencia in Bogotá. Pinzón's novel minimalizes Block's
fear that "por causa del sistema de distribución subdesarrollado de Colombia,
la investigación de La Violencia esté limitada a aquellas obras publicadas en
la capital ..." (Block 47) and allows a regional interpretation of the
phenomenon as well as a point of departure for the development of an
alternative discourse in Colombian as well as Latin American narrative
literature: homoerotic sexuality. Instead of setting a male vampire against a

146
female victim, Pinzón develops homosexuality as the bridge between vampire
and victim, a technique developed by two other Latin American writers of
vampire stories, Manuel Bedoya and Luis Zapata.
El vampiro opens with a newspaper article telling about a mysterious
figure chasing young boys and “extendiendo sus alas de murciélago grande"
(Pinzón 7), suggesting a big vampire bat. (Later in the novel, the narrator
specifies that the article appeared "en uno de los diarios de mayor circulación
. . . en la cual se daba cuenta de la aparición de un monstruo ultra-terreno
por el sector de «La Rosita»" (Pinzón 153), a prominent house of
prostitution.) Dr. Evaristo Nuncira is attempting to explain to his friend
Carlos Fariño that the primary goal of this article is to relate "que un
degenerado sexual persigue a los menores y por tal actitud lo llamen
«Vampiro»" (Pinzón 8); in this fashion, sexual degeneracy or perversity is
presented as a function of the vampire and not of humans. The article
describes the vampire with mythic elements of vampire lore, obviously
researched by Pinzón for the novel: "fue condenado a reanimar por fuerza
diabólica su cadáver periódicamente y escapar de la tumba para privar a
jóvenes de su sangre y cobrar así vitalidad" (Pinzón 8). Fariño fears that this
article will convince "a la inmensa mayoría de lectores del periódico,
fanáticos creyentes en endriagos, duendes y vampiros ..." (Pinzón 8) that
such a being is an actual threat to society; as he states, he hopes that this
type of writing "no es más que literatura" (Pinzón 9). But Evaristo contends

147
that illicit and violent sexual acts relate to the vampire figure quite well
without resorting to fiction: "[el vampiro] sí puede ser un ser humano, pero
que por causa de su depravación moral se ha hecho acreedor a ese apodo"
(Pinzón 9), confirming what Pinzón had stated earlier: society is guilty of
crimes, not those who form society.8
This opening conflict between Evaristo Nuncira and Carlos Fariño in
Pinzón's narrative points to the primary force of the vampire in literature: the
potential of violent and hidden sexuality as an "active" discourse. In
Pinzón's novel, the denied and concealed discourse of aggressive sexuality
confronts true sexual drives and identities in a subversive fashion because
what is hidden from view often reveals the most; as one critic notes about
the official documentary literature regarding La Violencia in Colombia, "the
word ['violence'] fulfils a particular ideological function: to conceal the social
content or the class effects of the political crisis" (Sánchez, "La Violencia . .
. " 792) while commenting on that same content.
There is a broad preoccupation in Colombian literature with La
Violencia9 that appeared after the assassination of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán in
8 Pinzón 5, my translation of: "Vo no acuso al HOMBRE de sus crímenes, sino a la
pavorosa SOCIEDAD delincuente," the underlying message of Stoker's novel as well.
9 See Marino Troncoso, "De la novela en La Violencia a la novela de La Violencia: 1959-
1960 (hacia un proyecto de investigación)," Violencia v literatura en Colombia, ed.
Johnathan Tittler (Madrid: Ediciones Orígenes, 1989), 31-40, who agrees that literature
about La Violencia "parte de los acontecimientos de 1947 previos al asesinato de Jorge
Eliécer Gaitán..." (33). Restrepo (see note 13 above) notes that the first works thematically
tied to La Violencia are deficient from a literary point of view but "por primera vez en
Colombia la literatura, en forma generalizada, se integraba a la realidad, desenvolviéndose
paralelmente con los hechos" (125). Restrepo draws a close relationship between fiction

148
1948. Despite virtually no mention of El vampiro in literary histories of
Colombia, the novel serves as an important interpretation of La Violencia in
Colombia during a time period when many were attempting to piece together
the facts (and fictions) surrounding Gaitán's murder and the ensuing chaos
and confusion. Pinzón wrote and published his work in Bucaramanga in the
province of Santander. Even though writers of the Highland tradition of
Colombian literature produced "the fiction of official literary language, as
opposed to the popular traditions of Antioquia and the oral traditions on the
Caribbean coast" (Williams, "Colombia" 200), Pinzón's narrative reflects a
trend in literature about La Violencia noted by one critic as "personal
accounts of human suffering, vivid in imagery but generally mediocre as
aesthetic experience" (Williams, "Colombia" 205) but as a major literary
voice about the phenomenon.
The basic plot provides important clues about Pinzón's crucial
observations about discourse and its fulfillment. Alberto Guzman is a
homosexual cleptomaniac who steals a pencil from a doctor's office, the
and reality in more mature works that follow the initials ones that, as direct testimonies of
actual events, achieve little fame as "texts" of La Violencia. See also Raymond Leslie
Williams' chapter titled "Colombia" in Handbook of Latin American Literature. Second
Edition, ed. David William Foster ( New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1992), 179-215, for
scattered comments relating literature and La Violencia in Colombia. Williams asserts that
La Violencia "was Colombia's most important political event of the twentieth century and
had a powerful impact on literary production" (185-86). See also Alberto Zuluaga Ospina,
"Notas sobre la novelística de La Violencia en Colombia," Cuadernos hispanoamericanos
216 (diciembre 1967): 597-608. A collection of essays devoted to the topic is in Violencia
v literatura en Colombia, ed. Johnathan Tittler (Madrid: Ediciones Orígenes, 1989). Gonzalo
Sánchez devotes the last part of his article to "Culture and the Violencia" and argues for a
closer cultural study "between the Violencia on the one hand, and on the other: myths,
legends, and beliefs..." (807) that Pinzón attempts in El vamniro.

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same writing utensil that the vampire uses to mark onto his victim's bodies
the word "vampiro." Alberto's wife is Bertha de Guzmán, sister of the
murderer, Francisco Gáscaro. Bertha separated from Alberto because she
suspected him to be involved in homosexual infidelities; in chapter four, she
writes a letter to Alberto confirming that she is aware of these activities: "en
las condiciones morales en que me has puesto, [yo] podría sacrificarlo todo
revelándolo todo" (Pinzón 34). Bertha's letter displays the "text" of violent
acts as well as attempts to denounce them.
In the novel the use of drugs and sexuality allow for the discourse of
vampirism. In chapter eleven, "El Dr. Evaristo, en su automóvil, después de
salir de su residencia, bajo el sedante de la morfina estuvo recorriendo la
ciudad" (Pinzón 89) described by the narrator as a flight on wings that "no
fuera de angel ni de paloma sino de demonio o vampiro" (Pinzón 105). What
Evaristo sees allows the sexuality of Bucaramanga to exist as a discourse
clouded by drugs but nonetheless revealing about the human condition: "la
acción salvaje de la posesión concuspiscente, donde el hombre pierde todo
sentido moral y todo recato higiénico ... es capaz de convertirse en el más
asqueroso perro que lame la úlcera de pus y sangre a cambio de la succión
de su pus y de su sangre" (Pinzón 96). Just as the vampire becomes a
fearful creature through its need for human blood, Pinzón demonstrates how
humankind becomes animalistic due to the vicious excessiveness of sexual
appetite induced by drugs. In this fashion, Pinzón makes a commentary

1 50
about his country's drug problem in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Otto
Morales Benitez notes how the contemporary drug crisis in Colombia is
similar to the powerful and abusive actions described in Pinzón's narrative
written more than thirty years earlier. Pinzon's narrative demonstrates that
in both time periods, "El narcotráfico pervierte y compromete a demasiados
grupos, en los diferentes estamentos sociales" (Morales Benitez 212).
Pinzón opens up a dialogue about the abuse of power within the realm of
authority with a drug-addicted doctor who investigates a murder case.
Evaristo's hallucinatory drive through the city in the novel allows
Pinzón to develop a sharp criticism about social inequalities. As his trip
begins, Nuncira notes "la existencia natural de un orden, dentro del gran
desorden sobrenatural" (Pinzón 89). What is the supernatural order he is
referring to? The consistent repetition of verbs in the imperfect tense
throughout chapter eleven ("veía," "se fijaba," "observaba," "recorría,"
"presenciaba," "pasaba," "seguía adelante," etc.) (Pinzón 91-104ff)
establishes Evaristo's position as observer/narrator/teller of background
information who is unprepared for the sudden appearance of a different
series of events, the three murders by Francisco Gáscaro. Evaristo provides
the reader with information about his society, his city, but despite the
inequalities he describes, he notes that "ese enorme desnivel de clases y de
vidas, era la belleza, porque de todo esto surgía el dolor humano" (Pinzón
99). Beautiful human pain and suffering is experienced by those individuals in

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this novel whose carnal desires lead them into prostitution houses, opium
dens, and marijuana clubs only to be arrested and publicly scorned. They
become victims of power as they participate in illegal but enjoyable activities.
As Pinzón develops the idea of severe social distinctions, he satirizes
the role of the press who remains silent about respectable people being
arrested for violent activity but prints everyone else's stories. When Bertha
de Guzmán is murdered, "quedaba censurada en forma total la noticia de los
hechos ..." (Pinzón 77) surrounding her murder. Aware that her husband
was a homosexual, Bertha de Guzmán had been sleeping with Dr. Edgar
Revolledo, who later murders his wife Alicia by setting her on fire described
by the narrator as a brutal killing: "la desalmada bestia descargó sus garras
sangrientas sobre el lánguido cuello [de Alicia] y la estranguló, lanzándola
violentamente a la mitad de la sala" (Pinzón 261). But "En torno a este
tenebroso hecho la prensa . . . guardó un profundo silencio" (Pinzón 262).
The father of the vampire's first victim begs the newspapers not to publish
the details of his son's murder but a journalist tells him: "Ud. comprende que
se trata de un hecho público cumplido del cual ya la totalidad de la
ciudadanía estará enterada; y con callar en la prensa, no haríamos sino bien
al criminal" (Pinzón 143).
Pinzón admits the popularity of the vampire tale through his writing
and addresses vampirism directly in the novel. As Evaristo Nuncira and
Carlos Fariño discuss the details of a mysterious murder printed in their daily

152
paper, they ponder the validity of the headline that reads "El «Vampiro de la
Rosita» hombre o monstruo, siembra el pánico en la ciudad" (Pinzón 7).
Carlos laments that the anonymous author of this story presents the
information as if it were real, unlike the fictional vampire in literature by such
writers as Theophile Gautier or E.T.A. Hoffmann: he tells Evaristo "El
cronista local lo encaja en su folletín como un ser real" (Pinzón 9). As Pinzón
continually demonstrates in his novel, however, the vampire of the pages of
the anonymous article is a real part of his city's existence. In fact, Pinzón's
vampire does not differ from the "real-life" vampire Padre Félix in Froylán
Turcios' novel or the dictator Bebevidas in Bedoya's narrative. Francisco
Gáscaro kills three young men in retaliation against his sister Bertha de
Guzmán's murder because he also knew that her husband Alberto Guzmán
had been sexually involved with young boys. Eliminating the young men
removes Guzmán's ability to practice a socially unacceptable act as Gáscaro
initiates a vigilante-style authority discourse to silence the discourse of
homosexuality.
Before the novel begins, Pinzón explains that the information in his
novel coincides with "hechos dolorosos ocurridos en Bucaramanga en
Febrero de 1.955" (Pinzón 6). He presented "la historia de tales hechos en
crónicas publicadas en el periódico ..." (Pinzón 6) El Frente, a conservative
newspaper that was coincidentally a victim of La Violencia: "Ha sido
destruido en dos ocasiones por la violencia política: el 6 de mayo de 1 946 y

153
el 9 de abril de 1948" (Jaimes Espinosa 37). For four years prior to the
publication of Pinzón's novel in 1 956, the newspaper El Frente "cuenta con
corresponsales en casi todos los municipios santandereanos que le permite
entregar información completa y variada de todo el departamento" (Cacua
Prada 327). Despite the recurrent acts of violence, Pinzón admits that
nothing can stop "al escritor su libre albedrío para escoger un tema
cualquiera y elaborar de él su obra" (Pinzón 6).
The Club de las Rositas is a brothel, "la organización más perfecta en
cuanto a explotación del placer sexual clandestino se refiere" (Pinzón 16)
that is located in the neighborhood of the initial killing. According to an
official in the novel, sexual activity is a common occurrence in Bucaramanga:
"Este mes han sido denunciados setenta y tres delitos contra el honor sexual:
violaciones carnales, estupros, corrupción de menores, raptos y demás"
(Pinzón 40). For Evaristo Nuncira, public prostitution is vampiristic: "no deja
organismo vital que no infeste moralmente" (Pinzón 46). Private or secret
sexual favors, those associated with the prostitution house Las Rositas are
equally destructive: "debe considerársela como el cáncer o la lepra que
corroe a esas mismas sociedades mojigatas que viven escandalizadas de la
prostitución pública" (Pinzón 46). In the novel, prostitution is desire hidden
from public view that also masks homoerotic desire "as monstrous
heterosexual desires [with which] sexually aggressive women are used to

154
mediate and conceal . . . central fantasies about sex between men" (Howes
104).
Pinzón combines the whore and the homosexual as markers of distinct
sexuality. Tomás Almaguer points out that in Hispanic identity these two
terms involve semantic similarities resulting from a "cultural equation made
between the feminine, anal-receptive homosexual man and the most
culturally stigmatized female," the prostitute (Almaguer 260). Pinzón does
not develop an "active" homosexual discourse because to voice direct same-
sex activity advocates a "different" social discourse. Evaristo Nuncira
suspects that Carlos Fariño is a homosexual but does not directly say so in
the novel; instead, Pinzón writes what Evaristo smells in Carlos' office: "Un
intenso olor a espermatozoide inundaba el despacho" (Pinzón 14) of Carlos
Fariño. A bit later Evaristo conjectures that Fariño "le estaba dando al
muchacho [de la oficina] una gratificación por otra clase de servicio . . . "
(Pinzón 15) that does not cause him to feel hate or fear "sino una
repugnancia llena de compasión" (Pinzón 18). But as Evaristo later overhears
a conversation between his wife and Fariño's wife, his pity becomes
rejection: "No estaba equivocado en mis dudas sobre las tendencias
sexsuales [sic] de . . . Pero qué asquerosas larvas sociales . . . Infelices
tarados. No volveré jamás a tratar a Carlos" (Pinzón 28). As Almaguer
indicates about this lack of direct homosexual discourses in Mexican society,
a discourse of purely outward homosexual identity in Pinzón's narrative

1 55
"militates against the construction of discernable, discrete 'bisexual' or 'gay'
sexual identities because these identities are shaped by and draw upon a
different sexual system and foreign discursive practices" (Almaguer 262)
that ultimately would not sell the novel. Thus, in Pinzón's depiction of
harmful homosexuality, every effort is made to preserve family honor that
slips away almost continually in the story; Evaristo Nuncira even attests to
the potential destructiveness of heterosexuality: "La vigencia del mal en
todas sus faces [sic] se inaugura con la aparición del hombre y la mujer.
Estos lo transmitieron a las sociedades de generación en generación y ha
recorrido por los siglos hasta nuestra época presente ..." (Pinzón 181).
Pinzón agrees with Almaguer who writes that "any deviation from the sacred
link binding husband, wife, and child not only threatens the very existence of
la familia but also potentially undermines the mainstay of resistance to Anglo
racism and class exploitation" (Almaguer 266).
Gayle Rubin notes that, because of their association with sex,
homosexuals and prostitutes are considered deviant and dangerous, "a
criminal sexual population stigmatized on the basis of sexual activity" (Rubin
22). Pinzón's novel succeeds as a portrayal of the low social stratification of
such members of society: the vampire is a secretary (Francisco Gáscaro)
whose secondary voice in society points to Rubin's observation that "erotic
dissidents are channeled into positions that have less impact on the

156
mainstream of social activity and opinion" (Rubin 22) and less chance of
voicing an important discourse in doctrinal activity.
Pinzón attempts to construct a watchful discourse that attempts to
seek out and limit subversive sexual activity; the core of the novel is the
Nuncira brothers' (one a doctor, the other a judge) attempt to identify a
molester of children and the SIC's attempt to uncover prostitution in
Bucaramanga. But the novel progresses because this discourse of power and
control is continuously threatened by its counterdiscourse: the three rapes
and murders of boys and/or continued illicit sex by members of the upper
class. Tim Edwards points to the dilemma involved in "public-private sex"
that shows a history of "increasing sexual regulation whilst [sic] sexual
activity has constantly widened and spread further into other areas"
(Edwards 101). The issue of homosexuality in the novel gains strength as
general sexual activity is allowed more narrative space, and the association
of homosexuals as degenerates and perverts results from textualization: "The
majority of gay men are not pederasts, though the popular press's perception
and promotion of them as 'child molesters' is crucial in creating the
association" (Edwards 61-62).
Pinzón's novel vocalizes the discourse of a different sexuality
represented through the vampire figure. Christopher Craft has indicated that
this kind of text presents "a culture's first attempt to admit the inadmissable,
to give the unnamable a local habitation and a name ..." (Craft 1 12). Craft

157
notes that homosexuality as a term is rather ambiguous and never direct.
The relations between gay characters produce a "problematic desire" (Craft
11 3), a different sexuality that is the result of socialization. For Gayle Rubin,
the 1950s are important years for establishing crucial discursive
demarcations between different sexual activities: struggles result "in the
form of laws, social practices, and ideologies which then affect the way in
which sexuality is experienced long after the immediate conflicts have faded"
(Rubin 8). In other words, official discourse surfaces to deal with and control
the possible effects of this sexuality. Rubin applies her theory to the United
States, but sexuality and a watchful, political discourse are also closely
related in Pinzón's narrative about the regional after-effects of La Violencia in
1956, "after the immediate conflicts" of 1948 when Gaitán was murdered in
Bogotá.
The relation between vampirism and questionable sex becomes clearer
in Pinzón's novel as Francisco Gáscaro kills his victims at night, the time
most commonly associated with sexual activity but also the time when
things are not visible. The murders are not provided for the reader; they
exist "off" the page since the reader becomes aware of the acts through the
narrator and Evaristo Nuncira. That is, Gáscaro's private actions are
withheld from the reader yet made into the focal point of the novel named
after him. This tension surges through the entire novel, and the reader sees
that "vampirism takes place in private, at night,..the same space which our

158
society accords to the sex act" (Dyer, "Children of the Night ..." 55). Yet
Pinzón's novel is a product füi the reader, a document about social behavior
that reveals and dis-covers the vampire act and sexuality and makes them
public. The reader, then, becomes a competitor against Evaristo and his
brother as they hasten to reveal the culprit of the murders. The goal as
readers/investigators is to decipher writing of/by the vampire (the word
"vampiro" on the boys' corpses is the clue) enough to be able to trace it
back to its source.
Stoker's and Pinzón's novels appeared at turbulent times in the history
of their respective countries. The novel Dracula depicts vampirism in an
innovative way for its time but "with virtually every form of unacceptable sex
. . . (the novel] evaded censure at a time when Zola's English publisher was
imprisoned for indecency and Havelock Ellis's clinical studies of sexual
behaviour were banned" (Tracy 41). A strong controversy in the Rojas Pinilla
regime in Colombia of the 1950s was among the ruling hierarchy and the
press; as Fluharty has indicated, "the raging fire of press polemics . . .
culminated finally in the closing of El Espectador and El Tiempo, two of
Colombia's greatest dailies" (Fluharty 314), indicating a disdain by the
majority rule for the printed word that might reveal unhappy but truthful
insights about reality.
The nature of Pinzón's narrative, the continual shift between an
omniscient narrator and Evaristo Nuncira telling the reader the progress of

159
the investigation, is undermined by the writing on the bodies of the
vampire's victims by the vampire Francisco Gáscaro in addition to the
newspaper articles depicting the crimes. This feature does not exist in
Stoker's narrative because "the reader misses the insistently coherent
narrative of the Count" (Gagnier 151) since his story is recounted from the
point of view of those pursuing him. Stoker and Pinzón converge as
producers of literature that "exploits an international information industry"
(Gagnier 147) through exposure of the vampire's exploits through
journalistic discourse, but Pinzón uncovers the "text" of the vampire: the
enigmatic word "vampiro" on the bodies of Gáscaro's victims.
Two interpretations of this word are possible: it is the signature of the
author of the crime (Francisco Gáscaro "signing" his text, his work as
vampire) or the signature indicating and implying someone else, specifically,
Alberto Guzmán for his act of violent and forbidden sexuality against young
boys. For Pinzón, then, the word "vampiro" represents either an
autobiography written by the vampire himself or a biography about the
vampire written into discourse by Evaristo Nuncira and his brother as they
present the investigation as it happened.
Pinzón announces the crimes then carefully traces them back to the
beginning to set the stage for cause, reminding the reader of Gabriel Garcia
Márquez' Crónica de una muerte anunciada (1981) (Chronicle of a Death
is not about a vampire and El vampiro
Earetold). Even though Crónica

160
is, both works depict the eventual bloody murder of someone caught in a
love/sex triangle, and both narrations move backwards in time to before the
murder in order to lay out the steps leading up to the crime. The key point in
both narratives is violence, and Aníbal González notes that "the coherence
and clarity associated with political as well as narrative authority always
emanate from an arbitrary, irrational, sometimes violent act, an act exactly
parallel to the institution of moral principles ..." (González, Journalism . , .
116). Even though the works are twenty five years apart, each one is based
on a true incident that the author claims to have occurred around the same
time: 1951 for García Márquez, 1955 for Pinzón. Pinzón's novel differs from
García Márquez's in one significant detail: it uses vampire imagery to portray
the crimes of a sexual nature.
The brutal and bloody slayings of several London prostitutes in the
1880s by Jack the Ripper before the appearance of Stoker's vampire tale
raised "the figure of the murderous night prowler into a paradigm of the
developing paranoia of big-city life in late Victorian Britain" (Smith 83), a
feeling echoed by the citizens in Pinzón's novel as they wonder in fear when
the next attack will be. Following the second murder in Pinzón's narrative,
delirious fear spreads over the city, and the mere mention of the word
"vampire" causes panic: "La palabra «Vampiro» fue un sordo rumor que
cobró valor extraordinario de espanto entre quienes la pronunciaban y entre
quienes la escuchaban" (Pinzón 187). Jack the Ripper became the subject of

161
many newspaper and serial articles speculating about the crime and his
whereabouts. In a similar fashion, Pinzón has shaped the vampire myth to fit
contemporary Colombia, his vampire "presented not simply as an ancient,
foreign and long-vanished threat, but as a real figure in a recognisable [sic]
social landscape" (Smith 84). Pinzón has placed the vampire figure in a
novel in which there is not a clear distinction between writing and fact,
between fiction and life. Pinzón questions the position of newspaper
journalism as capable of accurately depicting life while at the same time
admits the carelessness practiced by journalists whose vivid descriptions of
murders and slayings become daily reality for many readers who may not be
able to distinguish fiction from truth. This sensationalist technique serves as
an actual anchor to stabilize and confront reality. In this kind of journalism
"The scandalous happenings and bloody crimes ... are framed in a
moralizing context in an attempt, however crude, to explore the workings of
the human psyche" (González, Journalism . . . 45).
As an interpretation of the vampire story, Pinzón's novel comes
surprisingly close to Stoker's novel Dracula by presenting texts as they pave
the way to the vampire. But the difference in Pinzón's vampire story is the
use of writing tty the vampire and less about the vampire: he marks the
bodies of his victims in pencil with the words "el vampiro," somewhat similar
to the "signature" left by Count Dracula (teeth marks) on the neck of his
victims but more graphic. The three violent murders occur at different times

162
in the novel yet are closely related. As Evaristo performs the autopsy on the
first corpse, he explains that "en la espalda como en el pecho le dejaron
dibujados con lápiz de tinta azul algunos signos y la palabra «Vampiro»"
(Pinzón 11 8). The second victim's corpse displays similar markings. Evaristo
tells other doctors who are witnessing the autopsy: "vean ustedes estos
signos del pecho y la palabra Vampiro. En la espalda está marcado lo
mismo" (Pinzón 175). The third victim's markings are almost identical: "Las
mismas características en las heridas causadas y la violación sexual. Sobre
el cuerpo dibujado al parecer con el mismo lápiz dermográfico, los mismos
signos y escrita la misma palabra: «Vampiro»" (Pinzón 216). Pinzón's
narrative ties vampirism together with writing as consumptive acts set within
a cultural framework: "The text's action absolutely depends on the inclusion
of mass-produced testimony; it absorbs these extraneous pieces within itself
just as Dracula assimilates the life-blood of his victims" (Wicke 474). Unlike
Stoker's vampire, however, Francisco Gáscaro (the vampire in Pinzón's
novel) is a character whose use of the pencil parallels that of the hidden
discourse attempting to have a voice, an important goal in the development
of Colombian literature of the early to mid-twentieth century. Count Dracula
speaks very little as character in Stoker's novel, but the vampire in Pinzón's
work speaks in writing against the cruelty of the dominant class. Vampirism
in Pinzón's novel parallels the abusive, quieting nature of the Colombian

163
ruling class controlled by complex social/sexual relations as well as the
position of writing in Colombian society.
The violence of the vampire is a significant component of the vampire
myth. The sexual violence of the vampire as well as of the other characters
in Pinzón's novel are more transgressive than Count Dracula's because they
are highly visible to the reader even though the reader "sees" the vampire
attack only in the last chapter of the novel. Victorian England, the
background for Stoker's 1897 novel, did not outwardly display the deviant
behavior that was rampant beneath the surface of apparently "normal"
functioning society, but Stoker's novel revealed this "underground" desire
through vampirism which, according to Franco Moretti, "makes bearable to
the conscious mind those desires and fears which the latter has judged to be
unacceptable and has thus been forced to repress, and whose existence it
consequently cannot recognize" (Moretti 81). Pinzón's work reflects a
similar trend in this kind of sexual textualization and "allows its writers and
readers simultaneously to acknowledge and deny those aspects of
themselves and their world that they find most troubling-to see them both
as part of the community and as available for sacrifice" (Spencer 220).
Pinzón's novel is a display of malfunctioning sexuality. He chooses to
carefully (yet graphically) display this hidden reality of society on the pages
of his novel through the act of the vampire figure. In addition to the word
"vampiro" on his body and also a lack of blood, the first victim has also been

164
anally penetrated: "está lleno de orgasmo sanguinolento el recto!" (Pinzón
124). Unlike General Bebevidas, whom Manuel Bedoya develops off the page
and behind the closed doors of the presidential palace in El general
Bfihñvidas. Monstruo de América or Padre Félix in El vampiro by Froylán
Turcios, the vampire in Pinzón's narrative gets full coverage.
As tabloid journalism, chapter one of the novel strongly suggests that
society is fragile and ready to become the victim of the press. As the news
of the first murder spreads, "Había un afán general por conocer la noticia y
nadie quería quedarse sin el periódico" (Pinzón 1 52), and the dailies jack up
the prices knowing that crimes sell. From exploits about monsters in the
press to adultery, Dr. Fariño believes that this report is only tabloid trash but
as Dr. Evaristo Nuncira discovers, such sensationalism is highly reflective of
society-and necessary to reveal the invisible side of that society.
This novel presents vampirism as it appeared in Bram Stoker's novel
Dracula: escalated social violence of the vampire figure. Stoker presents
vampirism as a puzzle to be solved, similar to detective fiction that "insists
finally on the ability of rational, scientific, urban man [sic] to understand, to
confront and to conquer criminal or evil forces" (Pinzón 83). For Pinzón,
vampirism is a real part of everyday life, a painful model for La Violencia in
Bucaramanga. His novel comments not only on the harshness of vampire
violence but on violence in Colombia as well; this novel combines the politics
of writing violence in Colombia, commented on by Vernon Lee Fluharty in

165
Dance of the Millions: Military Rule and the Social Revolution in Colombia.
1930-1956 (1957) and by Raymond L. Williams in the 1991 work The
Colombian Novel. 1844-1987. works that contain commentaries about
Colombian politics and its relation to violence on the printed page. Pinzón
artfully combines the text of Colombian politics, specifically the movement of
La Violencia, beginning with the murder of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán on April 9,
1948 and moving out of and away from the capital into the Colombian
provinces, with a vampire story that incorporates the writing and texts of
sexual violence.
As the news of the third victim of the vampire appears and the press
announces that the killer has been caught, tensions build. The public demand
for the vampire reaches riot level, similar to the outbreak of violence
immediately following Gaitán's murder in Bogotá: "Tales informaciones
surtieron su efecto violento en la ciudadanía. Hombres y mujeres se lanzaron
en estampida a la calle. Muchos salieron provistos de armas crueles" (Pinzón
217) in search of the killer. Fluharty notices that La Violencia shifts from the
city to the countryside in a way that mirrors this reaction: "as the capital
grew quiet, the tide rolled onward to the provinces, and violence became
generalized" (Fluharty 108) as the struggle between Liberals and
Conservatives escalated during the years following Gaitán's assassination. A
little over a year later, in November of 1 949, a right-wing dictatorship had
begun in Colombia under Laureano Gómez whose regime came to a close in

166
1953 with the rise to power of Rojas Pinilla, a military man whose coup
d'etat achieved its goal "with a phrase from the national anthem: 'The
terrible night has ended'" (Fluharty 139), hinting at the coming of light and
the powerlessness of the vampire figure that myth has repeated in the
vampire story.
The years between 1948 and 1953 in Colombia show a pattern similar
to Victorian England, the backdrop for Dracula. Stoker's vampire tale that
contains clashing socio-sexual ideologies. During the years following the
assassination of Gaitán, "Inequalities of wealth and status were put to the
question [and] new frames of mass reference were created" (Rubin 16),
which allowed in what was previously considered difficult to accept: an
outside strongman or dictator whose recourse to success involved possibly
unorthodox measures to "push upward, or, disregarding the forces which
raised him up, plunge the nation back into some ultimate chaos in which, in
time, the basic conflicts must again be put to trial by fire" (Fluharty 156).
This move towards the modern world also triggers the enhancement of "a
new sexual system characterized by distinct types of sexual persons,
populations, stratifications, and political conflict" (Rubin 16) that appears in
El vampiro in the form of violence of a sexual nature.
Despite Rojas Pinilla's efforts to terminate the violence that had been
part and parcel of the Gómez regime, a hidden, subversive force was still at
work during his first year as Chief Executive of Colombia, leaving shocking

167
reminders of Gaitán's murder: "more than a hundred dead were attributed to
factional strife by the end of the calendar year in which he [Rojas Pinilla]
came to office" (Fluharty 259). Factional bickering erupts once again under
Pinilla through the medium of print: "the violence was once more growing in
the provinces as a result of public agitation of issues through the press . . . "
(Fluharty 262). Fluharty points to Pinilla's conflict with the press, a friction
in Pinzbn's narrative: "the fundamental right of a free press in a free society;
the continuance of public political violence, assassinations, and general
disturbances; and finally, the tendency of Colombian newspapers to exploit
every instance of violence for partisan advantage" (Fluharty 262). In a
sweeping move that reflects Fluharty's points, the press preys on the public
who want to read about horrendous crimes committed in their own society.
After the first of the three murders, the crime achieves fame on the pages of
local and national newspapers, and "ante la intensa solicitud de periódicos
locales, los vendedores empezaron a aprovecharse de la oportunidad y
cuadruplicaron el precio" (Pinzón 152) of their dailies, paralleling the
relationship between vampire and victim as a way to comment on his patria's
close ties with writing, in particular, the fact that the pages of newspapers in
Colombia during this time "reported violence in such a manner as to incite
further violence" (Fluharty 266) and that "The printed-personal cycle of
violence seemed to have no end, one inciting the other, and the government
damned for censoring the printed violence, while it was cursed for not being

168
able to halt the physical violence which fed on fee printed kind" (Fluharty
276, my emphasis).
Pinzón states that El vampiro is based on actual events that occurred
in the province of Santander. Compared to the events that Fluharty
describes in Chapter Fifteen of his book, the events that Pinzón refers to are
symptomatic of the spring of 1955 when murderous violence had erupted
once again in the provinces, "induced by the memory of past horrors, by the
constant atmosphere of crisis created by the political juggling, and by the
fear that the armed clashes could be a prelude to a return to generalized civil
war" (Fluharty 272). To demonstrate the escalated spread of violence during
this time period, Fluharty lists thirteen acts of violence including pillage,
robbery, and murder that occurred within nine days over various departments
of Colombia (Fluharty 270-74). Pinzón depicts a similar trend, for the three
slayings in El vampiro occur within one week. Beginning with Gaitán's
assassination in 1948, the wave of violent brutality that inundated Colombia
continues well into the mid-1950s, and Pinzón's novel is a timely testimony
of the enduring attraction of writers who develop a violent vampire figure in
order to personify such brutality.
In the trends of Colombian literature, Raymond Williams notes a
division among its regional literatures. Until the 1960s "a large-scale
distribution of Colombian fiction beyond regional boundaries within Colombia
did not exist" (Williams, The Colombian Novel . , . 19) and each region

169
produced its own literature. Pinzón's novel appeared in 1956, a date that
places it within Williams' chronology as a regional text discussing the
national and universal problem of violence.
Strong regionalism, or the development of separate and distinctive
social, political, and literary characteristics, is affected by La Violencia, a
political movement that extensively shakes up all of Colombia. In addition,
“the 1950s, under [Gustavo] Rojas Pinilla, were years of political repression
and public censorship" (Williams, The Colombian Novel . . . 1 2) throughout
all of Colombia. Pinzón develops the idea of a prohibited/prohibitive text in Ei
vampiro as a commentary on the role of writing and texts in regional
Colombian culture during the 1950s. The working-class people, the "juez de
bocas multitudinario," demonstrate the difference of opinion regarding the
capital press and the provincial press that hides "los crímenes sociales
porque temen perder las suscripciones y los anuncios de los poderosos del
capital" (Pinzón 78). The upper class supports the omission of grisly details
such as murders, "salvando así de la injuria publica a la sociedad
invulnerable" (Pinzón 79). Until the 1970s, Colombia "had produced only
three novels of recognized national and international import:" Maria (1867)
by Jorge Isaacs, La vorágine (1924) by José Eustasio Rivera, and Cien años
de soledad (1967) by Gabriel García Márquez (Williams, The Colombian Novel
. . . 20). Even though La Violencia initially occurred in Bogotá, it "was a
national phenomenon that affected the national psyche, not a regional

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conflict" (Williams, The Colombian Novel . . . 18), and Pinzón's novel is an
important contemporary interpretation of national violence in Colombia.
In Colombian literature, the novel was a minor genre. From the 1880s
throughout the early 1900s Jose Maria Vargas Vila helped produce literary
magazines and books, some of which "contain scandalous plots, typically
embellished with sexual practices considered taboo during the period . . .
(Williams, The Colombian Novel . . . 38), very similar to El vampim,
published in 1956. Even though the novelistic genre did not flourish during
the 1950s, this time period saw the initial appearance of novels of La
Violencia that "communicate experience through narrative strategies that
allow the reader the active participation expected in the modern novel"
(Williams, The Colombian Novel . . . 49) such as journalism. Pinzón brings
the reader into his novel with newspaper journalism to remind the reader of
the day-to-day normality and brutality of events, a trend also present in the
news print of early Spanish America that catered more to the masses than to
the educated elite: "there flourished in far greater number and diversity an
assortment of dailies, weeklies, pamphlets, and gazettes, devoted in their
entirety to the rowdiest forms of political journalism" (González, Journalism .
. . 16). His novel reflects an historical trend in Colombian letters: novels
were less frequently read by the upper classes, who tended toward poetry.
"Most of these novels were written by Liberals and have either passed
unnoticed or been adamantly censured by the Conservative critical

171
establishment" (Williams, The Colombian Novel . . . 51). Williams make it
clear that in Colombia, writing and politics exist side by side, the
conservative element banishing or ignoring novels that were written by
liberals and accepting that which agrees with the dominant regime.
Bucaramanga is located in the Interior Highlands region of Colombia,
an area historically enmeshed in writing that differs from novels or stories,
one example being the appearance in 1923 of La novela semanal, a weekly
publication that mirrored British broadsheets or the American pulp magazines
that "ranged in quality from the most sophisticated writing of the time to
popular fiction, with a predominance of the latter" (Williams, The Colombian
Novel . . . 69). The principal novel from the Interior Highlands was La
vorágine (1924) by José Eustasio Rivera, a work that signalled the trend to
move toward a national literary expression and more specifically, toward
telling the Colombian story of violence (Williams, The Colombian Novel . . .
72). Rivera's novel is a story about writing violence as the narrator Arturo
Cova "employs a series of strategies in order to effect his characterization as
a writer" (Williams, The Colombian Novel . . . 70) about the violence that
eventually takes his life, in this case, the jungle. Just as Cova's tragic story
revolves around writing, Pinzón's novel develops how Evaristo Nuncira solves
the murder case that involved writing. But even after Evaristo's "story"
about Francisco Gáscaro is completed and the criminal is in prison, the press
(writing) literally has the final word in the text, conjecturing that "para salvar

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el propio honor del hermano extinto, el Juez Penal Superior [Rodolfo Nuncira,
el hermano de Evaristo] había cometido también el crimen de condenar a UN
INOCENTE" (Pinzón 303).
Pinzón's accurate depictions of the vampire myth hint at his exposure
to foreign texts such as Dracula. One year before the publication of Pinzón's
novel in 1956, the literary magazine Mito appeared which included "writers
such as Sartre, Borges, Robbe-Grillet, Henry Miller, and Jean Genet"
(Williams, The Colombian Novel . . . 77), definitively internationalizing the
exposure to writing within the Interior Highlands. Pinzón's novel not only
develops writing as the center of the story but a vampire figure as
author/writer inscribing his own story, a feature that Stoker's novel does not
include. The Highland fiction from Colombia, including Rivera's La vorágine
(1924), Zalamea Borda's Cuatro años a bordo de mí mismo (1934), Pinzón's
El vampiro (1956), and Caballero Calderon's El buen salvaje (1966) "are
novels of writer-figures who, in essence, relate their respective 'adventures
of writing' under a variety of guises" (Williams, The Colombian Novel . . .
85).
Pinzón's story develops the vampire/writer of the violent and
transgressive text of sexual deviation and questions its representation on the
printed page. His narrative fiction portrays the vampire as a subject and
object of violent acts at a time when violence affects all of Colombia, and it
is appropriate that with the murder of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán on April 9, 1948,

173
death becomes an integral part of Colombian literature just as the
preoccupation with the undead vampire figure haunts Bram Stoker and other
writers of vampire literature. The recurrence of death has its parallel in the
violent act of murder, the stamp of La Violencia on Colombia as well as of
the vampire figure in narrative fiction. The violence in the press (Pinzón's
novel as a journalist) and the acts of violence perpetrated within Colombian
society points to a struggle to understand the place of violence on the front
pages of the local dailies in Pinzón's novel and consequently the position of
the discourse of death in society. The first victim's father pleads to keep his
son's story out of the press because for him and his family "Ya es suficiente
el sufrimiento que tenemos" (Pinzón 142). A reporter promises to do so
even though "que al siguiente día [los folletines] habrían de ser pasto jugoso
para esa clase de bestia cristiana que se llama humanidad" (Pinzón 143).
Vernon Lee Fluharty notes that in early 1955 violence in the
Colombian provinces made its way to the front pages of the provincial
presses due to the conflict between Rojas Pinilla, then-dictator of Colombia,
"and the party oligarchs who used the newspapers to combat both the
government and each other in a skirmishing for position" (Fluharty 314).
Fluharty describes the result of this polemic: "Barred from the electoral
arena, they [Rojas' opposition] transferred their bitter partisan activities to
the headlines and the front pages. Charge and countercharge exacerbated
the physical violence, and tore the nation apart emotionally ..." (Fluharty

174
314) at a time when partisan bickering had escalated the outbreak of more
violence begun in 1948 with Gaitan's assassination. Fluharty places writing
and violence together; in early 1 955, "the press problem and the violence in
the provinces became inextricably woven with the party opposition to Rojas"
(Fluharty 314). In Pinzón's novel, the main judge of the murder cases,
Rodolfo Nuncira (Evaristo's brother), is asked to resign in an article that
appeared in a local newspaper. The narrator notes the combination that
Fluharty mentions: that "el contenido de la noticia era negro de improperios y
amenazas. Esta noticia en todos los diarios locales coincidía entre sí por el
estilo agresivo y violento" (Pinzón 257).
During his regime Rojas Pinilla acts to curtail the appearance of more
violence on the printed page in an effort "to prevent Colombian journalists
from exacerbating public tensions that are already explosive (and have long
been so) through unrestrained partisan polemics" (Fluharty 298). In other
words, Rojas Pinilla shows a strong propensity for censorship that according
to him is in the interest of the Colombian people: this tendency seems to say
that trimming away the violence in the newspapers will diminish the violence
on the streets of his country. But Pinzón tells the reader that this is not true:
"los trabajadores del periodismo pensaban que con sus crónicas, tituladas a
lo ancho de la página del periódico e ilustradas con sendas fotografías, irían
al siguiente día a causar un revuelo social extraordinario" (Pinzón 75).

175
Pinzón demonstrates that Rojas' efforts fail, for as one critic of
violence in the media has indicated, the presence of printed violence allows
for its study: "one of the major effects of mass media violence is to generate
controversy over what mass media material might do to make people more
violent in their relations with other persons ..." (Larsen ix). Instead of
undermining and silencing his country's violence, Pinzón acts as a voice of
the violence occurring around him and places it into discourse. In an effort to
understand Colombian violence, he bases his novel on events taken from
daily newspapers; as len Ang has noted, "people in their own social and
historical contexts make sense of all kinds of [violent] media texts in ways
that are meaningful, suitable, and accessible to them" (Ang 161).
Pinzón interprets the violence of the vampire in a way that echoes the
relevance of the vampire figure in literature: readers as well as writers such
as Pinzón can "identify, delineate and, just as importantly, correlate some of
the more elusive and therefore fearful issues of their time" (Smith 77,
emphasis in original) through the sexuality of the vampire figure, a desire that
"fails to observe any of society's attempts to control it—prohibitions against
polygamy, promiscuity or homosexuality" (Senf, "Daughters of Lilith..."
208).
As noted by Ariel Dorfman earlier in this chapter, the eruption of the
testimonial genre in Chilean literature reflects the violence of the 1973 coup
in Chile. Dorfman identifies violent acts in Latin American literature with

176
inventiveness, or "Violence as [a] companion to imagination" (Dorfman,
Rome Write... 38). Violence allows for a deeper understanding of existence
because it is rooted in the real world of writers and readers such as Pinzón.
The crimes of Francisco Gáscaro admit a fault in Colombian society that few
people want to acknowledge, the possibility of non-traditional sexual
behavior. Gáscaro acts upon his knowledge that his violent crimes give him
notoriety in a society that quickly covers up such acts. When Rodolfo
Nuncira explains to his brother Evaristo the connection between the pencil
and the three murders, he is indicating that Gáscaro's motivations connect
violence and writing: "seguramente [Gáscaro] halló curiosa la popularidad
estruendosa que le dieron a sus crímenes [que] continuó marcando a sus dos
víctimas siguientes con los mismos signos y la misma palabra: «Vampiro»"
(Pinzón 297). His violence distances him from those "who neither wish to
admit their origins nor are able to catch a glimpse of their own crisis which is
looming on the horizon at that very time" (Dorfman, Some Write... 108). In
other words, Gáscaro's violence serves a purpose as does the act of writing
it. Dorfman notes that the appearance of the stories from newspapers as
popular fictions (Pinzón's statement about the press in Colombia and its
[inability to report violence) and as literature (Pinzón's novel about Colombia)
provides "the form in which readers (and writers) can supposedly break out
of the brutal cycle of misery and violence" (Dorfman, Some Write... 203)
and open up a discourse.

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Pinzón's novel and another Colombian narrative, Gabriel García
Márquez' Chronicle nf a Death Foretold, pose a question about the relation
between violence and sex: "Is Latin America doomed to this sort of everyday
civil war üü ii£ streets and in its. bedrooms, does violence narrate us over and
over again, whether in our relations with each other or with our rulers?"
(Dorfman, Some Write... 218, my emphasis). García Márquez wrote of the
murder of his best friend in 1951, and Pinzón wrote of murders that occurred
four years later, in February of 1955, and each author's fictional account of
violence "sensed a deeper drama, where the forces of history and myth . . .
were apparently again at work" in the form of violence on the streets, in the
bedrooms, and on the printed pages of Colombia (Dorfman, Some Write...
218). Both García Márquez and Pinzón endeavor to account for personal and
political violence in Colombia and their approaches succeed because "By
blending journalism, so dependent on immediate evidence, with the
imaginary, which expands freely according to its own creative laws, the
Colombian writer grounds the incredible murder[s] in everyday detail"
(Dorfman. Some Write... 219).
As a vampire story, Pinzón's novel delves into homoerotic desire
emblematic of the underlying paradigm only hinted at in Stoker's novel
Dracula but directly dealt with in other Latin American vampire novels such
as Bedoya's El general Bebevidas. Monstruo de América and Luis Zapata's
Adonis García. Carefully concealed under failing/failed heterosexual relations,

178
the sub-text in Pinzon's work is "'the love that dare not speak its name' . . .
as a confluence of anxieties about monstrous heterosexual desire, gender
boundaries, and the act of utterance itself" (Howes 104) as the vampire
Francisco Gáscaro writes his identity on the corpses of his three victims. In
El vampiro, there is no mention of the sex act between Francisco Gáscaro
and the young boys nor is narrative space permitted to develop explicit
homosexual experiences between other male characters, "the secret sin that
vampirism denotes and that the text cannot utter directly" (Howes 104).
The beginning of this chapter of the dissertation indicated how
Stoker's novel also does not mention the male-male union between Count
Dracula and Jonathan Harker. However, unlike in Dracula. El vampiro
achieves and maintains a discourse about homoerotic fulfillment since the
voice of the vampire, the "absent center, hinted at, approached, ... is the
penetration of a man by a vampire" (Howes 108) after which the vampire
"speaks" in writing through the word "vampiro" on the bodies of his victims.

CHAPTER 5
RAFAEL MALUENDA'S EL VAMPIRO DE TRAPO
In several interpretations of the vampire myth, blood unites vampire
and victim in the cycle of dependence; this is true in Bram Stoker's novel as
well as Manuel Bedoya's novel that depicts Oscar Benavides as a vampire
who feeds off the blood of young boys to survive. Rafael Maluenda (Chile,
1885-1963) reinterprets the vampire myth in his novel, Vampiro de trapo
(1958), in which a doll mysteriously feeds off the ventriloquist Máximo
Luján's mental capabilities and ultimately kills him with vampirism that is not
related to blood exchange. In addition to presenting psychic vampirism,
Maluenda's novel includes a character named after John Polidori, the author
of the first English-language vampire narrative that was the source for Bram
Stoker's novel Dracula. Polidori's tale and Maluenda's story magnify
vampirism as a force that one individual exercises over another as well as the
unsuccessful (hetero)sexuality discussed so far in this dissertation. Polidori's
1819 short story "The Vampyre, a Tale" and Maluenda's novel point out that
the portrayal of the vampire's control over the victim is not always limited to
an exchange of blood and the resulting vampirism is intricately enmeshed
within the struggling sexuality of the characters. This chapter examines
some similarities and differences between Polidori's short story and
179

180
Maluenda's novel through the theme of vampirism that is not related to blood
exchange. It also looks at the presence in Vampiro de trapo of the vampire
myth of Dracula and the monster myth of Frankenstein and how the critical
approach to vampirism from the point of view of Jungian psychology may
help to explain the vampire figure in the narrative.
The plot of Vampiro de trapo centers around three characters: the
ventriloquist Máximo Luján, the dancer Carmen Burton, and Lujan's doll
Polidoro. As Lujan's physical attraction to Carmen Burton intensifies,
Polidoro's manipulation and control of Luján's emotions also increases,
mysteriously prohibiting Luján from developing a meaningful physical and
emotional relationship with her. The doll begins to think and talk on its own
with no apparent help from Luján. Polidoro's comments infuriate Luján to the
point that he rips the doll apart during the final show in the novel. As he is
tearing the doll into pieces, he cuts his hands on sharp knife blades that
Carmen had placed into Polidoro. In the last scene the ventriloquist dies
from a heart attack and lies dead in his dressing room, surrounded by his
other dolls and covered with the same cloth that had covered Polidoro.
Raúl Silva Castro describes the background in Vampiro de trapo: "Los
personajes . . . forman parte de un troupe de números de variedades, y la
novela discurre en los días de la temporada de Buenos Aires, con alguna
intervención de miembros de la sociedad argentina" (Silva Castro, Panorama .
259). In the novel the performers of the Casino Palace rent rooms from

181
doña Antonia and her husband don Ido del Torral, from Spain. The boarding
house is named after the Galician writer Emilia Pardo Bazán. When asked
why the house is named Bazán and not Pardo Bazán, doña Antonia explains
why Maluenda perhaps did not name his vampire-like doll directly after John
Polidori: "No he querido . . . hacer lo que otros hacen para recordar una
figura ilustre, poniéndole todo el nombre con pelos y señales" (Maluenda,
Vampiro . . . 24). thus leaving room for interpretation. The doll-vampire in
Vampiro de trapo is named Polidoro, a variation of Polidori that allows the
reader to correlate Maluenda's novel with the controversial appearance of
Polidori's short story "The Vampyre," an important episode in the evolution
of the vampire myth in literature. The correlation also allows for elements
from each narrative to combine.
When the short story "The Vampyre" first appeared in 1819 under the
authorship of Lord Byron, few readers realized that the story was actually
written by Dr. John Polidori, Byron's personal physician. Few contemporary
readers also do not realize that "the true ancestor of most Draculas is Dr.
John Polidori's Lord Ruthven, [the] central character of that odd fragment
'The Vampyre' ..." (Newman 12). Polidori's tale appeared as a result of a
meeting at the Villa Diodati in Switzerland during the summer of 1816 when
Mary Wollstonecraft-Shelley, her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, George
Gordon (also known as Lord Byron), and his personal assistant and physician
John Polidori decided to write horror tales. From this encounter emerged

182
Wollstonecraft's novel Frankenstein. or the Modem Prometheus and
Polidori's short vampire story that was eventually published in serial form in a
London periodical. Also at the Villa Diodati that summer, Lord Byron had
jotted into the back of a notebook a brief tale named "A Fragment of a Tale,"
the actual source for Polidori's piece. Polidori published "The Vampyre"
under Byron's name, but Byron quickly denied authorship of the piece. To
the present day Polidori is considered to be the author of "The Vampyre"
even though he directly borrowed elements from Lord Byron's "A Fragment."
Whatever the controversy over the true authorship of the piece, it is
generally accepted that "[Polidori's] The Vampyre was the first story
successfully to fuse the disparate elements of vampirism into a coherent
literary genre" (Frayling 108). The combination of the elements of vampirism
with those of Frankenstein's monster in Maluenda's novel makes Vampiro de
trapo a worthy contribution to Latin American contemporary narrative by an
author "que está sin duda algo olvidado como novelista, por los largos
silencios que ha interpuesto entre sus diversas producciones" (Silva Castro,
"Rafael Maluenda ..." 312). Similar to Polidori's "silence" as a mainstream
writer, Maluenda also deserves recognition for his effort as a writer of
vampire fiction.
Bram Stoker's novel Dracula appears at a transition point in English
history, a threshold onto the twentieth century. His novel reflects the
anxiety of crossing this boundary and entering into the new and unknown

183
realm of a new age. This work is often labelled as a "Gothic" novel when in
reality Stoker merely adopts elements common in Gothic literature. For
example, the menacing Castle Dracula, located in a far-off and foreign land
(away from cosmopolitan and familiar London), stresses the element of
marginality of "an alien yet proximate world, the image of periphery . . .
assumed by the Gothic" (Monleón 34) movement that had been popular
almost a century before the 1897 publication of Dracula. Likewise, Mary
Wollstonecraft-Shelley's novel Frankenstein appears much closer to what is
considered to be the Gothic tradition. Thus, Stoker borrows from two
distinct episodes in (literary) history to create his chilling bestseller: similar to
the ideology of "crossing the threshold" into a new era, he reverts to an
earlier time for the foundation of his story.
Maluenda's Vampiro de trapo appears late in his career and reflects a
similar juxtaposition as the novel Dracula demonstrates with respect to the
Gothic tradition in English literature. The action in Vampiro de trapo takes
place in Buenos Aires, an "ambiente . . . ajeno a Chile" (Silva Castro,
Panorama . . . 259). Even though the bulk of his literary production appears
years earlier,1 Maluenda's 1958 novel fits into the thematics of a group of
Chilean writers René Jara labels as the Generation of 1950. Máximo Lujan
1 The Peruvian critic Luis Alberto Sánchez, in "Rafael Maluenda, novelista de almas,"
Revista nacional de cultura 38 (mayo-junio de 1943): 58-68, places Maluenda into a group
called Los Diez that appeared on the Chilean literary scene in "la primera década de este
siglo" (59).

184
fits better into the world of the Casino Palace than into the world outside.
Only through his doll Polidoro can Luján cope with himself in relation to the
external world. He forms an existence with Polidoro as a coping mechanism
that demonstrates how, "in order to provide a defense against constant
attack, one's own individualism must be maintained at all costs rather than
yielding to any group, party, or ideology" (Jara, "Chile" 164). Yet Maluenda
counters Luján's individualistic tendencies by inserting detailed descriptions
of the other members of the theather troupe who "acaparan las páginas del
relato y son acaso los únicos que han sido observados con alguna
profundidad" (Silva Castro, Panorama . . . 259).
Maluenda reflects the thematics of the Generation of 1937 in Chilean
literature as well by incorporating Polidoro as "the double, symptomatic of
the dispersion of the poetic subject" (Jara, "Chile" 161) that results from an
increasing awareness of one's self in relation to society. Vampiro de trapo
shows the pessimism of the 1950s when Chilean writers "found themselves
inhabiting a world of useless, meaningless, absurd, and grotesque rebellion in
which all that was embraced was their own deceptive, illusory shadow"
(Jara, "Chile" 165) that in Luján's case is the doll Polidoro. Vampiro de
trapo also expresses how optimism lapses into "a notable political and social
skepticism . . . that, in extreme cases, defies the collectivist ethics that
characterized the exponents of social realism" (Jara, "Chile" 164) of the
earlier generations of Chilean writers. No longer staunch supporters of a

185
proscribed group ethic, Chilean writers during the 1 950s including Maluenda
in Vampiro de trapo question the utopian idea of a perfect society "as a part
of a process of analysis of their own guilt, their own weaknesses, the
responsibility that each has had in the failures of their society" (Jara, "Chile"
165). Literature of this time period becomes pessimistically introspective but
not without the "enormous dramatic and fictional vitality" (Jara, "Chile"
165) that Maluenda exhibits in Vampiro de trapo by incorporating vampirism,
elements from the Gothic literary tradition, and several tendencies of his co¬
writers in Chile who create "ficciones, mundos, en que la conducta de los
personajes podía ser entendida, con aprobación o rechazo, y el lector . . .
podía comprender mejor su propia existencia y su lugar en el mundo" (Jara,
El revés . . . 30).
As Polidori develops a fictional parallel in "The Vampyre" between
Lord Ruthven/Lord Byron and Aubrey/ himself, this relationship resurfaces in
Maluenda's novel as a similar conflict is played out between Máximo Luján
and Polidoro in the struggle for control. In Maluenda's novel Polidoro is the
ventriloquist Máximo Luján's doll who mesmerizes the audiences at the
Casino Palace in Buenos Aires with witty conversation. Even though
Polidoro is one of several puppets that Máximo Luján artfully manipulates
during his stage shows, Polidoro becomes the highly successful centerpiece
of Luján's performances and is well received by the audience; during one
performance, "Una explosión de carcajadas saludó la rara combinación de

186
despectivos con que 'Polidoro' caracterizaba a su incógnito contendor"
(Maluenda, Vampiro . . . 34). The doll also slowly begins to take over
Luján's personality in a way unperceived by the audience: "El diálogo adquiría
por momentos un avasallador realismo, porque las voces se producían casi
simultáneamente cuando el asunto daba lugar a controversias. El público se
dejaba arrastrar por la indisimulable emulación que, como en ninguna
oportunidad, advertía entre el muñeco y su creador" (Maluenda, Vampiro . . .
76). During performances, as the doll responds to Luján's questions on his
own, the audience responds to the doll's comments in a hesitant way, not
sure if Polidoro's comments are real or part of the show: "el espectador
experimentaba una sorpresa, pareciéndole una ficción el espectáculo de ese
muñeco con los pies colgantes y humillada la colorína testa" (Maluenda,
Vampiro . . . 11). The surprised audience encourages the reader's hesitation
about the doll's abilities to talk on its own, one of the unresolved issues in
the novel.
Vampirism appears in some of Maluenda's short fiction as well as in
Vampiro de trapo. In his narrations, vampirism involves the fatal reliance of
one individual on another that does not involve the exchange of blood.
Vampiro de trapo portrays the vampiristic relationship of destructive
dependence between a human and a non-human creation in a fashion that
confuses the boundary between fiction and reality: as noted above, the
audience is often unaware of who is speaking during their performances,

187
Máximo Luján or the doll Polidoro. A. Owen Aldridge describes Vampiro de
trapo as a story in which "the vampire is a ventriloquist's doll . . . who
develops an independent personality; he expresses his own thoughts and
blurts out remarks to other people with absolutely no control from his
creator" (Aldridge 151). In addition to Maluenda's novel about a vampiristic
doll, Aldridge mentions another Latin American vampire story involving dolls,
a children's book by the Chilean author Hernán del Solar called La porota in
which vampire dolls attempt to assume power over other dolls who are not
vampires: "A rag doll asks her little girl owner for help in controling [sic] the
ravages of a band of vampire bats, also dolls. The little girl puts the bats out
of commission and the manufacturer is persuaded to stop making vampire
bats" (Aldridge 151). Vampiro de trapo deals with vampirism in a way that
can be applied to many levels outside of literature as well: "Si extendemos la
fábula [del vampirismo] de Maluenda a otros terrenos, tenrdríamos muchas
aplicaciones que darle, por ejemplo en la vida política, donde no faltan
aquellos sujetos a quienes, por algún tiempo, se entendieron como meros
ecos de una personalidad superior" (Silva Castro, "Rafael Maluenda . . . "
311). In his last collection of short stories, Colmena urbana (1937),
Maluenda develops vampirism as a central motif in two of the eighteen short
stories. In "El crimen de Smith," the narrator José Smith is sentenced to
perpetual solitary confinement for murdering a mysterious old man who had
appeared at the scene of a fatal accident or when someone was dying. Smith

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recalls how the man's mouth "de labios delgados y rojos, tan rojos . . .
daban la impresión de una herida que sangrara constantemente" (Maluenda,
Colmena . . . 74), suggesting that the man had sucked the blood out of the
dead persons and his mouth showed stains of the blood. In the last story in
the collection, "Fulgores de la tarde," Hernán Bedoya gains the confidence of
Dorila Rodríguez, then leaves her for another woman. As a result, Dorila
literally fades into nothing, deeply affected by Bedoya's vampiristic betrayal;
her sister Tomasa notes her sudden change from lively to sullen; "Parecía
como si algo se apagara debajo de esa piel fláccida y marchita y que la cara
amarillenta se llenara de sombras..rápidamente, vertiginosamente, como en
los cielos de los crepúsculos invernales cuando el postrer resplandor de la
tarde anuncia fatalmente la llegada de la noche negra, definitiva . . . "
(Maluenda, Colmena . . . 153). Bedoya depends upon women to survive like
the vampire needs blood or mental capabilities for sustenance. As a
widower, Bedoya "se había resignado ... a su condición de renovada
soltería, consciente, no obstante, de que 'no es bueno que el hombre viva
solo'" (Maluenda, Colmena . . . 138), without the presence of a woman.
Except for Dorila's withering into nothingness, there is no physical indication
that Bedoya had sucked her blood or physically harmed her. Similarly, in the
relationship between Máximo Luján and Polidoro in Vampiro de trapo there
are no physical external markings to indicate a vampire attack: no red
puncture wounds from an attack on the neck or no indication that such an

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attack had occurred. Instead, Luján slowly loses his ability to express his
own thoughts and feelings.
In Vampiro de trapo. Maluenda combines the vampire story and the
monster story to create what James B. Twitchell sees as a powerful blend:
"Together the stories [of Frankenstein and of Dracula] form a diptych of the
everlasting sexual concerns of youth and are often even linked together as
parts of the same twin bill" (Twitchell, Dreadful . . . 160). This is true in
Maluenda's novel as well, as sexuality between Luján and Carmen Barton is
introduced but left unachieved and interfered with by the doll Polidoro.
Vampiro de trapo also shows on a very human level how the two
stories/myths display a fight with and for life: the monster struggles to exist
while the vampire takes life away. Like in Dracula. Maluenda's novel
expresses sexual anxieties that are played out among men who battle for
women. As Christopher Craft has noted about Stoker's novel Dracula. "the
sexual threat that this novel first evokes, manipulates, sustains, but never
finally represents is that Dracula [the male vampire] will seduce, penetrate,
[and] drain another male" (Craft 110). The doll Polidoro never physically
attacks Luján; in a mysterious fashion that is never explained in the novel,
Polidoro only preys upon the ventriloquist's psyche so that he can become
the main attraction of the show and in the process prevent a physical
relationship between Luján and Carmen Barton.

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This clash within the myths behind Frankenstein and Dracula. the two
works evident in Maluenda's novel, parallels human existence moving
chronologically from birth to death: "We begin with Mary Shelley
Wollstonecraft's [Dr.] Frankenstein who creates life, and we end with [the]
<
extraordinary invention of the 'Un-Dead,' the nosferatu. those creatures for
whom . . . life is a curse" (Murphy 12). Jean-Jacques Lecercle classifies the
Frankenstein/monster myth as progressive and moving toward the future in
an effort to create life while the Dracula/vampire myth is reactionary, "torné
vers le passé, vers l'origine, obsédé par la métaphore céntrale du sang, celui
que boit le vampire mais aussi celui qui coule dans les veines de I'aristocrate
. . . " (Lecercle 122). In Maluenda's novel, however, these distinctions
collapse as the monster-doll-vampire does not outwardly yearn for a life
independent of its creator. Polidoro simply removes Máximo Luján's life,
making no gestures for freedom nor for a separate existence. One critic
observes that the relationship between Victor Frankenstein and his created
monster is similar to that between Máximo Luján and Polidoro: "They
represented a single system in which evil and good intermingled, in which the
separation of characteristics was difficult to grasp" (Monleón 71).
By casting two of his protagonists as projections of Lord Ruthven and
Aubrey, Maluenda expresses the sexual distress of impossible male-to-female
relationships evident in "The Vampyre" by John Polidori. Lord Ruthven is "a
mysterious figure whose magnetism draws people to him but whose secrecy

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and lonely brooding precludes relationships of any depth" (Silver and Ursini
37), similar to the deceptive Polidoro whose quick and witty comments
entertain (manipulate) the audiences at the Casino Palace but intrude into the
lives of Máximo Luján and Carmen Barton. Maluenda, as Polidori before him,
is aware that the vampire figure prohibits successful relationships because
"The very nature of the undead state, willed or unwilled, violates not only
the Christian concepts of life and afterlife but the dispassionate, intellectual
notions of love as well" (Silver and Ursini 55).
The combination of vampire and monster is present in other Latin
American works of fiction dealing with the theme of vampirism. The
destructive capability of an artificially created being appears in one of Horacio
Quiroga's stories titled "El vampiro."2 In his article, Aldridge emphasizes the
primary aspect of love as a factor in the fatal outcome of Quiroga's 1935
short story, "the narrative of a man who succeeds in developing a
mysterious ray capable of bringing to life images which appear on a motion
picture screen. The protagonist becomes enamored of a particular
Hollywood star and succeeds in reincarnating her after her death at his own
2 Horacio Quiroga (1878-1937) wrote two short stories with the title "El vampiro." The
first one appeared in the collection of nineteen short stories titled Anaconda (1921). The
story mentioned by Aldridge appeared in the 1935 collection of short stories called Más
allá, Quiroga's last published book. Both stories appear in Alfonso Llambias de Azevedo,
ed., Horacio Quiroga. Cuentos completos. 2 vols. (Montevideo: Ediciones de la Plaza,
1987). Vampirism is also the theme of an earlier story by Quiroga called "El almohadón de
plumas" which appeared in the 1917 collection of stories Cuentos de amor, de locura v de
muerte. An ¡n-depth analysis of Quiroga's use of the vampire motif is lacking in Latin
American fiction studies.

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hands by uniting the force of iove with his mysterious ray. Eventually the
reincarnated being imbibes the same power of love, which is so strong that
she becomes a vampire and destroys her creator" (Aldridge 50). Maluenda's
novel develops in a different fashion than Quiroga's story because the reader
does not have any information regarding the origin of the doll Polidoro nor
about the origin of the doll's mysterious power. The doll is simply a part of
Máximo Luján's popular stage show, opposite from the fascination of the
protagonist in Quiroga's short story with the deceased Hollywood star and
his desire to keep her alive after her death. Little by little, a deeper
antagonism increases between Máximo Luján and Polidoro.
When Máximo Luján begins to realize that Polidoro may be affecting
his personality, he visits a psychiatrist in order to hopefully understand his
affliction with the doll. Dr. Mauricio Mendizani is skeptical when he hears
Luján tell about the strange relationship with his doll: "comencé a percatarme
de que 'Polidoro' se adelantaba a expresar lo que yo tenía en la mente pero
no deseaba manifestar ... Al darme cuenta de ello me esforzaba por
desviar el diálogo, pero el muñeco, adivinando mi propósito, se adelantaba a
exponer lo que yo no quería decir ..." (Maluenda, Vampiro . . . 55). Luján
clearly states to Dr. Mendizani that the doll can act (and think) on its own,
but the psychiatrist is unable to comprehend why Luján is preoccupied with
what has made him so successful in his career; during this conversation he
asks Luján a perceptive question, disbelieving that Luján needs medical

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assistance: "Si eso nada ha perjudicado su trabajo, si por el contrario usted
mismo reconoce que ha contribuido a su éxito, ¿qué lo conduce a creer que
se trata de algo que merece la atención de un médico?" (Maluenda, Vampiro
, , , 56). Luján later meets the psychiatrist's daughter Elvira at a party, and
torn between his attraction for Carmen Barton and Dr. Mendizani's daughter,
Máximo Luján struggles to understand his sexual feelings. The unfulfilled
sexuality in this novel reiterates the theme of hidden or forbidden passion
found in other Latin American vampire stories examined thus far in this
dissertation. In Vampiro de trapo "hay un idilio insinuado y trunco en el cual
cabe al ventrílocuo el desmedrado papel del hombre que si bien hace concebir
la pasión a una mujer, no acude oportunamente a saciarla" (Silva Castro,
Panorama . ., 258).
In Maluenda's interpretation of the vampire myth, when Polidoro and
Máximo Luján are together on the stage, the ventriloquist expresses his
emotions through Polidoro. The vampire figure in Maluenda's novel
articulates sexual identity in the same fashion as Francisco Gáscaro, the
pederast/murderer/vampire figure in Pinzón's novel El vampiro, whose rape
and murder of three young boys place sexuality into a violent and abrasive
discourse that is otherwise silent without this agressive behavior. However,
the sexuality between Máximo Luján and Carmen Barton remains unfulfilled
because "no quedan fuerzas para deleitarse en la posesión de una mujer,
pues todas ellas aparecen embargadas por la necesidad de repeler el asalto

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del homúnculo" (Silva Castro, Panorama . . . 258-59) Polidoro. The novel
depicts vampirism as a psychological force more than a physical one, even
though Luján begins to lose his strength during the course of the novel.
Carmen tells Dr. Mendizani that the doll is producing visible effects in the
ventriloquist: "las consecuencias se están haciendo visibles, no sólo en su
trabajo, también en su carácter ..." (Maluenda, Vampiro . . . 116).
This novel shows how vampirism as an artificial construct is capable
of removing life. The main point of reference in this regard in Maluenda's
novel is the parallel between performance on the stage and performance in
real life, alluded to in the narrative as vampiristic. People in theater become
different themselves when they leave the roles they play on the stage:
"acontece que comediantes que han alcanzado grandes prestigios de cartel
en el escenario, se muestren en visible inferioridad en la comedia de la vida"
(Maluenda, Vampiro . . . 20). With the roles they present to the audience,
actors develop a strange relationship on stage that is different with each
portrayal but similar in an important way: the roles deter the actors from
developing a personality. Máximo Luján becomes a victim of his dolls
(primarily of Polidoro) and their act is more than a theater/stage performance:
'"Dándole vida a mis muñecos, ¿no les entrego yo mi propia vida? ¿No han
llegado a ser unos fantasmas que se alimentan de mis espíritu? ¿Usted cree
que lo mío es solo una habilidad de labios y cuerdas vocales?'" (Maluenda,
Vampiro . . . 31). Luján expresses to the stage manager of the Casino

195
Palace that he and Polidoro function with the mouth, a direct identification of
the oral nature of the vampire preying on the victim: "traduzco lo que piensa
'Polidoro' y le presto para eso mis órganos bucales. Pero la voz del muñeco
no es la mía, ¿verdad? Y cuando dialogamos, ¿no dice el público que el
fantoche es más inteligente que yo?" (Maluenda, Vampiro . . . 39).
Except for a kiss between Máximo Luján and the psychiatrist's
daughter, there is no sexual activity expressed in the novel. When Elvira
Mendizani seduces Máximo Luján at a party, their kiss is similar to how the
vampire preys on the victim: "esa caricia inesperada que lo inmovilizaba, que
lo penetraba, que exploraba hasta los más recónditos secretos de su
sensualidad, sobrecogió al hombre como un deslumbrador destello"
(Maluenda, Vampiro . . . 99). After their sensual embrace, Elvira retreats
from Máximo silently, unnoticed by other persons at the party. In another
example of unfulfilled sexuality, Máximo Luján struggles to become intimate
with Carmen Barton, a dancer in the theater. They are unable to develop a
close relationship because of Polidoro. Carmen believed that "la influencia
que el muñeco ejecutaba sobre el espíritu del ventrílocuo ... era del todo
adversa a sus amorosos empeños ..." (Maluenda, Vampiro . . . 135) that
never develop.
In Polidori's story "The Vampyre," silence is forced upon Aubrey by
the vampire Lord Ruthven, who asks Aubrey not to reveal to anyone that he
is a vampire. When Aubrey realizes that his sister is betrothed to Ruthven,

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he frantically but unsuccessfully attempts to tell her the deadly secret. After
their wedding, "Aubrey could no longer support himself; his rage not finding
vent, had broken a blood vessel and was conveyed to bed" (Polidori 125).
When Luján finally destroys the doll, he falls to the floor of the stage after
suffering a similar affliction: "Trombosis coronaria, sin la menor duda"
(Maluenda, Vampiro . . . 1 53), says a doctor at the scene of Luján's death.
In Maluenda's novel Polidoro supresses Máximo Luján's thoughts and
in turn expresses what the actor cannot; in other words, Polidoro forces
Luján into a non-communicating/non-communicative and silent position
similar to how Lord Ruthven manipulates Aubrey in Polidori's story; "en un
proceso casi imperceptible, mientras 'Polidoro' se había ido haciendo más y
más audaz en sus opiniones, en su crítica, el ventrílocuo se iba sintiendo más
tímido, más reservado, más recogido en sí mismo en todas las circunstancias
de su vida ordinaria" (Maluenda, Vampiro . . . 57). Like Aubrey in "The
Vampyre," Luján slowly loses the ability to express himself because of the
vampire figure controlling his life.
Maluenda does not provide an explanation for Polidoro's behavior in
the novel, and so Luján visits a psychiatrist in hopes of understanding what
his doll is doing to him. However, the doctor fails to understand the conflict.
In a similar fashion, in Polidori's tale Aubrey is all but ignored by the doctors
who actually see him as a madman incapable of expressing coherent
thoughts: "He [Aubrey] fell upon his knees to them, he implored, he begged

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of them to delay but for one day. They, attributing this to the insanity they
imagined had taken possession of his mind, endeavoured [sic] to pacify him,
and retired" (Polidori 124). Both Luján and Aubrey are vampirically forced
into a world of silence that not even medical experts are willing to
understand or believe. Aubrey is bound to an oath of silence imposed by
the vampire Lord Ruthven, and Máximo Luján does not confide in anyone his
affliction resulting from Polidoro; he outwardly appears to be doing okay
when in reality his life is in shambles because of the doll: "estaba sufriendo
callado, sin querer confiar a nadie la causa de sus mortificaciones,
disimulando con una aparente conformidad el malestar que lo afligía,
engendrando hondas inquietudes en quienes le tenían afecto, porque sin
conocer su verdadera causa le resultaba imposible ir en su ayuda" (Maluenda,
Vampiro . . . 117). Polidoro affects Máximo to the point that he is unable
to deal with intimacy on a verbal or physical level.
Dr. Mendizani suspects that the doll is an external projection of Luján's
fear of himself and of his sexuality. In the doctor's opinion, Luján has used
Polidoro as a way to deal with these insecurities. With the doll, Luján "ha
encontrado una forma práctica que le permite desprenderse sin temores ni
inhibiciones de su íntima manera de pensar, salvando así el conflicto entre su
timidez congénita y el imperativo impulso a manifestar lo que siente . . . "
(Maluenda, Vampiro . . . 11 8) on a sexual level. The doctor believes that,
as time passes, Luján will get over his obsession of not dealing with his

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insecurities. In this sense, Polidoro is Luján's shadow, a term from Jungian
psychology that is applicable to how Polidoro haunts or follows Luján. In
order to be free from the doll, Luján attempts to confront Polidoro in Dr.
Mendizani's office because his freedom from Polidoro's actions results from
acknowledging and coming to terms with the darker and shadowy aspects of
his personality as they are played out by the doll.
One critic of the vampire myth has noted how this process of seeing
the evil in the vampire figure (the shadow) can lead to freedom from the
figure. Luján's visit to the psychiatrist demonstrates how "The hero must
recognize that the shadow exists and must come to terms with its
destructive power in order to gain enough strength to overcome it"
(McDonald 133). Both Luján and Carmen deal with their lack of sexual
expression between each other by first visiting Dr. Mendizani and then
confronting and destroying Polidoro, who actually helps them confront their
anxieties. But Polidoro is a doll that can repeatedly be put back together in
subsequent forms, so like the mythic vampire figure in popular culture,
Polidoro, "as collective shadow, can be recreated over and over again"
(McDonald 141) as an artificial construct. The psychiatrist does not
acknowledge that the doll changes and prohibits any potential relationship
between Carmen and Luján. Instead, Luján must recognize this, and he does.
Since Polidoro removes personality and the ability to express emotions from
Luján instead of withdrawing blood, it is not easy for Luján to understand (to

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see) his affliction. His connection with the doll demonstrates how in certain
vampiristic relationships the victim wastes away and the vampire gains
strength often without external indications. Carmen, however, is convinced
that Máximo is telling the truth since she has noticed that "los depresivos
estados de ánimo del ventrílocuo ... se hacían más sensibles cuando su
trabajo con el muñeco se mostraba con más fascinante pugnacidad . . . "
(Maluenda. Vampiro . . . 124).
Maluenda's novel demonstrates the way the vampire myth
incorporates significant changes from one version to the next while at the
same time combining similar elements. In Maluenda's novel, the victim of
the doll is male and the destroyer of the doll is female, a reversal of Bram
Stoker's vampire story in which Lucy Westenra falls prey to Count Dracula, a
male vampire who is eventually exterminated by her male friends. The
destruction of Polidoro by Carmen involves the use of religious symbolism in
the vampire myth told by Stoker in Dracula as well as the primitive means
necessary to deal with such a creature. Carmen buys knife blades as a way
to destroy Polidoro because as a child, her mother had told her about "las
mágicas ceremonias que la gente de su raza practicaba para conjurar las
hechicerías adversas, para invalidar la maléfica influencia de los sortilegios . .
. " (Maluenda, Vampiro . . . 136). Polidoro's powerful influence over
Máximo Luján "cobra en el alma de éste las proporciones de un monstruo de
hechicería ..." (Silva Castro, Panorama . . . 258) so it is appropriate that

200
Carmen recalls these episodes from her childhood in her attempt to destroy
the doll. Máximo Lujan's ability to bring his puppets to life causes a strange
reaction in Carmen: "la inducía a pensar que en las facultades de ese artista
existía un secreto mágico, fuera de lo humano, que le fascinaba trayéndole
remembranzas de las ceremonias del 'vudú,' en las ocultas florestas
antillanas, que la madre negra le había referido en su niñez" (Maluenda,
Vampiro . . . 69). Carmen involves the rites of voodoo by purchasing similar
weapons used in those rituals, and by incorporating the knife blades into her
struggle against Polidoro, she uses a prescribed set of weapons in the same
fashion the vampire is warded off by a object from the vampire myth, the
wooden stake. Carmen inserts three steel blades into Polidoro's chest cavity
in a fashion similar to how a stake is driven through the chest of a vampire in
its coffin. She enters Luján's dressing room and "Abrió después su bolso y
extrajo un paquete de papel encerado, del cual sacó tres espejantes y filosas
hojas de acero, casi del largo de sus dedos. Y, murmurando palabras
ininteligibles y operando con toda precaución, las fue haciendo penetrar en la
estructura del muñeco, justo en el sitio del corazón ..." (Maluenda,
Vampiro . . . 137), the same part of the vampire's body that is penetrated
during its destruction.
Two episodes from the novel demonstrate Maluenda's use of
additional material from traditional vampire folklore. Despite his demise at
the novel's end, Polidoro exhibits the timelessness of the vampire figure. He

201
does not get older; as he tells Luján in an earlier performance "Yo sólo me
deterioro con el uso, mientras tú envejeces, aunque no quieras reconocerlo"
(Malnonda. Vampiro . . . 12). When asked about Polidoro's age, one person
notes that the doll "se desgasta pero no envejece; en eso se diferencia de la
tontería humana, que envejece sin desgastarse ..." (Maluenda, Vampiro . .
129). During the last performance in the novel, the anniversary show for
the Casino Palace, Máximo Luján becomes so infuriated with Polidoro's
comments that he destroys the doll and subsequently dies of a heart attack.
The knives that Carmen had placed in the doll's chest cavity cut Luján's
hands as he is ripping the doll apart, providing the blood that is typical of a
vampire attack in literature and film. Before he dies, Máximo Luján
successfully and triumphantly destroys the vampiristic doll in a fashion that
appears to indicate that the doll bled to death: "De pronto se le vio [a
Máximo Luján] vacilar, soltar los restos del fantoche depedazado, quedarse
hierático con la faz contraída en un gesto de ahogo y mirándose las manos
cubiertas en sangre. 'Lo he matado..,' musitó con el acento de una infinita
desolación, con las pupilas clavadas en los rojos hilos goteantes" (Maluenda,
Vampiro . . . 1 53) of the doll's remains.
Maluenda's novel shares a similar characteristic with the other vampire
stories examined thus far in this dissertation: the male and female victims
and the male vampire closely interact, indicating a consistent tendency in
Latin American vampire narratives to demonstrate homosexual vampirism

202
through the veil of difficult, impossible, or failed heterosexual activity. Male-
female sexuality remains altered at the end of Vampiro de trapo, for when
Máximo Luján lies dying on the stage, Carmen desperately attempts to revive
him: "Se produjo una indescriptible confusión. La mulata, echada sobre el
caído [Luján], trataba de animarlo con sus caricias y con sus sollozantes
ruegos ..." (Maluenda, Vampiro . . . 153). Despite her tender touches,
she cannot restore what Polidoro has taken from her. (Actually, Carmen
assists in murdering Luján since she placed three knife blades inside of
Polidoro in a last attempt to destroy the doll. Máximo cuts himself on these
blades before he suffers a heart attack).
Froylán Turcios tragically ends his novel El vampiro with the death of
Luz, leaving her cousin Rogerio Mendoza alone at an early age. They are
unable to consummate their relationship because of her death, a victimization
by the vampire Padre Félix. At the end of El general Bebevidas by Manuel
Bedoya, Luis González and Julia Solonio have a child out of wedlock even
though Julia's husband is still alive. As the novel closes, Luis "llevaba la
impresión de que éste [el Jefe del Partido] temía por algo misterioso que no
se había ni atrevido a esbozarle. El tiempo iba a darle razón" (Bedoya, £1
general . . . 282). Bebevidas celebrates his triumph over the opposition,
"un movimiento revolucionario que no pudo alcanzar éxito. El sátrapa tenía
una guardia pretoriana contra la cual nada valían los pechos desnudos de la
juventud aprista que luchaba por la salvación de su patria" (Bedoya, Ei

203
general . . . 285). Nevertheless, Julia is not concerned that the dictator's
continual vigilance over their lives will affect her new yet altered existence
with Luis even though she tells him that their pending life together in
"another world" will be different because of their conviction to the Partido's
cause: "No te preocupes. Mi marido dejará de serlo cualquier día de estos.
El divorcio está en marcha ... y si no ... mi hijo vivirá en otro mundo, el
nuevo que había forjado el Partido. La Sociedad y el Estado nuevos . . . "
(Bedoya, El general . . . 268). In El vampiro by José Abimael Pinzón, even
though Francisco Gáscaro is captured and goes to prison, Evaristo Nuncira's
marriage suffered extensively during the course of the investigation that
discovered the vampire.
These narratives provide a closer examination of sexual energy that is
thwarted by the designs of a male vampire who ultimately and aggressively
removes life or at least attempts to alter it. Like the sexuality expressed in
Bram Stoker's novel Dracula. the mysterious vampiristic power of Polidoro in
Maluenda's novel "seems to represent the threat of a free-floating sexual
drive and a concomitant desire for total possession which exists unrestrained
by any social properties and few physical ones" (Bruzelius 53). At the close
of the novel, Polidoro's existence remains unexplained; there is never any
discussion in the novel among the performers of the Casino Palace about
why the doll is manipulative. The puppet is uncanny: the audiences who
attend the Casino Palace accept Polidoro as a popular form of entertainment

204
but only Máximo Luján is uneasy about Polidoro's unsolicited comments; his
trip to Dr. Mendizani's office confirms this. His entertaining capablities do
not hide the fact that Polidoro, like Count Dracula who warmly invites
Jonathan Harker into his castle only to seduce and victimize him, displays
"an unsettling otherness which is hauntingly familiar, insinuatingly intimate
but always somehow deeply foreign" (Glover 131) to those who interact
with him.

CHAPTER 6
"EL VAMPIRO," CHAPTER TEN OF MANUEL MUJICA LAINEZ'S CRÓNICAS
REALES
Unlike the plots of the other novels examined in this dissertation that
occur in specific parts of Latin America, Manuel Mujica Lainez's Crónicas
reales (1967) takes place in a kingdom situated "en un indeterminado país
próximo al Mar Negro" (Cruz 1 37). Of the twelve chronicles, Number Ten is
dedicated to the story of Zappo XV von Orbs the vampire, and the rest
"trace the opulent past of the [royal] family up to its rather decadent years"
(Ramos Foster 85); various phases of the family are provided in episodes
that "presentan la historia de la dinastía de los von Orbs desde sus orígenes .
. . pasando por su decadencia, el efímero gobierno de la República y la
Restauración de la monarquía, hasta su ocaso final" (Iniesta 150, my
emphasis). The unravelling of an historical foundation in this novel contrasts
with the aspect of fantasy that pervades the narrative yet Crónicas reales
has been interpreted as an expression of Latin American and Argentinian
reality by an author who "has been labeled part of the anti-Perón
establishment in Argentine literature" (Schanzer, "The Four Hundred Years . .
. " 66) while Juan Domingo Perón was first in command in Argentina from
1946 to 1955.
205

206
During this time period before the appearance of Crónicas reales,
"most intellectuals and creators disliked Perón and felt constrained in their
expression ..." (Lindstrom 31), so the fantastic and "other indirectly
allusive forms" (Lindstrom 32) were popular ways of writing about reality.
Crónicas reales demonstrates how "the lives, adventures, and misadventures
of numerous personages--kings, queens, saints, tramps, a vampire, and
perverts ..." (Ramos Foster 85) adequately entertains as well as instructs
about human nature, a similar feature of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula as well
as other vampire narratives discussed in this dissertation.
This chapter first compares Crónicas reales with Bram Stoker's novel
Dracula and with one other Latin American vampire narrative, Vampiro de
trapo by Rafael Maluenda, from a thematic as well as a technical point of
view. Stoker and Mujica Lainez develop works that have an impending castle
and are/contain chronicles that narrate history through the fantastic imagery
of the vampire, while the doll Polidoro and Zappo are popular entertainment
figures. Second, the chapter investigates how irregular sexuality is a
consistent component in eleven chronicles of the novel and in chapter ten is
focused away from the vampire and onto the human protagonist Miss Godiva
Brandy: Zappo is not as sexually devious as the other vampires in the novels
examined thus far in the dissertation. The final point of this chapter is to
notice how, similar to the vampire doll Polidoro in Rafael Maluenda's 1958
Vampiro de trapo, the vampire Zappo XV von Orbs is a popular star whose

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success is due to international exposure in the popular media of film, one of
the more extensive modes of transmission of the vampire figure in
contemporary culture.
One feature in Bram Stoker's Dracula exists in Mujica's novel as well
as in many film interpretations of the vampire story: the castle of the vampire
as a representation of a feudal inheritance. Mina Harker notes the immensity
as well as the isolation of Count Dracula's mammoth ancestral residence:
"We saw it [Castle Dracula] in all its grandeur, perched a thousand feet on
the summit of a sheer precipice, and with seemingly a great gap between it
and the steep of the adjacent mountain on any side" (Stoker 376). Its sheer
size places it outside of London in a completely different world. Although
not described in as grandiose terms as Castle Dracula, Zappo's residence is
Castle Wurzburg, "la fortaleza de los Condes von Orbs" (Mujica Lainez 233)
that has been in the family for centuries. The chronicles in Mujica Lainez's
novel indicate that the residence was used as a marginal place of refuge and
exile away from law and order as well as outside of the conflicts of day-to-
day problems; members of the von Orbs family went there to get away from
problems affecting their lives. For example, in Chronicle Two, Hércules I
sends his son there because of its sacredness. In Chronicle Three, after
Cardenal Ascanio von Orbs attempts to dissuade the robot King Carlo from a
sixth marriage, "el Arzobispo optó por refugiarse durante una temporada en
Wurzburg" (Mujica Lainez 66). Countess Octavia von Orbs sends her

208
daugther María to the castle as a way to seek revenge upon Diamante for
forbidding her son Olav to marry María: "la mandó . . . al lejano castillo de
Wurzburg ... por haber sido habitado por los primeros von Orbs . . . "
(Mujica Lainez 95).
In Chronicle Ten the basis of vampirism is similar in nature to
Maluenda's novel Vampiro de trapo: a female destroys the vampire. In
Vampiro de trapo (1958), the male vampire Polidoro is killed by a woman,
Carmen Barton, when she places three knife blades into the doll's chest.
Mujica Lainez effectively develops vampirism in other ways similar to
Stoker's Dracula as well: the vampire is a nobleman from a distant part of
the world who lives off human blood for existence, his victims are British
females as well as males, he lives in a coffin in the deepest part of his castle,
he is repelled by garlic, and he dies by having a stake (in this case, a wedge)
driven through his chest.1 Their color is even similar: in the case of Zappo,
his pale green clothes "armonizaba con el [verde] de su cadavérica piel y el
de sus tristes ojos acuáticos ..." (Mujica Lainez 239). When Count Dracula
is temporarily held at bay by his human pursuers at one point in the novel
Dracula. "His waxen hue became greenish-yellow by the contrast of his
burning eyes" (Stoker 311-12).
1 Mujica Lainez uses vampirism in two other short stories, "El brazalete" and "El retrato,"
both written in 1970. In "El brazalete," the woman who is being "sucked" by the bracelet
is also in a priveleged social position just as are Zappo XV and Count Dracula. "El retrato"
borrows from the idea of art consuming the artist's object of desire that is expressed in a
similar fashion by Edgar Allen Poe in "The Oval Portrait" (1840).

209
Mujica Lainez's novel parallels how explorers and writers document
their trips in texts or chronicles so that others may read about the many
sights, places, and beings encountered during their travels. In Dracula. the
Dutch doctor/vampirologist Dr. Van Helsing explains to Jonathan Harker the
need to chronicle everything about the vampire Count Dracula: "You must be
scribe and write him all down, so that when the others return from their
work you can give it to them; then they shall know as we do" (Stoker 347).
In his novel, Mujica Lainez describes the events and people of a kingdom
from the point of view of a chronicler who knows about the detailed exploits
and adventures of most of the royal family. Just as Van Helsing explains the
same task to Jonathan Harker, "Como relator, . . . [Mujica Lainez] toma esas
versiones, las critica, las compara, las corrige e incluso ofrece su opinión, y
como escritor interpreta esos hechos y situaciones, los embellece, los recrea
a través de su imaginación desplegada en la diversión y el humorismo"
(Iniesta 149).
The last chronicle of the novel reveals the source of the information as
"Dr. Dimitri Feodorovitch Maveroff, cuyos preciosos consejos nos han
permitido elaborar los capítulos que anteceden ..." (Mujica Lainez 295).
As the text proceeds from chapter to chapter, the events and people become
more fascinating yet the narrator does not question the reality of the
kingdom. Thus, like the written chronicles by Bernal Diaz del Castillo or El
Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, Crónicas reales provides the reader with

210
impossible creatures such as a vampire because the world of the vampire,
the kingdom of the von Orbs family, is believable.2 In his sociohistorical
study of the fantastic genre, José Monleón paraphrases Tzvetan Todorov's
idea of the marvellous text, a better description of Crónicas reales than most
critics seem to provide: "a genre closely linked to the fantastic and
chararcterized by the presentation of supernatural events without any
acknowledgment of a 'hesitation'" (Monleón 4). Each chronicle of this novel
presents the reader with the adventures of members of the royal family
without explaining the events or the occurences, a technique that seems to
fall into what Todorov and Monleón define as the marvellous; most critics,
however, label Crónicas reales as a fantastic narrative.
In Bram Stoker's novel Dracula. Dr. Van Helsing provides theoretical
background that explains the origin of the vampire within the context of
imperialism: Count Dracula is an Eastern European aristocrat seeking to
2 Arturo Torres-Rioseco does not compare the works of Bernal Diaz and El Inca Garcilaso to
Mujica Lainez's novel Crónicas reales, but his comments point to simliarities nonetheless.
For example, the tone of Diaz's Verdadera historia de la conquista de la Nueva España
(1 552) is without pretense, told as it was: "he merely relates events that he saw and in
which he himself took part" (The Epic of Latin American Literature [Los Angeles: University
of California Press, 1967]: 9). A similar, friendly tone carries the reader through Mujica's
chronicles about the von Orbs family. Comparable to Crónicas reales. "Bernal Díaz' pages
are crammed with unforgettably lifelike episodes" as well (Torres-Rioseco 9) that confirm
the historical events. El Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, in his Comentarios reales (1609), also
adds more to his narrative than historical facts and events. In addition to tracing the history
of the Inca empire from a personal perspective, "he introduces into his narrative all sorts of
legendary and fantastic episodes more natural to the fiction writer than to the exacting
mind of the scholar" (Torres-Rioseco 13). In both examples Torres-Rioseco captures the
essence of the crónica, one of the major achievements of Bernal Diaz, El Inca Garcilaso, and
Mujica Lainez as cronistas of their time: they examine "subject matter [that] is American"
(Torres-Rioseco 6).

invade London and populate the West with vampires because he comes from
a long line of vampires immersed in an extensive tradition of evil; "The
Draculas were ... a great and noble race, though now and again were
scions held by their coevals to have had dealings with the Evil One" (Stoker
246). As will be noted below, Jonathan Harker writes at the novel's end that
they are not sure that what they all experienced was "real." In other words,
during the novel Dracula there is the persistent question about the vampire's
existence even though his actions are part of the victims' lives. The entire
framework of Dracula is a chronicle of Jonathan Harker's journey of
discovery to and from Eastern Europe just as Crónicas reales records the
historical journey into and around the kingdom of the von Orbs family that
contains a vampire very similar to the Transylvanian Dracula. The difference
is that in Stoker's work the vampire is questioned by Van Helsing while the
chronicles written by Mujica Lainez do not hesitate when presenting
information about the various members of the royal family, including the
vampire Zappo XV von Orbs.
The decade of the 1960s was an important period for Latin American
novelists. Mujica's novel was written in 1966 and published the next year.
Gabriel García Márquez' monumental story of the Buendia family, Cien años
de soledad, was published in this year as well. Other Latin American novels
of the 1960s, such as Rayuela (1963) by Julio Cortázar and José Donoso's
El lugar sin límites (1966), challenge established norms of content as well as

212
form and thrust "the Spanish American novel into the mainstream of Western
fiction."3
Some Latin American novels of the mid- to late-1 960s break with
representations of "traditional" realism in favor of the portrayal of a less-
organized view of reality that has more in common with the shifting Latin
American reality of the time. Instead of providing a passive acceptance of
reality provided by the text, these new narratives force the reader to search
for meaning out of complexities (narrative and social) as a way to deal with
reality; as one critic notes, "Spanish American fiction [of the 1960s] became
associated with imagination, innovative narrative construction, and original
treatments of fictional time and space" (Lindstrom 141). Novels of this time
period move away from displaying the conventional social realism typical of
Latin American works from the first half of the twentieth century to "a
fragmented, distorted or fantastic narrative form which reflects a perception
of a contradictory, ambiguous or even chaotic reality" (Swanson 77) out of
which it is possible to extract meaning for actual reality. For example, the
reader of Cortázar's Rayuela (Hopscotch) and Mujica's Crónicas reales has
two options with each novel: to read each chapter or chronicle individually
3 Donald Shaw, "On the New Novel in Spanish America," New Novel Review 1.1 (October
1993): 65. David William Foster notes how Donoso's novel El lugar sin límites addresses the
limits of the power of homosexuality and crossdressing rather than homosexuality cei s£.
The novel focuses less on the homosexual person than on "the outlines of impact on an
individual of the structures of sexual power that create homosexuality as an assigned
identity..." (Cultural Diversity in Latin American Literature [Albuquerque: University of New
Mexico Press, 1994]: 44).

(out of order) or to read each one successively as an entire work (in order).4
Despite the length of Mujica's novel of more than three hundred pages, the
vampire in chapter ten as well as the complexity of the two family histories
provide challenging entertainment: "The reader can ... be entertained while
enjoying an apparent sense of intellectual challenge and the vicarious thrill of
armchair political engagement" (Swanson 88) that is woven into the family
histories of the von Orbs and of the descendants of Hércules I played out in
the twelve chronicles as a contintual power struggle.
Crónicas reales exemplifies how "the acceptance of the fantastic as a
vehicle for statements about political and ethical questions led many
Argentine authors to have at least occasional recourse to the mode"
(Lindstrom 31) in narrative fiction. In the novel, fantasy represents an
adequate way to examine the destabilization of reality and to tell about the
convoluted and distorted character of reality that was taking shape in
Argentina: "What it [the fantastic] frequently does is to attack our assurance,
our complacency about the world around us and about the reality and unity
of our own personalities" (Shaw, "On the New Novel ..." 62). Enrique Luis
Revol notes that there is a note of purpose or commitment in the fantastic
tradition in Argentinian fiction as well: "el cultivo de la literatura fantástica no
es entre nosotros solamente un atributo de la 'genialidad' literaria . . . sino
4 The back cover of Mujica's novel indicates this to the reader: "Aunque lo forman doce
cuentos independientes, débense leer estos como una novela..." (Crónicas reales [Buenos
Aires: Editorial Sudamericana, 1969]).

214
consecuencia de una urgente necesidad psico-social" (Revol 213). As a
fantastic narrative, Crónicas reales contains a very strong presence of history
even though "todo es imaginación, todo es fruto de la fértil imaginación del
autor" (Cruz 141). However, Mujica Lainez expresses reality in Crónicas
reales through the complex evolution of the von Orbs family because "En la
base de trampas y tramoyas [de esta familia] persiste la condición americana,
tal como fue bordada por la literatura europea que comentó maravillas y
dislates de los conquistadores; mundo de notas opuestas en que se anudan
tantas modalidades expresivas ..." (Ghiano 97), similar to the world that
Bernal Díaz and El Inca Garcilaso examine in their chronicles.
The title of the novel translates as "Royal Chronicles" or "Real
Chronicles," depending on the translation.5 The reader has to decide if the
material is real or imagined, similar to the technique used by Bram Stoker to
tell the story of Count Dracula recounted by many second-hand sources; the
reader must opt for a factual or fictional reality based on the title of the
novel. One critic has pointed to this dilemma concerning Crónicas reales: "[el
autor] nos alerta el adjetivo elegido: «Reales», que nos hace pensar a la vez
en aquello referente a la realiza [sic] y en lo que posee carácter de realidad . .
. " (Iniesta 149). Appended to the end of the novel Dracula is a "note"
5 The meaning of "real" in English is best represented in Spanish by the word "verdadero,"
but can also be written in Spanish as "real," so Mujica Lainez sets up the reader for a
double interpretation of the title and therefore the text. Enrique Luis Revol notes how
Mujica's title is ambiguous: "el adjetivo ['real'] debe, por cierto, entenderse en más de un
sentido" (Revol 219), allowing for more than one translation.

215
written by Jonathan Harker seven years after all the newspaper articles,
memos, and personal diary entries have been collated to tell the events about
the vampire's death. He and his wife Mina have had a son since then, and
the family travels back to Transylvania. After their trip to Eastern Europe,
Harker reflects on the lack of authenticity in all the typewritten materials that
compose their story about the battle with the vampire Count Dracula and
admits that "we could hardly ask anyone, even did we wish to, to accept
these proofs of so wild a story" (Stoker 382). By adding this to his novel,
Stoker questions the veracity of his own writing and the existence of Count
Dracula remains a subjective interpretation of the vampire myth.
Until the last chronicle of Crónicas reales. Mujica Lainez narrates the
story of the kingdom's history through the words of an anonymous narrator.
But when the narrator admits at the end of the novel that Dr. Dimitri
Feodorovitch Maveroff "nos dijo que había visto con sus propios ojos a los
espectros de los fallecidos moradores del Palacio [Heraclida] ..." (Mujica
Lainez 329, my emphasis) and that "nos juró que los había visto a todos y
que hasta había conversado con ellos" (Mujica Lainez 331, my emphasis),
the factual basis of the events is thrown into question by admitting that the
narrated events are second-hand stories told to the narrator by someone else.
Vampire stories such as chapter ten of Crónicas reales are presented from a
second-hand point of view since no conclusive evidence supports their
existence; Tzvetan Todorov admits this much in his definition of the fantastic

216
genre when an unexplainable event occurs in "our world, the one we know, a
world without devils, sylphides, or vampires ..." (Todorov 25, my
emphasis). Stoker uses the accounts of others to substantiate the existence
of Count Dracula in the same fashion as Mujica Lainez takes the stories told
by Dr. Maveroff to narrate the events of the kingdom in Crónicas reales: both
authors distance themselves from a potentially argumentative subject, the
existence of vampires. Alain Silver and James Ursini mention that bringing
together second-hand tales and/or "stories told to the author" is difficult to
accept for a contemporary society "deprived of a Medieval faith in a cosmos
inhabited by demons and angels" (Silver and Ursini 19) that pervades all of
Crónicas reales.
But as José Monleón observes, the sociohistorical factors that form
the basis of apparently fantastic stories such as those involving vampires
intruding into the world of the living portrays the sometimes disastrous
outcomes of human activity; vampire stories such as John Polidori's story
"The Vampyre, A Tale," Stoker's novel Dracula. and chapter ten of Crónicas
reales provide "the disquieting possibility that reality was [sic] a problematic
entity with several, and even contradictory, layers of signification" (Monleon
76). For example, in John Polidori's short story "The Vampyre" (1816), Lord
Ruthven appears like a human being without any outward signs that he is a
vampire. Yet "the monster was offered as a simple perversion of the human
image, as a physical distortion of the bourgeois norm" (Monleón 78).

217
Jonathan Harker notes in his travel diary how Count Dracula seems to be
mysteriously aware of many things outside of his own region, an area known
for its backwards ways and lack of contact with the "civilized" world of
London: "For a man who was never in the country [of England], and who did
not evidently do much in the way of business, his knowledge and acumen
were wonderful" (Stoker 40). The fantastic tradition in Argentinian narrative
has this same attachment to uneven developments in it history: "esta
decidida vocación por lo fantástico tiene raíces tan hondas que se nutre en
los hondos sedimentos irracionales de la misma vida nacional" (Revol 206-
07).
Chronicle Ten, "El vampiro" (The Vampire), tells how one member of
the vast royal family, Baron Zappo XV von Orbs, gains fame as a movie-star
vampire. Similar to Bram Stoker's Count Dracula, Zappo is a "true" vampire:
he bites his victims on the neck and drinks their blood. He also exhibits an
attractive yet mysterious sexual nature; one critic notes that "Mujica Lainez .
. . shows considerable interest in sexual deviation" (Schanzer, "The Four
Hundred Years..." 68) in his works, but in chronicle ten Miss Godiva
Brandy's devious and violent reaction to sexuality is the focus of attention
and not that of Zappo. Like Stoker's novel Dracula. Mujica develops the
episode of the vampire within the context of a more extensive genealogical
history and does not place Zappo as the central character of the novel; the
tenth chronicle expands on the information introduced in the first chronicle of

21 8
the book about Count Benno von Orbs zu Orbs, the ancestor of Zappo who
was known as "The Devil" for his violent and ruthless acts, "continuas y
atléticas profanaciones carnales [que] eran acompañadas por el corolario del
robo metódico" (Mujica Lainez 9). The brutal ways of Zappo XV, as
demonstrated in the first chronicle of the novel, highlight what later becomes
Zappo's vampirism in chronicle ten: "el Conde tumbaba en segundos a la
virgen niña y al vetusto alcalde, a la abadesa y al lebrel, embrujado, como un
íncubo, por la exasperación vesánica de consolidar su posesión" (Mujica
Lainez 10-11), a prelude to the sexual nature of the entire novel and of
chronicle ten.
All chronicles of Crónicas reales exhibit the constant thematic element
of sexuality and its repercussions, a continual point of concern between the
von Orbs family and the relatives of Hércules I. However, simply because
sexuality remains as a human characteristic, it does not remain restrained to
simple relationships. The opening chronicle of the novel does not dismiss the
sexual improprieties of Count Benno, Zappo's distant relative: "Ni la jerarquía
encumbrada, ni el parentesco incestuoso, ni la edad impúber o provecta, ni la
repelente clasificación dentro de los meandros de la escala zoológica,
sofrenaron la tenacidad organizada de sus estupros" (Mujica Lainez 9). Ñor
do Benno's peculiar animalistic traits, typical of Count Dracula as well, go
unobserved: "[Benno] más parecía tigre que hombre, y . . . sus mandíbulas y
su lengua, incapaces de modular un sonido que fuese el autoritario ¡hop!

219
¡hop!, crujían como si devoraran" (Mujica Lainez 20). In Chronicle Two,
Queen Ortruda fears that one of her ten children, Eximio, will not be
considered authentic royalty by foreign courts because of her marriage to
Hércules, the illegitimate son of Baron Zappo von Orbs: "con una sangre así,
propicia a la convivencia accesible, no se manufacturaban príncipes" (Mujica
Lainez 33).
In Chronicle Three, King Carlo III is unable to produce an heir, so he
creates an artificial king using his own blood instead of semen to generate
new life, a process utilizing "la transferencia de su sangre a un ser que
prolongaría su efímero paso por el mundo" (Mujica Lainez 58). (The impure
blood of the von Orbs is eventually researched in Chronicle Ten by Zappo XV
in order to "substantiate" his ancestor Benno.) In Chronicle Four, Carlo VI
becomes concerned that his son Carlo Vil "parecía cada vez más un gitano,
lo cual traía a la mente, con alarmante exceso, la ascendencia de su
cónyuge" (Mujica Lainez 78) Melisenda, who carries "en las venas cierto
caudal de sangre zíngara, heredado de su abuela bohemia" (Mujica Lainez
73).
In Chronicle Five, Olav Furio, youngest son of Hércules V, falls in love
with the wrong person: his cousin Maria von Orbs. His mother Diamante is
furious that her son is marrying a von Orbs, so she kills them both with an
arrow since she fears that "Cualquier agravio que se infligiera a los Orbs
repercutiría sobre la casta entera" (Mujica Lainez 92). When Lovro von

220
Kwatz and his crew discover an island in Chronicle Six, the hairy female ruler
(La Velluda) forces them to have sex with her only under their condition that
their ships be repaired in order for them to continue their journey. Their
boats are repaired but the vicious sex is not mentioned in the chronicle:
"Bástele al lector el informe de que [los navegantes] salieron destrozados,
pilosos y hediondos de la durísima prueba" (Mujica Lainez 117). After the
sailors drink excessive amounts from the fountains of youth and knowledge,
each man becomes a brilliant baby whose relationship with his wife is "sólo
la que existe entre una mujer hecha y derecha y un niño de percepción sútil"
(Mujica Lainez 1 32).
The Island of the Hermits in Chronicle Seven does not have female
inhabitants, so procreation is "un misterio irritante, un misterio tan misterioso
que hasta se ignoraba de qué medio se valían sus moradores para
propagarse, en un territorio que excluía a las hembras" (Mujica Lainez 142).
The highlight of Chronicle Eight is the emergence of Lorina Borso as she rides
naked into battle against the Turks, displaying her sex(uality) in a gesture of
liberation: "Y todo el tiempo, todo el tiempo sonaban las graves cajas
sensuales y avanzaba el corcel de la nueva Godiva, que . . . quedó desnuda
sobre el cuello de la bestia ..." (Mujica Lainez 209).
When the Princess Sigilinda Palestrina-Bonaparte discovers in Chronicle
Nine that her deceased husband had been unfaithful, his possible lover is
compared to an animal: "ni siquiera estaba segura Sigilinda de si las garras de

221
la tigresa hindú, que habían destrozado oficialmente a su esposo, no serían,
en realidad, los brazos seductores de una tigresa bípeda y entusiasta" (Mujica
Lainez 221). Chronicle Ten repeats the danger resulting from repetitive
sexual unions within the von Orbs family that had been mentioned in
Chronicle Four. Zappo XV sets out to save Benno's unruly reputation by
spending many years "armando un enorme volumen ... en el que probaba
que, fuera de la prodigiosa estirpe de von Orbs,...todos los linajes
aristocráticos de la comarca . . . llevaban sangre judía en las venas" (Mujica
Lainez 238). Even his cousin King Carlo IX is very careful to avoid "los
riesgos de un mal de ojo no descartable" (Mujica Lainez 238) perpetuated by
Zappo: for the regent as well as for later members of the family, the threat of
sexuality continues to be real.
Chronicle ten presents the vampire figure in the contemporary popular
cultural medium of film. The Sweetface Brothers firm of London contract
Miss Godiva Brandy to write the script for their next film, "La Bestia de
Wurzburg." In order to provide an authentic setting for the film, Miss Brandy
discovers information about the Wurzburg Castle and its current owner,
Baron Zappo XV von Orbs, a vampire. The production crew travels to the
castle where they meet Zappo, and for a large amount of money, the Baron
signs a contract to star as the vampire in the film. As the production of the
movie begins, Miss Brandy becomes jealous that the Baron is attracted to
Violet Daisy, the lead female who mysteriously becomes weaker and more

222
pale as the filming progresses. As other members of the filming crew begin
to show the same symptoms as Violet, the Baron gains more color and gains
weight. Much to Miss Brandy's jealous disappointment, however, she is the
only one showing no symptoms, so she plans to kill the Baron for not
including her, for not victimizing her.
She follows Zappo to the lowest part of his castle where she discovers
his coffin as well as his paintings depicting his entire ancestry as vampires.
Later, on the set of the movie Miss Brandy "accidentally" spills ink on
Zappo's shirt and gives him one that had been soaked in garlic water, dried,
starched, and then pressed. The shirt imprisons the Baron, Miss Brandy
drives a wedge through his chest, and the vampire dies. The film is finally
produced and is a tremendous success. The other residence of Baron Zappo,
the Casa del Pompón del Diablo, is converted into a wax museum that is
eventually destroyed by the government after a revolutionary coup.
Aside from the Baron's attraction to Violet Daisy, Mujica Lainez
develops an indirect position on the issue of sexuality of the vampire. Miss
Brandy is upset that the Baron is attracted to Violet Daisy because she has
always wanted to become the victim of a vampire. Already in her sixties,
Miss Brandy seems a bit obsessed with her attraction toward the Baron. For
her, fulfillment comes in the form of murdering the person she wishes to be
sexually active with the most. The vampire story in chronicle ten of Crónicas
reales dismisses peaceful sexuality in favor of violent and vindictive

223
sexuality, one important aspect of the Latin American vampire story that has
been discussed in earlier chapters of this dissertation. In contrast with the
other chapters/chronicles of the novel that display fairly peaceful sexuality,
chronicle ten is consistent with the other vampire stories mentioned so far in
this study that display sexuality as a destructive and retaliatory force with
very human connections.
In the first chronicle of the novel, Mujica Lainez introduces a sexually
violent relative of Baron Zappo. As Miss Brandy researches Wurzburg Castle,
she comes across newpaper clippings about this (in)famous distant ancestor
of Zappo, Count Benno von Orbs zu Orbs, "el fundador de la dinastía cuyos
principales miembros nutren los relatos de esta recopilación" (Mujica Lainez
12), also described as a "casi ignorado Gilíes de Rais centroeuropeo" (Mujica
Lainez 241). Gilíes de Rais was a fifteenth-century French nobleman who
tortured, raped, and violently murdered young boys in his castle. His exploits
nearly parallel the blood-lust and savage sexuality of Francisco Gáscaro, the
criminal/vampire in José Pinzón's 1956 novel El vampiro who, like Gilíes de
Rais described here, was a "bloody man who, during years of anguish,
waited for the moment to throw himself on children, violate them, and cut
their throats" (Pauvert 20). Zappo's residence in Chronicle Ten, the
Wurzburg Castle, was once home to Benno von Orbs zu Orbs as well.
Chronicle One indicates that the grandiose castle of Zappo and his brutal
ancestor harbors less an idyllic picture of royal life than the brutal savagery

224
of an evil despot like Gilíes de Rais: "a sus depradaciones [Benno von Orbs
zu Orbs] unía atroces prácticas oscuras, hechicerías obscenas, diálogos con
fantasmas desaconsejables, fabricaciones de filtros nefandos, experimentos
científicos con párvulos raptados, y hasta misas negras, oficiadas en la cripta
de su castillo de Wurzburg, en el Mar Negro ..." (Mujica Lainez 11).
But just as Raymond T. McNally and Radu Florescu present in their
1994 book, there are ambiguities surrounding the supposed vampirism of
Vlad Tepes, the historical figure on whom Bram Stoker based Count Dracula;
Silver and Ursini question if Gilíes de Rais was a true vampire in the same
fashion. As the text from Crónicas reales indicates above, Mujica Lainez
knows the story of Gilíes de Rais as he puts together his novel. Gilíes de
Rais experiences a change comparable to the genealogical evolution of the
vicious ruler Benno von Orbs zu Orbs into the vampire Zappo XV: "He began
by using the blood of children (valued on account of its powers of
transmutation) for alchemical experiments but soon was led into blacker
rites, sodomy, and lust-murder" (Silver and Ursini 26). The same is true with
the "Blood Countess," Elizabeth Bathory, who drained female virgins in order
to bathe in their blood and remain young-looking with "what she believed
were certain restorative powers of blood rubbed into the skin" (Silver and
Ursini 29).
For Miss Brandy, the threat of the vampire Zappo is blood-related as
well as sexual since she is threatened and jealous because Zappo is sucking

225
blood out of everyone on the filming crew except her. Therefore, his
destruction is justified because of his sexuality directed towards others. For
Jonathan Harker as well, Count Dracula threatens to "sexualize" his wife
Mina. Harker must therefore eliminate the one obstacle standing between
him and Mina: the vampire. As Jonathan writes in his journal, Dracula's
threat decreases his (Jonathan's) potential as Mina's husband and lover: "I
felt impotent, and in the dark, and distrustful. But, now that I know. I am
not afraid, even of the Count. He has succeeded after all, then, in his design
in getting to London ..." (Stoker 193). The threat to Harker and the other
men fighting against Count Dracula is possessive sexuality inherited from the
past in a similar fashion as Benno passes the desire for blood on to Zappo.
Dracula advances towards men using their women as sexual pawns: "My
revenge is just [sic] begun! I spread it over centuries, and time is on my
side. Your girls that you all love are mine already; and through them you and
others shall yet be mine-my creatures, to do my bidding and to be my
jackals when I want to feed" (Stoker 312). In essence, the men vampire
hunters must stop Count Dracula before he gets to them through their
women, before he finalizes his threat to the men's (hetero)sexuality.
Miss Brandy's tragic realization that Zappo has been victimizing
everyone else in the production crew except her emphasizes how sex with
the wrong partner can be fatal, the theme that runs through Mujica's novel.
Similar to Jonathan Harker, Miss Brandy seeks revenge on a vampire whose

226
exclusive sexual acts threaten her personal sexuality. But unlike Count
Dracula's destruction by two males, Miss Brandy acts ingeniously alone as
she kills Zappo. Mina Harker watches in amazement as Count Dracula dies:
" on the instant, came the sweep and flash of Jonathan's great knife. I
shrieked as I saw it shear through the throat, whilst at the same moment Mr.
[Quincey] Morris's bowie knife plunged into the heart" (Stoker 380, my
emphasis). He dies from a deep penetration wound in the neck, the same
site where his victims receive the injection of his fangs.
Count Dracula's demise reflects the act of sex ("shear[ing] through"
and "plunged into" leads to penetration) that Jonathan Harker and his male
cohorts successfully attempt to halt. Likewise, Miss Brandy kills Zappo in a
way that reflects both his lack of sex(uality) with her and his exclusionary
passion for Violet Daisy instead of her. Her magical potion of garlic water
and heavy starch traps and holds Zappo in a shirt before she drives a wedge
into his chest; this preparation actually makes the penetration difficult.
Similar to how Dracula diminishes Jonathan Harker's virility, the garlic shirt
"lo reducía [a Zappo] a impotencia, en un ajustado molde de almidón
infranqueable" (Mujica Lainez 269). After a struggle, Miss Brandy "descargó
un golpe con toda su alma en la cuña y ésta perforó el compuesto
aglutinante. Cayó el Barón Zappo XV, cuyos labios no cesaban de expulsar
espumas . . . hasta que se frenaron loa estertores, y Miss Brandy osciló y as

227
derrumbó sobre él con explicable vértigo."6 The process and the afteraffects
of her endeavor evoke the imagery of sexual activity invoked by her: piercing,
expelling foamy fluids, noisy breathing, and falling onto him are what she
wanted with Zappo but did not attain.
The sexual exploits of Zappo XV are absent from Chronicle Ten
because he does not perform any. However, when members of the film and
acting crew begin to show mysterious signs of a vampire attack, the prose is
direct about revealing Zappo as the culprit: "Languidecían Violet, Patrick,
Lupo y los otros llagados, y engordaba Zappo XV, que se relamía como un
gato satisfecho ..." (Mujica Lainez 261). The other chronicles center
around a sexual act, but the chapter "El vampiro" exhibits a noticeable lack
of sexuality associated with the vampire Zappo. His story isolates and
marginalizes the discourse/narrative of sexuality to human as well as anterior
events such as the opening and subsequent chronicles of the novel much in
the same fashion that the other narratives discussed in this dissertation
6 Mujica Lainez 270, my emphasis. This episode has a strong resemblance to the killing of
the vampire Lucy Westenra in Dracula: citing the entire passage reveals the strong similarity
with Mujica Lainez in the use of violent and sexually-evocative imagery associated with
vampirism. As Arthur Holmwood drives the stake into Lucy's chest, "a hideous blood¬
curdling screech came from the open red lips. The body shook and quivered and twisted in
wild contortions; the sharp white teeth champed together till the lips were cut, and the
mouth was smeared with a crimson foam. But Arthur never faltered. He looked like a
figure of Thor as his untrembling arm rose and fell, driving deeper and deeper the mercy¬
bearing stake, whilst the blood from the pierced heart welled and spurted up around it"
(Stoker 222, my emphasis). When his task is complete, "the writhing and quivering of the
body became less, and the teeth seemed to champ, and the face to quiver. Finally it lay
still. The terrible task was over" (Stoker 222, my emphasis).

228
dislocate sexual passion from healthy human parameters and bind it directly
to violent vampirism.
There is no question that Zappo is a sexually-charged vampire; his
attraction to the female lead in the movie demonstrates this: "Sus ojos de
ópalo, de aguamarina, se paraban en Violet Daisy, y su roja lengua se
deslizaba sobre la golosa lascivia de sus labios" (Mujica Lainez 258). His
death at the hands of Miss Godiva Brandy, however, demonstrates the
aggressive and fatal outcome of unfulfilled human sexuality. As the Baron's
attraction increases for Violet Daisy, Miss Brandy's desperate jealousy also
grows: "Violet Daisy y el Barón, desechados los honestos respingos
inaugurales, conversaban en las pausas del trabajo, como buenos amigos. Y
Miss Godiva se desesperaba" (Mujica Lainez 259) until she eventually kills
him. The vampire dies because of a lack of sex and, paradoxically, Miss
Godiva never achieves her union with him because of her destructive
impulse.
The doll Polidoro, from Vampiro de trapo (1958) by the Chilean writer
Rafael Maluenda, and Zappo XV are or soon will become famous because of
their status as popular entertainment figures, one on the stage and the other
on film, the latter media commonly associated with the vampire figure in the
twentieth-century entertainment industry. Other dolls are part of Máximo
Luján's stage show at the Casino Palace, but Polidoro is the "star." Zappo
XV dies before the filming of "La bestia de Wurzburg" is completed and Lupo

229
Belosi (a linguistic jumble of Bela Lugosi, the Hungarian actor who
immortalized Count Dracula in the 1931 film Dracula) stands in and the film
is a huge success: "El éxito de 'La Bestia de Wurzburg' ha sido estruendoso"
(Mujica Lainez 272). Mujica Lainez employs the vampire film in chapter ten
to show that "On film, the vampire has a graphic reality that is both
liberating and limiting. But no amount of rubber bats, stage blood, or plastic
fangs can frighten or amaze a viewer without [the] imagination" (Silver and
Ursini 12) that Mujica uses as well to transform the vampire myth. The
fame of the movie lies in Lupo Belosi's acting out of the story of Zappo, an
echo of Bela Lugosi's portrayal of Count Dracula that continues to be popular
because his "authentic Hungarian accent and presence reach out to make his
Dracula a part of contemporary American folklore" (McNally and Florescu
259).
Both Maluenda and Mujica Lainez are successful "performers" in Latin
American literary production, so it is no surprise that both authors
incorporate the paradigm of performance into their vampire stories, narrative
testimonies to the enduring notoriety of the vampire figure as popular
entertainment, "a dynamic, if demonic mythology for modern times" (Skal,
The Monster Show . . . 81). The appearance of vampire stories in written
form over the centuries indicates their popularity in literary culture. Mujica
Lainez points to the successful vampire figure in contemporary popular
culture by writing him into chronicles that tell similar stories. He also

230
elevates the status of the vampire in films. When the movie "La bestia de
Wurzburg" finally appears years after its production, it remains a major
achievement: "Han transcurrido décadas desde su estreno, y todavía la
exhiben los cines snobs para embriaguez de los refinados" (Mujica Lainez
272). The vampire myth in all its forms (from drinking blood to bathing in it)
survive rendition after rendition and become cultural icons that, as this novel
indicates, remain fashionable for years after their original appearance.

CHAPTER 7
LUIS ZAPATA'S I AS AVENTURAS. DESVENTURAS Y SUEÑOS DE ADONIS
GARCÍA. EL VAMPIRO DE LA COLONIA ROMA
This last chapter of the dissertation incorporates Michel Foucault's
ideas about the cultural discourse of sexuality that he presents as confession
in the first volume of The History of Sexuality (1976). Similar to the
"vampires" described in previous chapters of this study, the vampire figure in
Luis Zapata's novel Las aventuras, desventuras y sueños de Adonis García, el
vampiro de la Colonia Roma (1979) upholds but at the same time questions
the significance of hierarchical cultural production in Latin American society,
specifically the construction of sexual identity in literary texts produced by
and for consumers of the capitalist society that is predominantly
heterosexual.
Zapata centralizes the discourse of homosexuality by combining gay
prostitution and vampirism as a way to comment on as well as criticize the
strictly demarcated boundaries of sexuality as it is expressed in Mexican (and
ultimately Latin American) literary production. Similar to Foucault, sexuality
for Zapata incorporates activity and passivity as the prinicpal paradigms
within the framework of power relations with which to provide a discourse of
homosexual relations. On the seven tapes of his monologue/confession (this
231

232
last term is from Foucault),1 Adonis Garcia, the title character of Zapata's
novel, presents his sexual exploits as instances of penetration, a useful
metaphor for the overall discourse of (homo) sexuality into Mexican and Latin
American literary studies.
Throughout most of his monologue, Adonis describes his sexual
activities with words whose meaning suggests actions of the vampire. For
example, Adonis frequently uses the verb "picar" as the way to characterize
his sexual adventures with other men. Among its many translations into
English provided in Cassell's Spanish-English. English/Spanish Dictionary,
"picar" means "to prick, pierce, puncture ... to sting, [and] to bite" (469),
actions that suggest the insertion of the vampire's fangs into skin as well as
the penis into the vagina or, in this case, the anus.
In the introduction to her book Vamps and Tramps: New Essays
(1994), Camille Paglia connects the vampire and prostitution as equally
powerful and seductive forces existent only at night: "The prostitute [and
the] seductress . . . wield . . . ancient vampiric power over men" (ix) during
hours that have been silenced. For Paglia, the prostitute is a cunning figure
whose nocturnal voice/existence is a result of societal repression demanding
its silence. Zapata's title character is capable of a presence through the
crafty and clever use of language that allows him to evade restrictions: "The
Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality: An Introduction, vol. 1. Trans. Robert Hurley
(New York: Vintage Books, 1990). Regarding the use of the confession as a discursive
mode about sexuality, see Part Three, "Scientia Sexualis," pp. 53-73.

233
most successful prostitutes in history have been invisible. That invisibility
was produced by their high intelligence, which gives them the power to
perceive, and move freely but undetected within, the social frame" (Paglia
57, emphasis in original). As a critic of the hierarchical discourses of control
over sexuality, Michel Foucault endeavors to display texts or discourses that
have been repressed or what has been not allowed a voice, such as sexuality
or prostitution; that is, "doing or saying what no one else will say or do"
(Said 676)-as well as in ways of speech that are unconventional. On the
first tape of seven, Adonis introduces the verb "talonear" and its nominal
form, "talón," to refer to walking the streets or literally "hoofing" his way
through the streets as a prostitute instead of directly saying he is a street
walker: "toda mi vida me la he pasado aquí en la ciudad no? en las calles con
mis amigos . . . trabjando a veces taloneando casi siempre ..." (Zapata, Las
aventuras . . . 1 5). Paglia notes that the use of such words referring to the
foot is related to the vampire motif. She traces the derivation of the word
"vampire" or "vamp" from the "sexual seductress . . . from the Serbo-
Croatian vampire legends of the bloody Balkans" (xiii) to a word that refers to
the front part of a boot or shoe, "the instep . . . that is 'in the front,' 'avant'
. . . " (xiii). This latter meaning surfaces in Garcia's monologue throughout
the seven tapes as he walks the streets of the Colonia Roma, seducing other
men.

234
In addition to the novel's expressed vampire theme of penetration,
several elements in Zapata's novel such as point of view, delivery technique,
and organization underscore the important ramifications of examining
previously assumed marginal themes, characters, and styles as a way to re¬
write them into canonical and mainstream literature that does not
acknowledge such tendencies sidelined by dominant literary trends. Simply
put, the presence of the disruptive figure of Adonis Garcia as a male
homosexual prostitute in Zapata's novel destabilizes the assumption in the
mainstream literary hierarchy of Mexico as well as Latin America that
prostitution exists as a viable means of existence within narrative fiction.2
Unlike the self-acclaiming voice of Adonis Garcia in Zapata's novel, previous
Latin American writers had explored the world of prostitution as a hindrance
to the full development of the prostitute as an individual rather than a step in
a more positive direction. For example, in Santa (1903) as well in his other
works, Federico Gamboa demonstrates "erotic subject matter, but typically
the eroticism . . . blights the characters' lives" (Lindstrom 38) instead of
highlighting them in a reconstructive way. As well, in Nacha Ragules (1917)
by Manuel Gálvez, the story of a prostitute narrated by someone other than
the main character exposes how "The characters' speech does not occupy
much space, nor does it appear to carry much significance" (Lindstrom 43).
2 Chuck Tatum, "Paraliterature," Handbook of Latin American Studies. David William Foster,
ed. (New York: Garland Press, 1992) 717. My words paraphrase Amelia Simpson's quote
about detective fiction on this page of the Handbook.

235
This is not the case in Zapata's novel about erotic subject matter.
Adonis Garcia describes his sexual encounters from the point of view of
penile insertion or penetration. The narrative expression/presence of both an
active and a passive participant within Zapata's novel demonstrates how the
dynamic of homosexual sex involving a vampire figure creates spaces of
resistance within Mexican (and Latin American) reality. For Claudia Schaefer-
Rodriguez, utopian spaces of gay life such as the adventures of Adonis
Garcia in the Colonia Roma within Mexico City question the active and
passive paradigm of Mexican culture. As she explains it, the utopian spaces
"resist the affirmations of dominant ideologies . . . [and] are spaces for the
expression of oppressed desires and the assumption of human potential"
("The Power..." 30). Moreover, the recorded/taped discourse of penetration
in Zapata's novel illustrates how the vampire figure in Latin American
literature undermines cultural assumptions about patterned roles of active
and passive sexuality through textual innovation. Adonis Garcia's recorded
monologue frees homosexual desire from the restraints of proscribed
heterosexuality and activates/removes it from a passive role; as Schaefer-
Rodriguez concurs, Adonis records "experiences [that] . . . appropriate the
oppositional 'culture of the night'-streets, restrooms, Sanborn's, night clubs,
suburban mansions, etc.-as a zone liberated from the ideology of
[heterosexual] dominance and control as experienced during the day" ("The
Power..." 36). David William Foster applies the thesis of Michel Foucault to

236
the utilization of mass media in Zapata's novel as a way to expose
homosexuality. Adonis Garcia's discourse about his sexuality "has tended
not to repress a healthy or natural sexual instinct but to provide that instinct
with a technology that will enable it to be channeled in ways suitable to the
sociopolitical economy of the modern world" (Foster, Cultural Diversity . . .
58). Luis Zapata's novelistic interpretation of Adonis Garcia's voice onto
seven tapes suggests that the access to an alternative voice or identity
(homosexuality) for non-readers becomes more conceivable in the age of
advanced technology "of the modern world" that Foster's comments refer to.
The history of homosexuality in Latin American society points to its
exclusion as an accepted discourse in cultural and in literary discourse, a
primary feature of the novels examined in this dissertation. Sylvia Molloy
singles out a noteworthy feature of early twentieth-century Latin American
narrative that is applicable to contemporary novels that present the issue of
homosexuality. Using what Molloy calls the "doubleness" of some Latin
American modernista literature, writers such as Rubén Darío and José Martí
began to exhibit "on the one hand, [an] attraction for and tolerance of
'natural' sexuality, [and] on the other, [a] rejection of the perverse" (Molloy,
"Too Wilde ..." 193) identity of homosexuality. Without allowing for the
acceptance of what may not perfectly allign with what is "natural," Molloy
stresses that these authors develop center and periphery as pronounced,
separate, and not assimilable entities in Latin American narrative of the early

237
twentieth century, a legacy against which Zapata writes in the late twentieth
century.
There is an accentuated balance in Zapata's novel between the center
and the margins of discourse about homosexuality, a concept that Stoker as
well as other Latin American authors deemphasize by seldom speaking about
the subject yet frequently allowing their actions to be judged from within a
non-inclusionary paradigm of sexuality. As Count Dracula moves through
Stoker's novel, he remains the object of others' descriptions and is seldom
allowed to speak for himself. When Jonathan Harker reaches Castle Dracula
at the beginning of the novel, Dracula speaks in lengthy detail in the first and
third persons about his family's background. Except for scattered
opportunities in the rest of the novel, Dracula's remaining existence and
destruction within the novel depends on others' observations, comments,
and theories.
In Pinzón's 1956 novel El vampiro, the same is true with respect to
Francisco Gáscaro. As his three crimes are discovered, Rodolfo and Evaristo
Nuncira set up a complex medico-legal investigation/system of inquiry that
uncovers Gáscaro's identity as the vampire/killer. The brothers' ponderings
about and involvement in the unmasking of Gáscaro's identity do not allow
him to speak for himself and thus, Gáscaro's discourse/confession about his
sex(uality) remains confined to the words of others. Michel Foucault sees
the discourse of sexuality as a complex system that over time becomes a

238
present voice rather than a hidden one spoken about by others. Pinzón's
novel expresses how sexuality remains embedded within the legal, social,
and medical discourse that, as Foucault explains, brings sexuality into view in
the first place: "one had to speak of it [sexuality] as of a thing to be not
simply condemned or tolerated but managed, inserted into systems of utility,
regulated for the greater good of all . . . " (Foucault, The History . . . 24).
In his 1967 novel Crónicas reales. Manuel Mujica Lainez devotes one
of the twelve chapters of his extensive novel to the story of the vampire
Baron Zappo von Orbs. This story is confined primarily to chapter ten and
does not exist within the rest of the novel. Just as Count Dracula is
explained and developed from the point of view of others, Zappo does not
"speak" for himself in all of chapter ten; instead, the narrator tells the
vampire's story. In fact, when Crónicas reales closes, it is revealed that the
narrator received his information from another source, a fact that further
dislocates the vampire from telling his own story.
Zapata's novel allows the vampire to speak directly about his sexual
experiences without the restrictive ideas, theories, points of view, or
opinions of others who take away his personal identity as an individual and
place his sexuality without the heterosexual standard. Zapata's novel brings
to the foreground the voice of Adonis Garcia's homosexuality, one of the
"peripheral" discourses of sexuality that was actually allowed to pass
through the barriers of restraint-because of all the restrictions upon it in the

239
first place: "it is through the isolation, intensification, and consolidation of
peripheral sexualities that the relations of power to sex and pleasure
branched out and multiplied, measured the body, and penetrated modes of
conduct" (Foucault, The History . . . 48). Zapata's novel combines the
voices of two figures, the vampire and the homosexual, a fusion that Stoker
brings together only indirectly in the form of a critical comment. Zapata,
however, allows these two voices to merge and exist on the written page as
a reflection of life. As indicated in Chapter Three of this dissertation, the
theme of homosexuality in Stoker's novel is implied by the actions of Count
Dracula; he is never identified directly as a homosexual as is Adonis Garcia.
The insistence of the vampire point of view in Zapata's novel parallels the
shift "from lesbians and gay men as persons who are spoken about to
persons who speak for themselves" (Dyer, "Children of the Night ..." 65).
Other Latin American novels demonstrate what Molloy identifies as a
double standard about the expression of sexuality. Unspoken homosexual
vampirism is developed in Manuel Bedoya's 1939 novel as the tyrant
Bebevidas drinks the blood of young boys but never has sex with them in the
novel. Likewise, the homoerotic vampiristic crimes of Francisco Gáscaro
(mentioned above) may imply his homosexual orientation but do not label him
as a gay male given the fact that he is married and has three children. In
Rafael Maluenda's 1958 novel Vampiro de trapo, the conflictive relationship
between the vampire/doll Polidoro and the ventriloquist Máximo Luján is

240
centered around a woman, Carmen Barton, yet the man and his (male) doll
struggle with each other over the passive or active role toward Carmen.
Additionally, Zappo's vampire legacy in Mujica Lainez's Crónicas reales
(1967) suggests violent homoerotic sexuality (his distant ancestor Benno von
Orbs zu Orbs was a sadistic pedophile) but he falls in love with the actress
Violet Daisy and swoons after her while trying to avoid the sexual advances
of the scriptwriter Miss Godiva Brandy. In the novels examined thus far in
this dissertation, homosexuality is indirect while Zapata's novel develops an
outwardly gay vampire who speaks as himself.
Zapata's novel addresses concerns of content as well as form, a
feature found in Stoker's as well as other novels discussed in this
dissertation. Stoker's novel is the combined result of a massive collection of
private diary and journal entries, newspaper articles, ship's logs, phonograph
recordings, and asylum reports that were used in the many efforts to find
and destroy Count Dracula. These documents do not allow the point of view
of the vampire to surface; the novel is the voices of the vampire Count
Dracula's victims, those from within the confines of a measured and
scientific method that struggles to define the appearance of the vampire
Count Dracula. Referring to the phonograph device that helps record all that
they experience with Dracula, Mina Harker explains to Dr. Seward that such
technology is their only way to piece together their understanding of the
vampire: "in the struggle which we have before us to rid the earth of this

241
terrible monster we must have all the knowledge and all the help which we
can get" (Stoker 229). In El vampiro (1956), Pinzón draws the reader into
the series of three brutal murders by a vampire-like killer through the
newspaper clippings that tell the story not from the point of view of the
vampire but from the newspaper reporter who filed the stories, supposedly
the author himself. Manuel Mujica Lainez utilizes a similar technique in
Crónicas reales (1967): all twelve chapters about the history of the von Orbs
family, including the story of the vampire Zappo von Orbs, are revealed by an
anonymous narrator whose information comes from a different source, Dr.
Dimitri Feodorovitch Maveroff.
Zapata's novel presents the story of the vampire from one point of
view: his own. Adonis Garcia speaks on the tapes directly in the format of
an unconventional conversation, thus giving himself narrative/conversational
space, a privilege that Count Dracula does not possess. Zapata's message in
his novel is as provocative as its form: the novel does not use punctuation
marks and there is no capitalization, a feature that allows all words and
expressions to have equal value yet stand apart from structured narrative
forms with capital letters, punctuation, and text set off by paragraphs, for
example. The novel presents Adonis Garcia's monologue as it appears on
the seven tapes: words set off only by pauses and spoken by one person,
Adonis Garcia. (Future citations in this chapter from Zapata's novel have

242
three spaces instead of one between the words, an technique that reflects
Zapata's novel.)
The unique compositional attributes of Zapata's novel attract the
reader and centralize a speaking voice that maintains control throughout the
entire narration; each of the seven chapters of the novel starts with the first-
person pronoun "yo" (I). At no point does the unidentified person behind the
tape recorder ask Adonis Garcia questions or give opinions; only the vampire-
speaker has the ability to change the course of the conversation. In this
fashion, Zapata alludes to the power of the vampire as a commanding and
powerful figure in popular culture, not only as subject of books, films, and
plays, but also as a character/subject capable of determining and maintaining
the direction of events.
The inward reflexiveness of Adonis Garcia allows entry into his
personality in a way that Stoker does not achieve with Count Dracula, a
vampire who is defined by others and not by himself. Adonis Garcia
frequently ponders his existence and questions his moves if for no other
reason than to better understand his place in the world; the non-customarily
large spaces between the words create verbal as well as textual pauses that
reflect his time for thinking. For example, at the beginning of the novel,
when he and a friend return to Mexico City from León and realize that they
have no money, Adonis wonders what step is next: "nos dimos cuenta de
que sin dinero no podíamos hacer nada ¿ves? aunque no teníamos pensado

243
hacer nada habíamos salido de león sin ningún plan no sé deveras qué
era lo que pensábamos hacer ..." (Zapata, Las aventuras . . . 45).3
Likewise, toward the end of the novel when Adonis realizes that drugs and
alcohol have seriously affected him, he seeks psychiatric help, changes his
eating habits, and admits himself to a rehabilitation clinic to lessen his
addicition: "empecé a alimentarme muy bien ... a cuidar mi
alimentación a hacer ejercicio a ir al gimnasio en fin a aliviarme por
mis propios medios ..." (Zapata, Las aventuras . . . 200). In both
instances, the spaces between the words are utilized by Zapata to allow time
for the reader to experience the pauses in Adonis's thoughts as he narrates
them onto the tape. Almost never is Dracula allowed to wonder about his
outcome: he is a supernaturally powerful vampire who does not need to think
to survive; his endurance is sustained only by the instinct to kill and consume
blood. While Dracula is being pursued by those who want him dead, Adonis
is a human vampire who lives off others' sexuality yet still thinks about his
next move without the threat of death.
Homosexuality and vampirism have been explored in detail by several
critics. Christopher Craft devotes considerable attention to vampirism and
homosexuality in Bram Stoker's novel Dracula which implies vampirism as
As mentioned above in the text of this chapter, the narrative reproduction of each of the
tapes uses spaces between words to represent pauses by Adonis, and their use here
demonstrates as closely as possible this technique in Zapata's novel, a feature that is
successfully transmitted in the English translation as well.

244
homosexuality but never reaches the point of homosexual penetration.
Richard Dyer, whose study also does not focus on Latin American literature,
suggests the possibility that vampirism combined with homosexuality
provides a potent combination of forbidden discourses. Ellis Hanson relates
the life-in-death idea of the vampire to homosexuals afflicted with HIV or
dying from AIDS-related symptoms. David William Foster examines
vampirism and homosexuality in his book Gay and Lesbian Themes in Latin
American Literature, which includes an entire chapter about the two topics
as they pertain to Latin American fiction. In addition, Foster has reviewed
Zapata's novel, and his most recent contribution to the question of
homosexuality in Latin American literature is a chapter that appears in his
1994 book, Cultural Diversity in Latin American Narrative: his comments
appear later in this chapter. Most recent are the specific observations by
Tanya Krzywinska about lesbian vampire figure in film.
Craft points to unfulfilled male penetration in Stoker's novel that
Zapata's novel displays. After he first arrives at Castle Dracula, Jonathan
Harker is nearly seduced by three vampire women. But he is merely
approached with penetration, just "short of the transgression which would
unsex Harker and toward which this text [Stoker's novel] constantly aspires
and then retreats: the actual penetration of the male" (Craft 110). Dyer
maintains that homosexuality and vampirism operate on similar foundations.
The homosexual expresses a forbidden sexuality that remains within the

245
confines of nighttime and operates without restraint. Likewise, the pale
vampire figure is known for its unimpeded nocturnal activity that remains
hidden and unaccepted as a true identity or "out" in the world: "This imagery
derives in part from the idea of decadence, people who do not go out into
public life, whose complexions are not weathered, who are always indoors or
in the shade" (Dyer, "Children of the Night ..." 60).
As Hanson explores the connection between same-sex desire and
death, he argues for the presence of an "abject" or contemptible voice of the
vampire figure/gay person. Although he places less emphasis on literature
than on cultural ideas about homosexuality, Hanson states that
homosexuality and vampirism mix together to create an image of gay
individuals that implies dying: "notions of death have been at the heart of
nearly every historical construction of same-sex desire" (Hanson 324).
Countering what Mario Praz had stated in The Romantic Agony that the
female vampire "is only seen as a narrative device by which the vampire
hunter and the prospective husband can overcome the 'excesses' of an
'unnatural' sexuality that threaten the stability of the patriarchal system"
(Krzywinska 101), Krzywinska activates the female vampire as a figure/place
of signification of same-sex desire among women. As a combined sexual
force in literature, film, and culture, then, homosexuality and vampirism
together suggest a potentially explosive and threatening union that infiltrates
the comfortable (and accepted) paradigm of peaceful and controlled sexuality

246
because the two have similar foundations: "The play of gender role, sexual
position, active/passive is part of the structure of vampirism and lesbian/gay
sexuality alike ..." (Dyer, "Children of the Night ..." 64). Likewise,
vampirism allows the visualization of what has been neglected, the
recognition of "that abjected space that gay men [and lesbians] are obliged to
inhabit; that space unspeakable or unnameable ... a 'dark continent' [that]
men [and women] dare not penetrate; that gap bridged over or sutured
together, where men [and women] cease to play dead and yet cease to
accept the normative sexual role" (Hanson 325) imposed upon them by
heterosexual society.
Zapata's novel provides a critical alternative to literature about
homosexual vampires. Adonis Garcia is far removed from the blood¬
searching and demonic figure of Count Dracula who mysteriously prowls the
nightscape in search of victims. The power of Zapata's narrative lies
precisely in the figure of Adonis as a speaking subject rather than an
objectified subject: he is a homosexual prostitute who "vampirizes" men and
then proceeds to talk about sex, unashamed of his activity as a gay
individual and fully aware of what he is doing. Not only does homosexuality
express a reversal of traditional values concerning sexuality in Hispanic
culture, it suggests "the need to liberate the individual from repression in
order ... to reach out to others ... as part of a wider movement of sexual
liberation" (Shaw, "Notes on the Presentation ..." 249).

247
The implementation of oppressive restrictions, laws, limits, and silence
has been used to devoice the homosexual and not permit the complete
integration of gay individuals into heterosexual society. As one observer
sees it, currently within the United States the previously private and hidden
lifestyles of homosexuals are outwardly appearing more and more as part of
or penetrating into the public/heterosexual sphere: the homosexual
community is "A group long dismissed as deviant or perverted or simply
beneath mention [that] has been able to claim a sizable space in national
[American] life, to the joy of its members and the continuing consternation of
many fellow citizens" (Henry 1).
The delight of the gay community meshes with the harsh disapproval
by non-gay (-affirming) persons to produce struggle of the homosexual
community, a point that the sociologist Stuart Hall makes about deviant
groups and their opposition who together, in a power struggle, generate a
clash that actually produces a discourse of deviance that counters the
"acceptable" voice. The quote about North American homosexuality above
indicates the increasingly more tolerant attitude towards homosexuals in
North American society, but it should not be overlooked, however, that
severely violent homophobic reaction against lesbian and gay individuals
exists within the Hispanic world as much as it does in the North
American/United States arena. For example, the recent political violence in
Chiapas, Mexico, has had serious consequences for the gay community

248
there; during the fighting "at least 11 gay men were killed in the locality of
Tuxtla Gutiérrez, state of Chiapas" for no other reason than having a
homosexual orientation: "the victims belonged to a marginalized and, on the
whole, economically deprived sector of Mexican society, a sector which has
for many years suffered harassment and abuses" (United States 1).
Hall indicates that identities such as homosexuality deviate or become
"marginalized" and therefore become problematic issues in need of
suppression and control when they cannot be assimilated into the paradigm
of defined acceptability. Homosexuality is a good example of the actions to
which Hall refers, "those in which the available public meanings and
definitions fail to account for, and cannot easily be extended to cover, new
developments" (Hall 71} such as same-sex relationships that are currently
occuring more and more within the confines of "public meanings and
definitions." Foucault makes this same assertion with regard to the
development of general sexuality as a guarded, observed, and controlled
activity/discourse during the nineteenth century: "in sexuality, as in penality,
a moral discourse is consolidated and displaced by practices and modes of
thought that construct norms and impose them as respectable, natural or
normal" (During 169).
From the publication of the first gay narrative in Latin America in 1 964
(Manuel Barbachano Ponce's El diario de José Toledo) (Foster, Gay and
Lesbian
50), writers from Latin American countries are slow to develop

249
an outspoken homosexual literary tradition and establish themselves within
the confines of literary studies. Outside of Brazil, the continual questioning
of the norms dictated by heterosexuality produces few homosexual
narratives in Latin America immediately after Ponce's novel. One observer of
homosexuality in Mexican literature notes that "la creación estética individual
está sujeta bajo condiciones de presión social," (Schneider 83) reiterating
what both Hall and Foucault discuss above relating to deviant and non¬
deviant behaviors that deal with each other in an antagonistic but
discursively productive way. The affirmative homosexuality in Zapata's
novel appears through the exposition of actions and behaviors unaccepted
and unaccetable by heterosexual standards yet the expression of the
prostitution by and of Adonis Garcia is a series of good as well as bad events
that "exemplifies a form of countercultural writing in Latin America that
makes use of what is considered outrageous or scandalous in order to
provide a refracted image of the alienation of a hypocritical social value
system" (Foster, Review of . . . 91).
The expression of homosexuality from within a non-gay hierarchy
occurs best in a form of communication that has access to the privileges of
power yet is still capable of reaching those who do not belong to the
dominant power structure. Mass media is the example Hall indicates since
"they [the mass media] have an integrative, clarifying, and legitimating power
to shape and define political reality, especially in those situations which are

250
unfamiliar, problematic, or threatening: where no 'traditional wisdom,' no
firm networks of personal influence, no cohesive culture, no precedents for
relevant action or response, and no first-hand way of testing or validating the
propositions are at our disposal ..." (Hall 72-73) precisely because these
propositions come from within the controlling power structure. Hall suggests
that media forms such as television, films, detective fiction, plays or songs
within narrative fiction do provide commentary; another critic notes the same
about "Latin American novelists [who] during the past twenty years have
drawn increasingly on paraliterature and other forms of popular culture to
create works that, if nothing else, are more accessible to a wider reading
public ..." (Tatum 721) who are normally exluded from media forms that
cater only to the dominant frame of mind. Zapata's delivery technique, a
tape-recorded interview, uses popular media to chronicle the events such as
those created by Elena Poniatowska and Gustavo Sainz, mentioned below.
A recent history of twentieth-century Mexican literature exemplifies
how the production of narrative in Mexico from the Mexican Revolution to
the present stays predominantly within the bounds of novelistic as well as
heterosexual discourse and with few stellar exceptions does not opt for other
means of expression. Lanin Gyurko's essay on twentieth century Mexican
narrative sets out to "treat the theme of la mexicanidad. the quest for and
the articulation of the components of the Mexican national identity" (Gyurko,
"Twentieth Century ..." 243, emphasis in original) through four axes of

251
signification: the Mexican Revolution and its aftereffects, the October 2,
1968 massacre at La plaza de las tres culturas (Tlaltelolco), and
contemporary problems; he cursorily treats homosexuality as a theme of
contemporary concern. In his extensively thorough article, Gyurko points to
Elena Poniatowska's La noche de Tlaltelolco (1968) and Gustavo Sainz's
novel Gazapo (1965) as examples of contemporary documentary accounts of
Mexican existence that do not follow a "traditional" narrative structure;
through the collection and display of photographs from the shooting as well
as newspaper articles and witness testimonies, Poniatowska's novel recalls
the horror of the students massacred in 1968 as well as that of the
survivors. Sainz (who, like Luis Zapata, is considered to be a member of "La
onda" [The Wave] group of Mexican writers) "affirms the liberty of the
author to create his own universe with its own laws and its own idiom"
(Gyurko, "Twentieth Century ..." 288) through the use of a tape recorder
to narrate the novel. Gyurko, however, does not mention the Mexican writer
Luis Zapata who writes about "Mexicanness" as well in a work that explores
the homosexual identity of a young Mexican man through the same device
used in Sainz's novel, the tape recorder.
The absence of Zapata's novel in Gyurko's overview contradicts his
own assertion on two separate accounts of the significance of innovative
narrative techniques within contemporary Mexico that Zapata successfully
utilizes in his "struggle to maintain and assert an autonomous identity in the

252
face of foreign powers from without [Mexico] and malinchistas. or betraying
forces, from within [the country] ..." (Gyurko, "Twentieth Century . . . "
245). As Adonis García (the title of the English translation of Zapata's
novel)4 shows, Stuart Hall's affirmation that popular media forms contribute
to the voicing of marginalized or what are considered "deviant" voices
coincides with Tatum's argument that these forms within Latin American
literature are capable of reaching larger audiences with messages that are
more easily available than through traditional media such as television.
Gyurko stresses how "the power of the novel as a force for creative,
psychological, and social freedom" (Gyurko, "Twentieth-Century Fiction"
245) is obvious in Sainz's narrative but not in Zapata's.
Zapata's novel develops homosexuality and vampirism as acts of a
penetration into/within the Mexican literary tradition. Stuart Hall argues that
the conflict between deviant and non-deviant elements (in the case of
Zapata's novel, between homosexual and heterosexual systems) produces a
potentially powerful and important ideological discourse that springs precisely
from the point of antagonism between the two systems: "though ideologies
may remain, at one level, stable and persistent over time, in terms of the
class interests they represent and the constituent elements legitimate within
them, at another level they require to be continually reproduced, amplified,
4 Luis Zapata, Adonis Garcia: A Picaresque Novel, tr. E. A. Lacey (San Francisco: Gay
Sunshine Press, 1981).

253
and elaborated so as to 'cover' the unexplained" (Hall 81) or as Foucault
indicates, provide a discourse about sex instead of remain silent about it.
Instead of being silenced by the medical and legal discourse that attempts to
control sexuality, the "quiet" dialogue of sex is precisely what holds
importance: what "one declines to say, or is forbidden to name ... is an
element that functions alongside the thing said, with them and in relation to
them within over-all strategies" (Foucault, The History . . . 27). Sexuality is
"a fundamental experience" (Foucault, "The Subject ..." 779) that opens
up a relationship of power when placed together with resistant definitions.
Foucault argues favorably to place forms of resistance against those of
control in order to measure their relationship with each other: "using this
resistance as a chemical catalyst so as to bring to light power relations, [it is
possible to] locate their positions, and find out their point of application . . . "
(Foucault, "The Subject ..." 780) with each other.
Hall above uses the British and Irish political conflict for his model, but
Zapata's novel utilizes the gay vampire figure as a way to counter the
traditional Mexican literary and cultural system. Not only is his novel similar
in structural format to Bram Stoker's novel Dracula which uses para- or
extraliterary devices such as newspaper articles, diary entries, and recording
devices to fuel the narration, it also deals with the important issue of cultural
change, specifically the emerging acceptance (or not) of non-traditional
groups of individuals. For Stoker, the vampire Count Dracula is a powerful,

254
foreign aristocrat from outside England whose destruction can only help the
continuation and preservation of the human race as Victorian Britain declines
in world power. Zapata's novel fuses the homosexual and the vampire to
create not a blood-hungry creature of darkness like Count Dracula but a
human who experiences the joys and pains of existence, an important
message about the identity of homosexuals within the Mexican societal
structure that draws definitive lines between heterosexuals as well as
between heterosexuals and homosexuals. Tomás Almaguer provides insight
into the distinctions of (homo) sexuality in Hispanic society; his comments
help to understand Adonis' subversion of "traditional" roles as an active (not
passive) homosexual prostitute. The chapter also looks at how Adonis
Garcia is similar to and different from the novel Interview with the Vampire
(1976) by Anne Rice as well as other vampires examined in this dissertation.
The chapter also utilizes two theories of vampirism-as-homosexuality /
homosexuality-as-vampirism and their relation to Zapata's 1979 novel:
Richard Dyer's comments on the same without the context of Latin American
literature and David William Foster's important contributions to
homosexuality in Latin American literature.
In classical mythology, the fatal story of Adonis has important parallels
with vampirism that Zapata develops in his version of the Adonis myth. The
pomegranate, which sprang from the blood of Dionysus, "symbolizes death
and the promise of resurrection when held in the hand of the goddess Hera

255
or Persephone" (Graves 1:110), the goddess of death who fought over
Adonis with Aphrodite, the goddess of love. During their quarrel over the
young man, Persephone's jealousy over Aphrodite's affectations toward
Adonis provoke her to exclaim in a possibly homophobic way that Adonis is
'"A mere mortal . . . and effeminate at that!"' (Graves 1:70). Ares,
disguised as a boar, kills him with one of his tusks. As he is dying,
Aphrodite asks Adonis to kiss her so that she may withdraw his soul: "Kiss
me yet once again, the last, long kiss, / Until I draw your soul within my lips
/ And drink down all your love" (Hamilton 91). Adonis therefore dies as a
passive receiver of Aphrodite's life-withdrawing kisses.
The mythological Adonis passively succumbs to death but the
contemporary Adonis in Zapata's novel revels in life, a distinction that
reinterpretations of myth allow. The words in the title of Zapata's novel
support and at the same time reject literal meaning in a similar fashion.
Adonis Garcia records for his psychiatrist his adventures and misfortunes
onto seven audio tapes that correspond to the seven divisions of the novel;
in parentheses before each chapter are Adonis's dreams on different subject
matters.5 However important it is in the title of Zapata's novel, the word
"vampiro" is misleading since the protagonist is not a brutal vampire like
Count Dracula or a passive victim of love but an active gay male prostitute.
5 See Alicia Covarrubias, "El vampiro de la Colonia Roma, de Luis Zapata: la nueva
picaresca y el reportaje ficticio," Revista de crítica literaria latinoamericana 20.39 (1994):
190ff. for an analysis of Adonis Garcia’s textually parenthetical dreams.

256
Thus, starting with the title of his novel Zapata identifies vampirism with
homosexual prostitution, a point that David William Foster notes as a unique
feature of this openly homosexual Latin American novel (see below). The
mention of the Colonia Roma in the title indicates a sense of place within the
novel and allows a personal space for Adonis Garcia to exist within the
massive and impersonal Mexico City. The juxtaposition of the modern tape
recorder as narrative device and the centuries-old tradition of the wandering
picaro in Hispanic literature allows a fusion of popular literary forms, a trend
assisted by Mexico City itself, a center of cultural activity: "Almost all
cultures in Latin America are now mediated to some extent by the city, both
in the sense of its massification of social phenomema and of the
communication technologies which it makes available" (Rowe and Schelling
97). As Adonis discloses on the tapes, the gay community forms support
and stability for a group faced with potentially dangerous reaction from
within the otherwise heterosexual city: "In the city, it is the pedapo. the
barrio, the sector [and the colonial which provide a relatively stable space,
created by a network of relationships of neighbourhood [sic], extended family
and rural origin" (Rowe and Schelling 103).
Beyond the title, however, the word "vampiro" appears in the novel
only five times. Each mention of the word creates a certain association with
the vampire figure Count Dracula that suggests elements from the vampire
myth, but Zapata incorporates day-to-day realities from Adonis Garcia's daily

257
life rather than fantasy elements, specifically sexual realities. The word
"vampiro" first occurs in the novel when Adonis explains to his psychiatrist
how he was making a living: "pus [sic] ni modo de decirle que andaba de
vampiro ¿no?" (Zapata, Las aventuras . . . 64), making the money as a
male prostitute. Part of Garcia's monologue in this novel is an explanation of
gay Mexico City; he tells the listener where homosexuals hustle. One of his
favorite spots is the corner of Insurgentes Street and Baja California, and
someone tells him that there will one day be a statue raised in his honor
because of his continual presence there. The plate of the statue will
remember his status in Mexico City: "abajo mi nombre en una plaquita
adonis garcía vampiro de la colonia roma cobra tanto y en tal teléfono .
. . " (Zapata, Las aventuras . . . 11 2). After he meets Zabaleta, the two go
to many parties and Adonis receives new clothes and shoes from Zabaleta.
However, dressing up in fancy clothes does not appeal to Adonis; "en serio
era otro el vampiro de la colonia roma había muerto por un día había
dejado colgada mi chamarra y mis jeans y mis pantalones superentalladísimos
y me había convertido en todo un señor ..." (Zapata, Las aventuras . . .
119). The last mention in the novel of the word "vampiro" occurs when
Adonis describes his desire to get out of a situation in which he is
uncomfortable, a party to which Zabaleta had taken him where he sees an
unpleasant former acquaintance: "ese mismo mono apareció por la fiesta

258
allí sí fue cuando yo desié [sic] ser un vampiro de a deveras y escaparme
volando por la ventana pero no " (Zapata, Las aventuras . . . 120).
The novel uses the word "vampiro" allegorically in correlation with
aspects of Adonis's existence that are common, everyday concerns and not
supernatural events that are associated with Count Dracula. The first
mention demonstrates Adonis's ability to work toward attainment of a
desired goal within a capitalist-oriented society: to make money. Adonis
expresses the desire to be famously remembered as the crowning vampire
figure on a statue, a physical reminder of the immortalization of the vampire
figure in contemporary society. Adonis depicts the comfort of consistency
with clothes that identify him as the vampire of the Colonia Roma, a similar
marking that Count Dracula acquired with the black cape in cinematic
versions of Stoker's story. These examples show how Zapata places
meaning into the word "vampiro" as a signification of the normal existence
of Adonis Garcia as well as of sexual nature of his day-to-day life.
In order to demonstrate another meaning of the word vampire in this
novel, a useful point of departure is David William Foster's definition of
homosexual vampires/vampirism that he applies to certain texts of Latin
American literature: "Individuals cursed with the love of other men [who]
come out at night to lure unsuspecting victims to their gaudy lairs, where
their [(other mens')] ravishment initiates them into their perverse form of
sexuality . . . .These vampires are the result of a combination of poor genetic

259
stock, an improper moral formation, and a chosen way of life that presents
them with the opportunities for corruption and perversion."6 Foster applies
his "vampire theory of homosexuality" to three Latin American texts: Loa
invertidos (1914), a play by the Argentinian José González Castillo, La pasión
y muerte del cura Deusto (1924), by Augusto D'Halmar (Chile), and Luis
Zapata's 1985 novel En jirones. Faithful to Foster's definition, the three
works center around the intent (subconscious or not) to hide or conceal
homosexuality, "the corruption of a natural condition of sexual health"
(Foster, Gay and Lesbian . . . 24), as an act that is clandestine. Instead of
providing praise for homosexuality as a personal identity, however, Foster
notes how gayness in these works exists as a deviant offshoot of
heterosexuality and not an autonomous existence. For example, the
homosexuality of Iñigo Deusto ends tragically as he "commits suicide rather
than assume his homosexual desire" (Foster, Gay and Lesbian . . . 35)
because he "is never really able to cope with his feelings for the boy . . . "
(Foster, Gay and Lesbian . . . 33). Fosters also notes how Zapata's novel
En jirones explores the hazardous man-to-man relationship between
Sebastian and A. firmly but precariously rooted within a heterosexual
paradigm. Unlike Stuart Hall's idea of an ideological confrontation that
David William Foster, Gav and Lesbian Themes in Latin American Writing (Austin:
University of Texas Press, 1991) 26. The chapter of Foster's book out of which this
definition comes is appropriately called "Vampire Versions of Homosexuality: Seduction and
Ruin."

260
produces valid discourse(s), Foster's definition of homosexuality emphasizes
the negativity and "dead[-]end" (Foster, Gay and Lesbian . . . 42) nature of
gay relationships through characters whose abilities to integrate gayness into
their lives are expressed by difficult and "destructive consequences" (Foster,
Gay and Lashian . . . 41) that ultimately question and silence homosexuality
instead of vocalize it.
Foster's definition reiterates the critical belief that vampirism is a
destructive and negative life-consuming force continually in conflict with
"accepted" discourse but never allowed a self-confirming voice of its own as
Hall proposes. Foster does not apply his theory to Zapata's earlier novel, Las
aventuras, desventuras y sueños de Adonis García, el vampiro de la Colonia
Roma (1979), a work like the other novels examined in this dissertation that
includes the word "vampire" in the title, an authorial mechanism that allows
the vampire an immediate place of importance in a narrative fiction that
"openly assumes his [Adonis Garcia's] sexual identity ..." (Foster, Gay and
Lesbian . . . 37) as a homosexual male.
Foucault points to an historical process by which sexuality came into
being as an active discourse of truth, similar to the individual confessions
that Adonis Garcia makes in Zapata's novel. Foucault notes that with the
confessions of sex "we have passed from a pleasure to be recounted and
heard ... to a literature ordered according to the infinite task of extracting
from the depths of oneself, in between the words, a truth which the very

261
form of the confession holds out like a shimmering mirage" (Foucault, The
Histnrv . . . 59). Foucault alludes to the movement from a passive position
("recounted and heard" by others) to an active one ("task of extracting" or
pulling out) in the process of the admission about sexuality, the major
strength of Zapata's 1979 novel.
Along with the confession, Foucault makes an important observation
that is applicable to the autobiography of Adonis Garcia. In the process of
telling about his sexuality, the receiver of Garcia's message is not only the
tape recorder but the person behind the machine and thus, a two-way,
human relationship is established, setting up the axis of active and passive
that Almaguer refers to. However, the confessor and the listener create a
decisively mutual relationship with each other, for the confessed message is
"incapable of coming to light except gradually and through the labor of a
confession in which the questioner and the questioned each had [sic] a part
to play" (Foucault, The History . . . 66) in the process. Ultimately, the
message is incomplete until the receiver takes in the message, processes it,
and records it from the confessor who provides or gives the message, the
act of receiving and penetrating, respectively.
Zapata's novel and Anne Rice's novel Interview with the Vampire
(1976) explore vampirism within the overall system of human sexuality,
male-to-female or male-to-male, as an act of (verbal) penetration and
reception of discourse. Before the vampire Lestat narrates his life story in

262
Interview.... the first words he utters to the journalist are "I see ..." (Rice
2). Each of the four parts of the novel begins in the first person as well: part
two starts with "All night long I stood on the deck of the French ship
Mariana ..." (Rice 163), part three commences with "I think the very name
of Paris brought a rush of pleasure to me that was extraordinary ..." (Rice
204), and part four is similar, with "And that is the end of the story, really.
Of course, I know you wonder what happened to us afterwards" (Rice 324).
As the novel closes, Lestat sinks his fangs into the neck of the young
journalist in order to prove that he is a vampire and that his story is real.
Terrorized by this, the journalist asks Lestat if he will die as a result of the
bite. The last spoken words in the novel is the vampire Lestat's response to
the question: "I don't know" (Rice 345).
Rice's 1976 novel expresses the point of view of the vampire Lestat
as an individual; one critic notes how "the change from narrative modes of
alterity to modes of identification" (Johnson 78) in the narrative increases
and develops a recognition of the vampire Lestat as a central character with
a voice of his own. As another critic puts it, "We see him struggle to avoid
the basic impulses of vampiric nature, the characteristic detachment and the
paracitical killing instinct, in order to have a human life" (Frey Waxman 89)
with a voice.
Zapata and Rice use similar techniques: their novels begin and end
with the vampire's voice being recorded onto cassette tapes. In Zapata's

263
novel, each of the seven tapes begins with the first person: tape one starts
the novel in the first person plural: "llegábamos a una fiesta un cuate y yo"
(Zapata, Las aventuras . . . 13). Tapes two through six open with "estaba
yo" (Zapata, Las aventuras . . . 41,77,105,131,163). The last tape
commences with "todavía tenía yo mi moto ..." (Zapata, Las aventuras . . .
195). Except for the unspoken (passive) presence of the tape
recorder/interviewer, each division within the two novels allows the
protagonist's immediate (active) self-expression without the intermediating
discourse of others. Except for occasional comments or interjections of the
journalist in Rice's novel and for Adonis Garcia's frequent references to his
psychiatrist, both novels grant vocal authority to the vampire within a wider
context of skepticism about the existence of such creatures. Like other
women writers of vampire tales, Anne Rice develops Lestat as the central
character with an identity that is worthy of narrative attention. Because of
their complexity, Lestat and Adonis Garcia share the trials and tribulations of
human existence. In short, "The vampires in these narratives are not
narrative Others but narrative selves, role models" (Johnson 79).
Rice's story about Lestat spans a total of four novels called the
Vampire Chronicles,7 and the first novel not only depicts Lestat's searches
for human blood; "incest and homoeroticism are prominent in the book" (Frey
The second novel in the series is The Vampire Lestat (1985), the third is Queen of the
Damned (1988), and the last is The Tale of the Body Thief (1992).

264
Waxman 83) as well. A different critic, however, notes that "Pedophilia,
Sadomasochism, [and] homosexuality are all touched on as [only] uan oí the
vampire milieu which she [Rice] constructs" (Silver and Ursini 205, my
emphasis) in Interview with the Vampire. Rice hints at homoeroticism; the
moment when Lestat bites the journalist attests to this: "... when the
vampire [Lestat] had him pressed to his chest, the boy's neck bent beneath
his lips. 'Do you see?' whispered the vampire, and the long, silky lips drew
up over his teeth and two long fangs came down into the boy's flesh" (Rice
344), penetrating his neck. Lestat is bisexual, preferring men and women as
his victims. Whereas Rice's Vampire Chronicles express "homoerotic
fantasies of sexual and artificial paradises ..." (Johnson 73, my emphasis)
and only partially delve into homosexual vampirism, the adventures of Adonis
Garcia centralize the rigors of homosexuality as "far-ranging challenges to the
hegemony of monogamous, anerotic, and heterosexist patriarchy . . . "
(Foster, Cultural Diversity . . . 51) that Rice's vampire stories display but do
not challenge.
As a vampire, Adonis Garcia shares a limited number of qualities with
Count Dracula, Bram Stoker's protagonist. Garcia does not rely on blood for
survival, he does not kill his victims, and he does not have physical attributes
that parallel those of Count Dracula. In contrast with Stoker's count, Adonis
Garcia is completely human, a feature of other vampires examined in earlier
chapter of this disseration. In fact, his human sexuality comes closest to

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that of Francisco Gáscaro in José Pinzón's El vampiro (1956) who has sex
with boys and then kills them. Adonis, however, does not treat his
"conquests" violently and murder them like Gáscaro; there is no mention of
savage or murderous sexuality in the novel. Instead of the removal of blood
from his "victims" for survival, Adonis Garcia's vampirism has more to do
with conquering as a sexual act, a feature that Stoker develops as the
principal feature of the vampire Dracula in his 1897 novel and that the
authors in this study also develop in their novels. Specifically, Adonis
Garcia's sexual act is one of penetration.
Adonis Garcia reflects how in Hispanic culture the act of penetration
as a sex act carries with it not only personal pleasure but deep cultural
significance as well. The examples of penetration in the novel indicate what
Tomás Almaguer points out about homosexuality in Mexican (and Latin
American) cultures: "there is no cultural equivalent to the modern 'gay man'
in the Mexican/Latin-American sexual system" (Almaguer 255) as exists in
the Anglo-American societies. Almaguer points out that in same-sex
relationships between Hispanic men an arrangement of active and passive
partners controls the connection between the two and to admit to being a
pasivo is degrading since this associates him with the (passive) female in
Hispanic culture. Almaguer points out that this sexual system cannot be
classified using terms and definitions pertaining to the Anglo-American
paradigm of sexual behavior that focuses on the sexual object and not the

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act of sex itself. Sexuality in the Hispanic culture presents "a configuration
of gender/sex/power that is articulated along the active/passive axis and
organized through the scripted role one plays" (Almaguer 257) instead of the
person with whom the sex act occurs.
The binary combination/opposition of activo and pasivo in a sexual
relationship carries over into societal roles as well. Because of the strong
family structure in Hispanic culture, homosexuality in Mexico is suppressed
because "the family remains a crucial institution that defines both gender and
social relations between men and women" (Almaguer 260). Rather than
describe himself as a pasivo. Adonis Garcia proudly discusses on the tapes
his role as the penetrator and not the receiver, an admission of scorn in
Hispanic (homosexual) society: "it is anal passivity alone that is stigmatized
and that defines the subordinate status of homosexuals in Latin culture"
(Almaguer 258). Likewise, Adonis Garcia is the provider of information as
the confessor of the novel; his discourse penetrates onto the tapes and into
the minds of the listeners/readers of his story.
Active (and not passive) sexual penetration for Adonis Garcia is a
continual action beyond his own narration. At the close of the novel, when
he describes his fantasy of escaping Mexico City to a place far away, he
envisions extraterrestrial beings during penetration: "a poco no sería increíble
coger con algún ser verde o amarillo y de piel gelatinosa en la que se le
hundiera la verga en cualquier parte que se la pusieras ..." (Zapata, Las

267
aventuras . . . 222). The desire for intercourse with an individual not from
his own world indicates how Adonis Garcia's speech yearns for an active
liberation from oppression. As Adonis describes his acts of penetration
throughout the novel, only twice does he assume the passive role, a marker
that Almaguer has indicated is typical of prostitutes like Garcia who sleep
with many men: "men who may eventually adopt both active and passive
features of homosexual behavior typically do not engage in such reciprocal
relations with the same person ..." (Almaguer 261). His first encounter as
a hustler is active and passive: the "primera noche de debut en el talón y ya
picado me picó lo piqué me volvió a picar lo volvi a picar o al
revés no me acuerdo del orden ..." (Zapata, Las aventuras . . . 58).
With Crestas, Adonis is activo and pasivo as well, roles that he learns are not
complementary: "ya ahí se puso el preservativo y me la metió luego me lo
puso [el preservativo] a mí y yo se la metí las dos cosas ..." (Zapata, Las
aventuras . . . 79-80).
The non-sexual active role of Adonis on the first tape demonstrates
the important influence that mass media forms such as magazines and
movies have on the development of identity in Latin America. However,
beginning with tape two, Adonis becomes sexually active as he progresses
from a consumer of media images of sex to a producer of the same, for on
the second tape he tells of his first act of sexual penetration with another
male, the beginning of his identity as a male prostitute. His first images of

268
sex come from an Argentine magazine that provides Adonis with fantasies
about men penetrating women that become fantasies of "la figura del chavo
que estaba cogiéndose a la vieja . . . pensaba más en él ... (Zapata,
I as aventuras . . . 23): he identifies with the active male. He also watches
movies: "veía muchísimas películas todo lo que me ponían enfrente veía
películas mexicanas veía películas gringas veía de todo ..." (Zapata, Las
aventuras . . . 25). In high school Adonis and his classmates start a school
paper with "recortes de otros periódicos o revistas comentarios que
hacíamos nosotros ¿no?" (Zapata, Las aventuras . . . 32).
Adonis tells on tape two that his first boyfriend is René, the first
person with whom he has intercourse. Adonis is the activo and René, the
pasivo: "se la metí era la primera vez que le metía la verga a alguien y gocé
como nunca ..." (Zapata, Las aventuras . . . 52). With Zabaleta, their
relationship is role-specific even though Zabaleta promises to financially
support Adonis who is activo: "y ya fuimos [Zabaleta y yo] a coger ¿no?
yo casi chillando y él tratando de consolarme mientras [yo] se la metía [a él] .
. . " (Zapata, Las aventuras . . . 91). When Zabaleta explains to Adonis that
anal penetration is pleasurable, Adonis cannot feel the pleasure that Zabaleta
refers to, admitting that he prefers the active role: "me dio la cogida de mi
vida y nunca sentí nada agradable" (Zapata, Las aventuras . . . 96); for
Adonis, being pasivo is not enjoyable. His one sexual encounter with a
woman follows the same role playing as when he is with men; his

269
description of insertion (he again uses the Spanish verb "meter" with the
verb "coger") and lack of sexual attention/arousal reflects not only his
orientation toward active sex with men but also Mexican society sex roles
between men and women that Almaguer point to above: the passive partner,
in this case the woman, is in the neglected, ignored, and inactive position:
"se la metí y puse mi cara a un lado de la suya para que no me besara
porque estaba muy fea y así chin chin chin chin me la cogí . . . "
(Zapata, Las aventuras . . . 110). When Adonis moves in with Pepe and
two others, they keep a written record of their sexual exploits that is specific
about the role of each exploit: "entonces ponían [en un cuaderno]
fulanito de tal tal día y luego ponían si había sido activo o pasivo o las
dos cosas ..." (Zapata, Las aventuras . . . 139-40), an indication that
Adonis is aware that either role is possible.
Adonis indicates how this binarism is a frequent component in
Mexican society as well. In the bathhouses sexual penetration occurs
between men who come and go all day long: "ves desde señores que dejaron
afuera el galaxie y que nomás van a que les den su piquete ..." (Zapata,
Las aventuras . . . 201). The movie theaters are also places for anonymous
sex that combine the aspect of fantasy (film) with the reality of day-to-day
life. The same occurs in other public locales too. During the movies at the
Cine Internacional, for example, "ligabas con un tipo y te lo llevabas a las

270
escalentas y ahí le dabas su piquete ¿no? chas chas chas ..." (Zapata,
Las aventuras . . . 202).
With his first homosexual encounter (above) and in these two
instances as well Adonis uses the noun "piquete" (stake) to describe what he
gives during the sexual act. In vampire lore, the death of a vampire is often
finalized by driving a wooden stake through its heart. In Spanish, the verb
"picar" has several connotations that refer to the use of the stake in vampire
mythology: to pierce, to puncture, and even to bite (Cassell's . . . 469), the
act associated with the vampire who bites the victim's neck then sucks the
blood through its fangs.
Adonis Garcia literally cruises from man to man (and to one woman)
without a thought about the consequences from such promiscuous activity.
In an age of increasing concern and fear about the transmission of AIDS
(Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) through unprotected sexual activity,
Zapata's novel does not provide scenes of safer sex. Its appearance in 1 979
falls approximately one or two years short of the "official" beginning of the
AIDS epidemic, so Zapata writes from an uninformed point of view about the
dangers of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) infection and AIDS. Yet his
novel is important Latin American narrative fiction because of its frankness
about gay sex and also because the protagonist is a vampire, a creature for
whom the exchange of bodily fluids is a way of life and not a medical
fatality. In a period when authors may choose to highlight "the decline of

271
gay nightlife with the coming of AIDS," Zapata's novel celebrates and
"continues to affirm that [nightjlife, to mourn its passing more than the
deaths it has supposedly 'caused'" (Dyer, "Children of the Night ..." 69).
In part five of The History of Sexuality. Volume One. Michel Foucault
demands a similar enjoyment of life rather than excessive concern about the
controls over it. He uses the term "bio-power" to reflect "the state's
administration of the technology for producing and regulating life" (Halperin
28) that the body makes visible as sexuality, the result of which was that
sex becomes more of an issue of concern than the laws used to control it.
Zapata's novel suggests the urgency to look beyond the restrictions and
deterrents against sexuality to where it can be enjoyed as its own discourse,
able to speak freely about its journey through the centuries from shackled
object to free subject: "what we now perceive as the chronicle of censorship
and the difficult struggle to remove it [sexuality] will be seen rather as the
centuries-long rise of a complex deployment for compelling sex to speak . . .
for getting us to believe in the sovereignty of its law ..." (Foucault, The
History . . . 158). Adonis Garcia establishes through his confession about
his sex(uality) what for Foucault is the central issue about the presence of
the body as an instrument of power: "The 'right' to life, to one's body, to
health, to happiness, to the satisfaction of needs, and beyond all the
oppressions or 'alienations,' the 'right' to rediscover what one is and all that
one can be ... " (Foucault, The History . . . 145) through one's own body.

272
For Zapata as well as for Adonis Garcia, this is the site for personal as well
as collective homosexual power.

CHAPTER 8
CONCLUSIONS
At the end of Luis Zapata's novel, Adonis Garcia dreams of a distant
and different life than his current one. His deliberate, open-ended desire to
meet extraterrestrials parallels his aspiration to transcend his current
existence, a strong indication that the form of the novel suggests literary
freedom as well: in search of an alternative reality, both discourses refuse to
nail down one interpretation of reality and instead opt for alternatives
through stylistic innovation(s). Zapata's novel, in this sense, rejects
previously established novelistic representations of reality in favor of
modifications: the novel's protagonist Adonis Garcia uses creative, non-
traditional language to recount his experiences rather than styles that follow
patterns. Bram Stoker's novel Dracula refuses to let the vampire survive, but
Zapata allows his vampire protagonist the chance to dream about a better
future, a luxury that Count Dracula cannot afford because he is eliminated
from the pages of the novel. Zapata's novel empowers the vampire to exist
both without and within the scrutiny of others through his own words, his
own language; as one critic notes, despite the fact that Dracula "exerts the
consummate gaze . . . [he] is scrutinized in all things, he lives forever but can
be killed" (Halberstam 88).
273

274
Each of the six chapters of this dissertation has examined the vampire
figure on the written page as a physical presence in Latin American literature,
similar to Count Dracula's presence in Victorian literature. This conclusion
examines how blood imagery, the main discursive technique as well as the
physical object of the vampire figure highly prevalent in Stoker's and its
many subsequent interpretations, shifts toward the confession of sexuality in
Latin American fiction. In the novels examined in the previous six chapters,
blood loses its importance (and presence) as the fluid most identified with a
symbolics of death in Stoker's novel and gains strong significance as an
element associated with life, the same conclusion of Michel Foucault about
sexuality in his History of Sexuality. Volume One: "Broadly speaking, at the
juncture of the 'body' and the 'population,' sex became a crucial target of a
power organized around the management of life rather than the menace of
death" (Foucault, The History . . . 147) that the vampire figure represents
by removing his victims' blood and allowing them to die. Contemporary
"monster" stories (this is Halberstam's term; according to Halberstam, Mary
Wollstonecraft-Shelley's novel Frankenstein [1816] is an early nineteenth-
century monster story) that depart from Stoker's novel undergo "a switch in
emphasis within the representation and interpretation of monstrous bodies
from class, race, and nationality to a primary focus upon sexuality"
(Halberstam 24), the shift that Foucault refers to as "this transition from
'sanguinity' to 'sexuality'" (Foucault, The History
148). In Latin

275
American narratives, this shift not only denotes a change in thematics but a
change in semantics as well: blood loses its visibility in Latin American
vampire stories, remaining "under the skin" or hidden in order to increasingly
represent the potential for it to break the surface without warning and
disrupt the established order in the same fashion that sexuality suddenly
appears unannounced through the vampire figure, ready to destabilize
accepted notions and belief about human sexual behavior.
The continual comparisons in this dissertation to Bram Stoker's novel
Dracula indicate the important effect of the 1 897 novel upon later vampire
stories as well as the troubled thematics of gender and sexuality that the
vampire story suggests. As the center figure of the vampire myth, Stoker's
title character "disrupts dominant culture's representations of the family,
heterosexuality, ethnicity, and class politics" (Halberstam 23) by openly
displaying blood as the sign for these social markers and revealing their
shortcomings. In her introduction to David William Foster's recent collection
of essays about lesbian and gay (identified) writers in Latin America, Lillian
Manzor-Coats spells out the "double bind" that affects Latin American
writing about gender as well as sexuality, a feature not necessarily limited to
lesbian and/or gay literature as the works in this disseration show. She
suggests a dependence that is nothing short of vampirism between Latin
American writers and the Anglo-American intellectual academy: "the ways in
which we [Latin Americans] participate in the construction of knowledge of

276
Latin America are prescribed and/or recuperable by Anglo-American regimes
of knowledge as well as by academic and institutional demands ..." (xviii).
She does not advocate for the release of these binds in the search for
knowledge but instead opts for a co-existence, a continual and curious
dependence that likewise exists as the longing for blood between vampire
and victim: "Rather than propose an escape from structures of ideological
violence ... a more fruitful solution is to negotiate with these structures and
tentatively disrupt them by bringing them . . . into a productive crisis"
(Manzor-Coats xviii) that questions basic societal paradigms such as
sexuality.
This dissertation demonstrates through six contemporary Latin
American novels that not only are these critical ties at least worthy of the
possibility of release but the most appropriate image in literature to achieve
that goal is the vampire figure alluded to by Manzor-Coats in her statement
above about continual dependence. As a potentially violent figure with an
uncontrollable sexuality and continually shifting nature, the vampire figure in
Latin American narrative literature allows for the destabilization of accepted
"norms" and the consequent re-examination of these norms from different
perspectives, a "productive crisis" that Stoker's character does not suggest.
In order to approach sexuality from the point of view of those who
experience it rather than from those who collect and moderate the
experiences, Michel Foucault's History of Sexuality. Volume One (1976)

277
serves to shift the history of sexuality to the voice of the confessor (of
sexuality) rather than remaining fixed on the authoritative voice extracting
the confession (about sexuality), thus questioning the core of the vampire
myth as well, that is, the relationship between stable and unstable, dominant
and dominated.
The history behind Manuel Mujica Lainez's novel Crónicas reales
(1967) serves as an example. The unruly sexuality of Zappo von Orbs zu
Orbs's ancestor Benno provides a daring but unconstrained voice for sodomy
as well as for the personal confession of the author's sexual orientation.
According to Ángel Puente Guerra, Mujica Lainez did not openly declare his
own homosexuality until in his 1976 novel Sergio because "in the circle in
which he moved-the intellectual world of the upper middle class in Buenos
Aires-the theme of homosexuality was treated through allusion or
euphemism, or else completely ignored" (268); read a different way,
Argentine society dictated what was acceptable and what was not. Nine
years earlier than the open confession of his own sexuality, Mujica voices in
Crónicas reales a decidedly "open" sexuality that is without the confines of
procreative sexual behavior-and without societal "norms." Benno's rapes,
tortures, and propensity for any human sexual flesh in Chronicle One of
Crónicas reales anything but quietly invoke human sexuality in a similar way
that the author addresses his own as well his society's fears about the same
topic.

278
Placed into a position of confessing its own story, the vampire figure
in Latin American narrative fiction opens up a revealing and deviously
attractive monologue about sexuality that can only be heard through
channels that have been carefully scrutinized, measured, and observed and at
the same time allowed a tenuous existence on the printed page for readers to
interpret. For example, heterosexuality is productive for the purpose of the
family and very careful to "accept" what fits the norm and to reject any
deviance, often identified as homosexuality or lesbianism, unfit from the
point of view of heterosexuality. The sexuality of the vampire does not fit
established conventions of heterosexuality either, introducing a subversion
that re-examines heterosexual parameters from the lesbian or gay
perspective. Stoker's vampire protagonist Count Dracula is "the deviant or
the criminal, the other against whom the normal and the lawful, the
marriageable and the heterosexual can be known and quantified" (Halberstam
89) but his presence is continually defined by blood and not visible
(hetero)sexuality. Lacking from the six narratives presented in previous
chapters of this dissertation, however, is a strong presence of blood that
carries intense social and political meaning when used in the "correct"
contexts such as race, nationality, and gender as Manzor-Coats as well as
Mujica Lainez's novel testify above.
While the United States experiences a liberation of sexuality/sexualities
in the 1970s, the case in Latin American societies of the same time period is

279
sharply different. The proliferation of military regimes in many of the Latin
American nations during this time period establishes indirectly or not a
dependence model for societies to follow, a pattern that maintains "national
unity" by silencing and/or eradicating elements that do not fit into the
"authoritarian and patriarchal dynamics of social and political repression"
(Manzor-Coats xxiii-xxiv) such as homosexuality, lesbianism, and other
"countercultural identities" (Manzor-Coats xxiv). However, Latin American
writing during these years de-institutionalizes mainstream discourse by
emphasizing the reappropriation of physical aspects of the body that "buscan
. . . ensuciar los grandes mitos de cohesión, esos universales glorificados y
despolitizados que el discurso de la civilización autoconsagra como valores
eternos" (Mudrovcic 453). Foucault's idea of the confession was
undertaken as well in the French penal system during the 1970s, a time of
political and social instability in many South American countries. To
sexuality, to prisons, and to authoritarian regimes can be applied Foucault's
proposed outcome that re-voices and subjectifies the marginal: "His
[Foucault's] purpose was to authorize those [in the prisons] who are normally
the objects of expert discourses, who are spoken about while remaining
silent themselves, to speak on their own behalf" (Halperin 55, my
emphasis). As Mudrovcic and Foucault say above, voices belonging to non-
traditional sexualities and/or criminals mess up or turn dirty "clean"
discourses of heterosexuality and security.

280
Blood imagery in the nineteenth century becomes tied to a racist
ideology, "a racist biology, entirely centred [sic] around the concept of
degeneracy" (Foucault, Power/Knowledge . . . 223) that must be controlled
and/or suppressed. Contrary to the outward manifestations of degenerate
blood that racists desire to reduce to silence and hopefully eliminate, Michel
Foucault insists that sexuality become a visible part of Western societies
despite attempts to repress it, thus fighting off the racist agenda. His re¬
categorization of blood as more of a racist symbol than a vampiric one,
however, demonstrates the historical shift in meaning/thematics of
vampirism as a discourse of objects (blood) to a discourse of subjects
(human beings) whom Mudrovcic specifically identifies as "figuras marginales
más o menos arquetípicas que evocan redes precisas de sentido como la
subcultura del califa, la prostituta, el lumpen, el exiliado, el homosexual, el
judío, el indígena, la mujer, el macho ..." (Mudrovcic 457-58). The
medicalization of sexuality, for example, suspects sexuality as something
that, like blood, produces effects in others and therefore must be closely
monitored since "All sexuality runs the risk at one and the same time of
being in itself an illness and of inducing illnesses without number" (Foucault,
Power/Knowledge . . . 191). Yet even though he briefly examines specific
sexualities such as sodomy and homosexuality, Foucault asserts in The
History of Sexuality. Volume One (1976) that as restrictions are placed onto
sexuality and its variations such as those just mentioned, human societies

281
become more knowledgeable about sexuality as a part of larger discursive
strategies.
For example, in Las aventuras ... de Adonis García . . . Luis Zapata
places homosexuality within the confines of acceptability by allowing his
protagonist Adonis Garcia the entire seven tapes to tell his story without
much mediation by the collector of the tapes. Similar to Foucault's argument
for examining alternate sexuality in order to free human discourse from
restraints or limitations of interpretation, Zapata's novel (as well as his works
in general) presents "liberating influences on the taboos of Mexican culture
that have censored positive portraits of gay life out of so-called serious
literature by relegating such topics to the realm of tabloid sensationalism,
cantina stories, graffiti, and caricature" (Schaefer-Rodriguez, "Zapata, Luis . .
. " 460). "Adonis seeks encounters with the men who savor the hours of
darkness to fulfill the sexual fantasies repressed or disguised (in more
acceptable forms) during the day" (Schaefer-Rodriguez, "Zapata, Luis . . . "
462), a reason why his novel can be considered vampiristic in theme.
Adonis's voice fits who he is and the environment in which he lives. He
tells/confesses his stories "with a gay sexuality that is neither eccentric . . .
nor morbidly clinical in its details, but totally natural for the narrating voice,
just as it is a moral part of the human landscape of this city" (Schaefer-
Rodriguez, "Zapata, Luis ..." 462). The alternative form of this novel
portrays "alternative sectors of society" (Schaefer-Rodriguez, "Zapata, Luis .

282
. . " 463) such as the gay ghetto in which the protagonist lives and to
which Mudrovcic refers above, a space fragmented from "mainstream"
Mexican society. Yet because of the presence of Garcia in the Colonia Roma
within narrative fiction, Zapata's novel demonstrates how "homosexuality
and textuality are created as a space of opposition in which the political
economy of the body's desires and longings can be articulated . . . "
(Manzor-Coats xxix) together, Foucault's principal message as well as
Manzor-Coats's desire to perpetuate a "productive crisis" in the text.
This conflict between the prohibition and freedom of sexuality poses
a curious question for literature: how is it possible to represent sexuality
within the novel? To what extent is it permissible to allow prohibited
aspects of sexuality to enter into public view for scrutiny and evaluation?
Analogously, where does the forbidden message fit into the tactics of
reading? Does the reader/interpreter of the message exist in tandem with the
sender of the message, or is there an uneven relationship between the
confessor and the hearer of the confession? Ultimately, the concept of
confession that Foucault introduces in his 1976 book opens up a discussion
of who determines what is and what is not allowed in a text, a task that
Wolfgang Iser contends is, in the end, the role of the reader to accomplish.
Because of the presence of the vampire in narrative fiction as an imaginary
creature that is based primarily on superstition, it allows the reader material
to apply to his/her own world through a process Iser calls enactment:

283
The interplay between the fictive and the imaginary can ... be
seen as the enactment of this process of destruction and
enabling, which finds its paradigmatic form in literature, because
the fictive is able to unfold the imaginary as counterplay when
freed from all the pragmatic burdens of the empirical world.
(235)
Foucault introduces the idea of the confession about sexuality as a
result from the religious confessions of sins begun in the thirteenth century:
"the Christian pastoral . . . sought to produce specific effects on desire, by
the mere fact of transforming it . . . into discourse ..." (Foucault, The
History . . . 23). The interaction between confessor, (then) a layperson
seeking forgiveness from carnal sinning, and the priest sets up a continual
dialogue that enacts the confession: as the questions are asked by the priest,
the person confessing responds to the questions in a fashion that is
unmediated until the questioner eventually considers the material worthy of
forgiveness or not: "one does not confess without the presence (or virtual
presence) of a partner who is not simply the interlocutor but the authority
who requires the confession, prescribes it and appreciates it, and intervenes
in order to judge, punish, forgive, console, and reconcile ..." (Foucault, The
History . . . 61). The ideological relationship between the questioner and
the confessor rests on what is ultimately confessed (the message) yet the
confessor provides the information to a passive questioner, a listener and not
the producer of the message.
As Foucault asserts, the need for the confession about sexuality arises
out of the need to produce more information in regard to sexuality and not so

284
that sexuality can be repressed, the hypothesis regarding human sexuality
against which he writes his 1976 book. The hidden revelations, secrets, and
confessions with respect to sexuality serve to open up more disussion about
sexuality than is possible through repressive measures such as continual
monitoring, strict classifications, and societal prohibitions since the
confession about sexuality "could only reach completion in the one who
assimilated and recorded it" (Foucault, The History . . . 66) as well as the
one who tells/confesses. In novels such as Stoker's Dracula and in Mujica
Lainez's Crónicas reales, for example, there is a balance between author and
reader who is identified to decide the fate of the confession of
monstrosity/sexuality. In both of these works "the author professes to be no
more than a collector of documents, a compiler of the facts of the events.
The reader, of course, is the judge and jury . . . and often [with] a kind of
prosecuting presence expected to know truth, recognize guilt, and penalize
monstrosity" (Halberstam 20). Foucault argues for the (readers')
examination of these confessions about sex in order to better comprehend
the strategies that are at work to scrutinize the sexual behavior of
individuals.
In a fashion parallel to the eventual exposure of blood in Stoker's
work, the six novels examined in this dissertation unveil secret truths about
human sexual behavior that remain hidden under the surveillance of strict
authority structures such as the church, the police state, and the traditional

285
family, aspects of Latin American society/societies that have held an
important determining position with regard to sexuality. That is, like blood,
beneath the surface lies a dark secret that is waiting to burst onto the
surface and forever change the conditions. In each of the six novels, the
vampire figure allows these hidden aspects of human sexuality to surface
because the shifting significance of the vampire figure in these novels does
not maintain a specific trait or characteristic, not the case with most
interpretations of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula that focus on the bloodlust of
the vampire and only hint at the wild sexuality that the vampire undoubtedly
portrays on a regular basis. From the priest Padre Félix in Froylán Turcios's
1910 novel El vampiro to the homosexual prostitute Adonis Garcia in Luis
Zapata's Las aventuras ... de Adonis García . . . (1979), the vampire figure
in Latin American narrative fiction moves away from fixed stereotypes and
into more flexible and productive realms of meaning and significance so that
society as a whole is able to see a part of itself in each interpretation. Each
of the six novels shifts away from the vampire's need for blood and transfers
the literal meaning/signification of blood to a different register, one that
projects blood as the metaphorical life force waiting to erupt onto the surface
(of society) as sexuality. Iser's words sum up quite well the shifting of
meaning of the vampire figure in these novels:
Departure from traditional mimesis goes hand in hand with
departure from the convention-governed relationship between
signifier and signified by letting the signifier float, so that it may
serve to produce hitherto unforeseeable significations, resulting
ultimately in a fictionalization of established conventions. The

286
signs now have to be read differently. They no longer denote
given positions or substances; instead, they insinuate links,
unfold directions, and adumbrate realizations in order to reveal
what cannot be denoted .... (31)
A look at the features of the vampires in these six novels reveals little
dependence on blood, one of the central motifs of Bram Stoker's novel
Dracula as well as its many reinterpretations. In his poor English, the Dutch
scientist Abraham Van Helsing offers the crux to Stoker's novel: despite the
(human) ability to focus on only what is visible, the blood that Count Dracula
pursues is the way to get at what is bugging Victorian society, their own
sexuality. Stoker's novel upholds that the vampire eludes science because of
its dependence on human blood, an element like the vampire itself that exists
out of sight until it breaks the surface. Van Helsing tells his ideas in the
following fashion:
You do not let your eyes see nor your ears hear, and that which
is outside your daily life is not of account to you. Do you not
think that there are things which you cannot understand, and
yet which are; that some people see thing [sic] that others
cannot? But there are things old and new which must not be
contemplate[d] by men's eyes, because they know-or think
they know-some things which other men have told them. Ah,
it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it
explain[s] not, then it says there is nothing to explain. (Stoker
196-97)
Unlike sexuality, then, Van Helsing's scientifc discourse fails in its
attempt to explain the vampire since it refuses to admit that the vampire
exists if the creature is not visible; according to Van Helsing, it is necessary
to look beyond ourselves to find answers to life's puzzles, because if science

287
cannot explain the actions of the vampire, then such a creature must not
pose a threat. Vampire imagery succeeds as a critique of culture because of
its eccentric nature: something so deviant from yet very much a part of
human existence has an important message. As he indicates above, Van
Helsing suggests using the vampire to search for answers about themselves
rather than using laws of science to search for the vampire, but his message
is more in tune with what lies just under the surface: the invisible blood, the
equivalent of which is sexuality in the case of Latin American novels.
For example, in Rafael Maluenda's novel El vampiro (1958), Máximo
Luján is unable to express his sexual love for Carmen Barton. Through his
doll Polidoro the ventriloquist not only brings to the surface his anxieties
about relationships but his uneasiness with the potential sexuality with
Carmen surfaces through Polidoro as well. Apparently only an extension of
Luján on stage, the doll Polidoro fascinates the audiences at the Casino
Palace and continually places Luján in the spotlight. Maluenda highlights the
vampiristic qualities of the doll through Luján's increasing disability to
identify true feelings; the draining effect is Luján's growing dependence on
the doll for personal as well as professional success. The novel ends with
the ventriloquist dying in a pool of blood, the last indication that Carmen
actually got to him-inside the doll she placed the knives that produced his
blood.

288
In Manuel Mujica Lainez's Crónicas reales (1967), the fictional
technique of the chronicles that cover centuries of the lives of the von Orbs
family does not diminish the role of the author-as-mediator/compiler who,
through the tyrannical episodes of the von Orbs family, presents a critique of
the contemporary phenomenon of the dictator in Argentina as well as in
many Latin American countries of the 1970s. Fictional narratives about
vampires in Latin American culture offer vampirism as an authorial technique
to get at the true existence of Hispanic culture, when in reality vampirism
has been found to exist in actual societal structures such as the Laymi
indians of Bolivia and the fearful ñakaq figure. As separate voices that point
to the infrastructural components of third-world societies such as fetish
commodities and rituals of the dead, the accounts of the Laymi indians as
well as the information regarding the ñakaq figure point to what the vampire
figures in each of these six novels identify as well: the desire to step out of
traditional methods and modes of narrating current events and into
alternative imagery, symbols, and metaphors that describe the same thing
from an innovative point of view. For example, the anthropologist Nathan
Wachtel notes that instead of blood the Bolivian ñakaq extracts human fat,
but their interdependence is noted as well as a text that can be read on a
large scale as first-world repression of third-world countries: "we are talking
about a 'slaughterer' who specializes in 'extracting fat' from the human
body; a relationship ... is thereby fundamentally established between fat

289
and blood" (Wachtel 72) that does not remain limited to the actions of the
ñakaq but applied on larger scale to human interactions in general.
Far from being the depraved monster secluded to the bedroom, the
vampire figure in Latin American narrative fiction exists as a part of reality:
the vampire hypocritically represents religion through Froylán Turcios's Padre
Félix, runs a country with an iron fist that Manuel Bedoya brings to power
through General Bebevidas, works in the offices of professionals as José
Abimael Pinzón's secretary Francisco Gáscaro, cunningly entertains an
audience as Rafael Maluenda's character Polidoro, reveals amazing facts
about the past as Benno von Orbs, Manuel Mujica Lainez's version of Gilíes
de Rais, and roams the streets in Luis Zapata's novel about Adonis Garcia.
Instead of mysterious ogres that live hidden in the subconscious psyche of
the human mind or in a dark and distant castle in a far-away place, vampire
figures in contemporary Latin American narrative fiction provide a continual
presence as individuals whose similarities with human beings are out of place
or far-fetched in late Victorian fiction such as that of Bram Stoker but very
much in tune with human beings whose life experiences in contemporary
Latin America involve some or all of the aspects listed above. In short, the
vampire myth/figure/character in Latin American narrative fiction exists
because of the universal necessity for such a being to explain human
activity/behavior in a time when distinctions are blurred, meanings are
confounded, and identities are confused, specifically in regards to sexuality.

290
Instead of a representative of all of a society's ills, "The monstrous body that
once represented everything is now represented as potentially meaning
anything- . . . the outcast, the outlaw, the parasite, the pervert, the
embodiment of uncontrollable sexual and violent urges, the foreigner, the
misfit" (Halberstam 27)-the "bad blood" waiting just below the surface to
explode onto the (un)stained social body.
The lack of blood in these narrative fictions points to its over-emphasis
in the vampire myth. By successfully portraying each vampire figure with
extreme sexual drives beyond simple definition, the six authors analyzed in
this dissertation present vampirism as separate from blood imagery and more
in touch with its human side, as a truly deviant human characteristic. The
blood motif works well in Bram Stoker's novel Dracula because of its
necessity. Written during a time in history when the distinctions between
what was "correct" and "incorrect" sexuality were highly defined, his novel
can only have indirect recourse to blood, an element that stands in for
sexuality since the direct appearance of powerful sexuality in the novel
would alarm too many readers (this is the idea of Foucault: even though
many kinds of sexuality were rampant in Victorian society, their appearance
in public was "repressed" but as Foucault contends not concealed. The
opening sentence of The History or Sexuality. Volume One shows this: "For
a long time . . . we supported a Victorian regime, and we continue to be
dominated by it even today. Thus the image of the imperial prude is

291
emblazoned on our . . . sexuality" [3, my emphasis]). In other words, Stoker
uses blood as the prime fluid of the vampire's existence to represent what
the creature is extracting not only from his immediate victims through a
brutal sexuality but also what he as a foreign invader is removing from the
population as a whole: their life force. Unlike most interpretations of
Stoker's story, the six vampires examined in this dissertation shift away from
the underlying motif of blood in order to demonstrate not only the variability
of the vampire myth but also to show that blood is but one aspect of the
myth, a feature that serves its purpose as an interpretation of events as a
specific moment in time and that should not be taken as the most important
aspect of the vampire myth in all interpretations.
Several examples of the concept of blood as a metaphor for
degeneracy rather than something specific appear in Manuel Mujica Lainez's
Crónicas reales (1967). The strength of the novel's subversion of
established values/discourse appears in Chronicle I titled "Hércules el
picapedrero" in which Hércules constructs a monumental cathedral as a
symbol of Count Benno's power and privelege. Using a crafty device,
Hércules (as well as Mujica Lainez) is able to de(con)struct the "edifice" of
the von Orbs family as well as the wider concept of "family" itself. He
devises a mechanism that, with one pull of an ornate tassel, brings the entire
structure crashing down onto the von Orbs family, including Count Benno,
the vampire Zappo's ancestor: "Se había desplomado sobre el Conde, por

292
casualidad simbólica, el desmedido escudo del leopardo, de suerte que la
bestia, encrespada sobre su vana armadura, lo estaba despedazando" (Mujica
Lainez 23). As the family coat of arms falls onto Benno von Orbs and kills
him, the weight of the shield foresees the weight of the family blood
throughout the remainder of the novel and its influence on what it produces
in the family: many degenerate social types such as "kings, queens, saints,
tramps, a vampire, and perverts ..." (Ramos Foster 85). This referential
and literal act of crushing the von Orbs family at the beginning of Mujica's
novel is the first of many episodes in the work that demonstrate how
"Cualquier agravio que se infligiera a los Orbs repercutería sobre la casta
entera" (Mujica Lainez 92)—in forms that relate to the family blood. The
novel, then, highlights the continual struggle between royalty and those of
non-noble lineage; the physical repercussions of mixing blood are extreme as
the following examples show.
In Chronicle XI the physical appearance of Federica Victoria Tram-und-
Traxis is ghostly, a pale reflection of her lineage rather than a robust
descendant: "la terrible palidez y la innata flaqueza espiritual de la futura
soberana [era] . . . herencia de tantos y tantos personajes lerdos" (Mujica
Lainez 278); this shows how her ancestry is afflicted by "los estigmas que
distinguen a su linaje" (Mujica Lainez 285) rather than respect and honor.
But perhaps the most notable of all the results of the von Orbs family blood
is the vampire, Baron Zappo XV von Orbs, whose initial description in

293
Chronicle X appears as representative of the entire "descendancy" of the von
Orbs family: a different color. The description of the vampire Zappo parallels
how the von Orbs family passes down bizarre traits: "mientras [Zappo]
descendía despacio los escalones, lo envolvía una verde vibración.
Convengamos en que difícilmente se lograría obtener un conjunto de verdes
como el que el Barón convocaba ..." (Mujica Lainez 244). He slowly
descends the staircase of Wurzburg Castle that "formaba parte, desde la más
lejana Edad Media, de las posesiones de su familia" (Mujica Lainez 237)
even though the novel as well as his family's beginning is marked by the
destruction of the family home, the weight of the family.
In Pinzón's novel El vampiro (1956) the blood-thirsty vampire gives
way to a writer, the only instance other than in Zapata's novel where the
vampire is allowed a direct voice. Dr. Rodolfo Nuncira is able to recognize
the murderer of the three boys by proving that instead of identifying himself
as a vampire, the assasin Francisco Gáscaro reveals his crimes through
writing the word vampiro (vampire) on the boys' corpses. Even though
Gáscaro scribbles the same word onto three different bodies, Nuncira states
that "no fue su intención señalarse como «Vampiro»" (Pinzón 296), Pinzón's
brilliant double-entendre that transforms the word "vampire" at once into
signifier and signified. Not only does the word identify the specific criminal
(Francisco Gáscaro) but it also labels an entire class and concept of criminal
activity that is present in the novel that Gáscaro uncovers. Moreover,

294
Gáscaro's written recourse to/as the vampire (figure) strengthens its status
as a popular literary and textual voice that moves on from the pages of
novels to the body/bodies of his three victims, actualized events rather than
ones limited to written fiction. By framing his novel within (supposedly) true
events, Pinzón writes the vampire out of textual confinement and onto the
streets of Bucaramanga, Colombia, as a (homo)sexual murderer who depends
less on blood and more on sex for recognition.
Given the three brutal sodomies committed by Francisco Gáscaro, the
word "vampire" in triplicate remains inscribed while at the same time breaks
from proscribed (sexual) restraints. Once they are marked with the word, the
three young boys' bodies point to the potential of homoeroticism in the
vampire myth, thus destabilizing (Stoker's) assumptions that male vampires
continually pursue female blood. The bodies onto which is written the word
vampiro (vampire) become what Lee Edelman calls homographesis, a process
of writing that has
a double operation: one serving the ideological purposes of a
conservative social order intent on codifying [sexual] identities in
its labor of disciplinary inscription, and the other resistant to
that categorization, intent on dn-scribing the identities that order
has so oppressively inscribed. (10, emphases in original)
In many ways, the novels under consideration in this dissertation are
atypical vampire stories. For example, unlike the detailed explanations of
vampires presented throughout Bram Stoker's novel Dracula (209, 220, 245-
46ff.), the six novels do not deal with the undead aspect of the vampire

295
figure nor do they provide specific information about the blood-lust of the
creature.1 However, the one aspect that these novels develop is a sexuality
that threatens to defy traditional definitions by its potential to appear.
Alejandra Pizarnik's La condesa sangrienta (1971) presents vampirism as "a
form of beauty [maintenance] that does not correspond to the one
traditionally promoted by the official culture of all 'civilized' societies"
(Altamiranda 333): in order to preserve eternal youth, the Countess bathes
in the blood of virgins rather than recurring to traditional methods of personal
hygiene. Instead of explicitly exploring the mechanics of lesbian sexuality
(see Monzón 103-04 for the suggestion of Bathory as a lesbian), Pizarnik
offers a distanced perspective on sexuality through the imagery of blood, "an
inner exploration of her own phantoms through a challenging treatment of
language" (Altamiranda 335) that questions civilization's contention about
sexuality as an element with rigid demarcations of identity. Through a
reworking of the history of Countess Bathory's bloodlust, Pizarnik develops
what Judith Halberstam calls the "narrative secret" of sexuality. Similar to
the invisibility of blood beneath/deep within the skin, sexuality must be
exposed and at the same time "buried by language, by literary form, and by
novelistic themes" (42). As in Stoker's novel, important social, political, and
The exception is Manuel Bedoya's El general Bebevidas. Monstruo de América in which
the tyrant-vampire is dependent upon the blood of young men to cure his diabetes-like
infection. This interdependence, however, is minimalized by the many sexual relations of
the characters throughout the narrative, and only appears sporadically throughout the book.

296
personal events reflected in Pizarnik narrative help to frame the defiant
sexuality that, like homosexuality, "should be seen in connection with other
forms of social, political, and economic determinations" (Manzor-Coats xxix)
in relation with what defines it.
Bram Stoker's novel is a story about the vampire presented from the
point of view of those deeply affected by and/or involved with the creature
and not from the vampire's vantage point. Very little space in this novel is
devoted to the actual voice of the vampire to tell his version of the story.
Except for the direct narration of Rafael Maluenda's novel Vampiro de trapo
(1958), each of the novels presents a story of the vampire that appears
through the "voice" of an intermediary who has received the information and
transcribed it into a first-person account of what happened, a testimony of
the vampire figure.2 Chapters two and seven examined novels in which the
events are narrated from the first-person point of view: in the latter the voice
2 There is a close similarity between these novels and the testimonial narrative tradition in
Latin American literature although the works should not be classified as such. John Beverly
describes several features that these six novels have in common with the testimonio in
Latin American narrative fiction: "Because the authorial function has been mitigated or
erased in the testimonio, so has the relationship between authorship and forms of individual
and hierarchical power" ("Testimonial..." 177); the self-assertive rebelliousness of Adonis
Garcia in Zapata's novel as well as the continual presence of the chronicler in Mujica
Lainez's novel attest to this. Beverly also points to the testimonio as the way to address
sectors of society that have been/are silenced. In his words, testimonios exist "as records
of human experiences that might otherwise remain anonymous, [as] vehicles for local and
international solidarity, [as] models of new forms of personal and collective subjectivity,
[and as] places to test and evaluate experience and strategy" ("Testimonial..." 206-07).
The nonrestrictive presence of homosexuality in Zapata's novel and the possibly lesbian
subject of Pizarnik's work, for example, create a space for lesbian and gay sexuality in Latin
American narrative fiction.

297
is of the vampire Adonis Garcia while in the former the narrator pursues the
vampire.
With the exception of Alejandra Pizarnik's La condesa sangrienta
(1971) and Mauro Alvarez's Confesiones de un vampiro (1984), Latin
American novels of the twentieth century exhibit a noticeable lack of blood in
vampire stories. Michel Foucault finishes the History of Sexuality. Volume
One with a detailed examination of the power of blood, not only a reference
to "the [most] fundamental part of the book" (Foucault, Power/Knowledge . .
222) but also one of the most recurrent features of the vampire myth.
According to Foucault, it is no surprise that blood serves a symbolic function
for society before sexuality surfaces to analyze it. However, for Foucault the
issue of blood revolves around race/racism. In response to a statement made
by Guy Le Gaufey who says that "it's always the bourgeois, without the
recources of the police or the curé, who gets rid of the vampire" in literature
and film (Foucault, Power/Knowledge . . . 223), Foucault favors the
elimination of the upper-class element since, as he puts it, "the rotten,
decadent class was that of the people at the top, and ... a socialist society
would have to be clean and healthy" (Foucault, Power/Knowledge . . .
223).
This is present in Stoker's novel since "power spoke through blood:
the honor of war, the fear of famine, the triumph of death, the sovereign
with his sword, executioners and tortures" (Foucault, The History . . . 147,

298
emphasis in original) are closely tied into the nineteenth-century's version of
the vampire (story) in Stoker's text. In this book, blood serves the purpose
of identifying Count Dracula's valiant existence as well as his downfall: he is
an Eastern European aristocrat eliminated by a group of British bourgeois
individuals because he poses a threat from the outside. The count's blood
contains evil because it is tinged with centuries of noble degeneracy evident
in his physical differences/deformities noted by Jonathan Harker:
Hitherto I had noticed the backs of his hands as they lay on his
knees in the firelight . . . but seeing them now close to me, I
could not but notice that they were rather coarse-broad, with
squat fingers. Strange to say, there were hairs in the centre
[sic] of his palms ... .1 could not repress a shudder.3 (Stoker
27)
As the central feature of "bio-power," blood imagery for Foucault has
pervaded Western civilization since the Renaissance as the identifier of
power, the symbol of control that achieves its status through figures such as
the sovereign. In addition to the importance of sovereign blood in feudal
societies, blood becomes at once the image of power and strength because
of its coexistence with(in) the figure of the sovereign.
These six novels have little blood imagery in combination with the
vampire figure. If blood is taken as the source of life for the vampire figure
(this is the case in Bram Stoker's version of the myth as well as most of
3 See Halberstam (86-106) for a perceptive connection between Count Dracula and the
figure of the Jew as outsider. Halberstam sees how Stoker's text sets up the two figures
for extermination because of their degenerate blood: "they both unite blood and gold in
what is feared to be a conspiracy against nationhood" (105).

299
Hollywood cinematic versions), the general exclusion of blood in Latin
American narratives about vampires points to a displacement of meaning
from fixed images and metaphors of the vampire myth to more fluid and
changing ones that adapt over time. Instead of blood as the link between
vampire and victim, sexuality becomes the vital connection between the
characters in these six narratives. The replacement of blood with sexuality
as the central motif of vampire stories strengthens the
combination/association of sexuality with real-life concerns such as political
expression, stable relationships, issues of sexual orientation, and power; as
Foucault states, blood and sex are quite similar since the former "was put
forward as the index of a society's strength, revealing of both its political
energy and its biological vigor" (Foucault, The History . . . 146) as well as
the latter.
For example, in Bram Stoker's novel Dracula. the slowness with which
Lucy Westenra becomes the vampire-Count's victim is evident in the gradual
exposure of blood in the novel. Small, tell-tale signs of blood begin to appear
that indicate that Lucy is being (sexually) victimized by the Count. Because
of the high level of science in his novel as well as the time period in which he
writes, Stoker allows small glimpses as what the vampire is doing to his
victims rather than providing the information all at once since the sudden
appearance of the unrational vampire would upset the rationality of the
novel's scientific base. Mina Harker notes in her diary how Lucy all of a

300
sudden has small marks on her neck, "two little red points like pin-pricks, and
on the band of her nightdress was a drop of blood" (Stoker 103). In sharp
contrast with the bloodbath that eventually marks her demise (Stoker 222),
these small traces of blood nonetheless tell the reader that the vampire has
victimized Lucy.
By devaluing blood in the vampire story, Latin American novels turn
attention away from traditional aspects of the popular vampire myth and
(mis)conceptions about the vampire to more of the underlying motivations
that propel the myths into popularity, at least into the hands of a reading
public who can relate to and process the issues developed in the works
themselves. The diminishing amount of blood in Latin American narrative
fictions about vampires allows the reader to see the vampire as an imaginary
figure that will open up many possible interpretations of the "as-if" nature of
its status: "Triggering an imaginative reaction to the world represented in the
text proves to be the function of the 'as-if' construction, which comes to
fruition through the attitudes the reader is induced to adopt to the world
exemplified by the text" (Iser 16).
Instead of a continual focus on blood as a physical object, these
novels localize a symbolic or imaginary status onto blood that increases the
interaction between the texts and the readers of the texts. In the words of
Iser again, "It is therefore only natural that the experience of the imaginary
should set off in the reader the urge to make it meaningful, so that he or she

301
may bring the experience back to the level of what is familiar" (18). Instead
of remaining a surface image or metaphor for vampirism, the displaced blood
imagery in these novels aludes to the deep(er) mysteries of human sexuality
that are not realized nor acknowledged externally but run deep within-and in
necessity of continual examination. The vampire figure in Latin American
narrative fiction serves to explore/explode not only the many potentials of
human sexuality but also the anomalous interpretation of such activities as
right or wrong, correct or incorrect, stable or unstable. Similar to the
eruption of blood from beneath the surface of the skin brought on by a
physical act/perpetrator (the vampire), "imagination manifests itself only as
an impact on relationships brought about by forces external to it, and,
therefore, is to a large extent conditioned by them" (Iser 1 80).
In Zapata's novel, Adonis Garcia is an openly gay vampire of modern-
day Mexico City who has shed the trappings of Count Dracula from nearly a
century ago; the black cape, the degenerate physical features, the fangs, a
need for human blood, and a collection of coffins in which to rest at night all
lose their importance as identifiable parts of the vampire myth in Zapata.
Why is it that, in a society that does not condone homosexual relations but
merely passively accepts them (see Almaguer), Adonis achieves liberation
through his relationships with other men when Count Dracula could only find
himself in opposition to/against men? The heterosexual paradigm that
remains intact to highlight and discredit lesbian and gay orientations in

302
literature is most obvious in the struggle between Dracula and the other men
whose women the vampire threatens to sexualize. Yet the Count's words
betray his (hetero)sexuality as he tells the men that they too shall come to
his side, as will their women: "Your girls that you all love are mine already;
and through them you and others [other men] shall yet tte mine-my creatures
. . . to be my jackals when I want to feed" (Stoker 312, my emphasis).
These men drive Dracula to his death into a box-like coffin, while
Adonis's liaisons with other men ultimately push Adonis out of the
closet/coffin and into mainstream Latin America as a literary vampire figure
without having to conceal his sexuality. The truly remarkable feature of
Adonis as well as other vampires in Latin American narrative fiction is
his/their own potential to bring to the surface or confess sexuality as it is,
"not because it occupies a position outside the rules governing social
discourse, but precisely because it operates from within those rules to
suggest the instability of positioning that is sexuality itself" (Edleman 175,
emphasis in original). Without blood and coffins, two images of death that
are associated with the current HIV and AIDS epidemic, Latin American
narrative fiction offers Adonis Garcia and his predecessor vampires as
temporary replacements for the horror of death and dying that has come to
represent sexuality in the contemporary world.

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321
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Gregory A. Clemons was born August 30, 1963, in Milwaukee,
Wisconsin. After completing high school in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, in
1981, he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Spanish in 1985 and his
Master of Arts degree (also in Spanish) from the University of Wisconsin-
Madison where he was a teaching assistant from 1985 to 1987. Greg spent
his junior year at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Spain, with the
Junior Year Abroad program at UW-Madison. Greg began his doctoral
studies at the University of Florida (Gainesville), where he was a graduate
teaching assistant from 1987 to 1993. Currently, Greg is a visiting assistant
professor of Spanish at Warren Wilson College near Asheville, North Carolina.
In January of 1996, Greg will travel to Mérida, Venezuela, for a three-month
Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship where he will attend the
University of the Andes.

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms
to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in
scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Andrés Avellaneda, Chair
Professor of Romance Languages and
Literatures
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms
to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in
scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Gerdloine C. Nichols
Professor of Romance Languages and
Literatures
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms
to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in
scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Adolfo Prieto *
Graduate Research Professor of
Romance Languages and Literatures
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms
to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in
scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Nina Menéndez J
Assistant Professor of Romarfce
Languages and Literatures

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms
to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in
scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Ofelia Schutte
Professor of Philosophy
This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the
Department of Romance Languages and Literatures in the College of Liberal
Arts and Sciences and to the Graduate School and was accepted as partial
fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
May 1996
Dean, Graduate School



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