Vampire Nation

Violence as Cultural Imaginary

Vampire Nation

The Cultures and Practices of Violence

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Book Pages: 224 Illustrations: 9 illustrations Published: August 2011

Cultural Studies, European Studies > Eastern Europe and Russia, Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Criticism

Vampire Nation is a nuanced analysis of the cultural and political rhetoric framing ‘the serbs’ as metaphorical vampires in the last decades of the twentieth century, as well as the cultural imaginaries and rhetorical mechanisms that inform nationalist discourses more broadly. Tomislav Z. Longinović points to the Gothic associations of violence, blood, and soil in the writings of many intellectuals and politicians during the 1990s, especially in portrayals by the U.S.-led Western media of ‘the serbs’ as a vampire nation, a bloodsucking parasite on the edge of European civilization.

Interpreting oral and written narratives and visual culture, Longinović traces the early modern invention of ‘the serbs’ and the category’s twentieth-century transformations. He describes the influence of Bram Stoker’s nineteenth-century novel Dracula on perceptions of the Balkan region and reflects on representations of hybrid identities and their violent destruction in the works of the region’s most prominent twentieth-century writers. Concluding on a hopeful note, Longinović considers efforts to imagine a new collective identity in non-nationalist terms. These endeavors include the emigrant Yugoslav writer David Albahari’s Canadian Trilogy and Cyber-Yugoslavia, a mock nation-state with “citizens” in more than thirty countries.


Vampire Nation: Violence as a Cultural Imaginary is a welcome and needed contribution to the conversation on the post-Yugoslavia reality and the future construction of the Balkans for scholars of the region and the literature and culture. Longinović does a remarkably skillful job in navigating the turbulent and, for many, dangerous political and cultural waters following the collapse of Yugoslavia and the aftermath of the Balkan wars, creating a highly readable and engaging volume.” — Thomas J. Garza, Slavic and East European Journal

Vampire Nation… offers a unique deconstruction of Serbian nationalism through a detailed textual analysis of the “vampire” metaphor…. The intelligent and eloquent prose makes Vampire Nation a thoughtful and distinctive study of Serbian identity and the cultural “vampire.” The book can be described as a different and unique ethnographic study of violence in the former Yugoslavia.” — Anastasia Karakasidou, Anthropological Quarterly

“Given the elastic qualities of vampirism, it is not surprising that the book comes together as a collage of artistic and literary artefacts that are rather impressive in their range. Longinović has at his disposal, it seems, the entire cultural repository of the South Slavs, drawing on oral literature, popular music, contemporary novels and even political speeches. His crossings between genres and forms aptly demonstrate the entrenched overlap between, say, populist political rhetoric and literary tropes. . . . [T]here is plenty to bite into in this book.” — Dragana Obradovic, Times Higher Education

“Longinović’s study will be stimulating both to vampirology and to Balkan studies, particularly in its thought provoking analogy between the post-Oriental and post-Communist condition. The study is also a valuable contribution to the tradition of critique: Longinović’s sustained censure of concealed forms of cultural racism and political imperialism will find favour with deconstructionist scholars and critical thinkers.” — Vladimir Zoric, Modern Language Review

“This fascinating and important post-Yugoslav study of violence, especially in relation to Serbia and the Serbs, poses crucial questions about how Serbian violence has been understood from within Serbian culture, from within the Yugoslav and post-Yugoslav framework, and from the external perspective of the European gaze. Tomislav Z. Longinovic, one of the world’s leading scholars on South Slavic literature and culture, offers a cultural study that provocatively illuminates the complexities of Serbian identity, the metaphor of vampirism in southeastern Europe, the meaning of violence within an imagined community, and the mental mapping of the former Yugoslavia.” — Larry Wolff, author of Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Tomislav Z. Longinović is Professor of Slavic and Comparative Literature at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is the author of Vampires Like Us and Borderline Culture, as well as the novels Sama Amerika and Moment of Silence.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Introduction. Violence in Translation: The Vampire Metaphor in the Age of Nationalism 1

1. The Great Vampire Swindle: Global Cultural Imaginary and the Violence of 'the serbs' 19

2. Bloody Tales: Figurations of Masculinity in the Post-Oriental Condition 51

3. Sounds of Blood: Yugoslavism and Its Discontents 87

4. Locations of Horror: Bosnia in the Literary and Political Imaginary 119

5. Quieting the Vampire: Voicing Violence in the Post-Human Age 153

Notes 191

Bibliography 197

Index 203
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Winner, 2012 Mihajlo Misha Djordjevic Award for best book in South Slavic Studies (presented by North American Society for Serbian Studies

Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5039-2 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5022-4
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