Postcolonial vampires in the Indigenous imagination: Philip McLaren and Drew Hayden Taylor



Publication Details

Clark, M. (2012). Postcolonial vampires in the Indigenous imagination: Philip McLaren and Drew Hayden Taylor. In T. Khair and J. Hoglund (Eds.), Transnational and Postcolonial Vampires: Dark Blood (pp. 121-137). USA: Palgrave Macmillan.

Additional Publication Information

Long before the publication of Bram Stokers Dracula, vampires have eagerly transgressed the borders of gender, race, class, propriety, and nations. Such fervent violations of boundaries intensified during the final years of the twentieth century, and the early years of the current millennium have been known as 'the decade of the vampire'. Transnational and Postcolonial Vampires is a unique and timely collection that examines the past and present vampire narrative as a postcolonial and transnational phenomenon. Through a series of important contributions by well-known scholars in the field, it illustrates how vampires have mapped and continues to map the fear of the Other, the ravenous hunger of Empires and the transcultural rifts and intercultural common grounds that make up global society today. The collection is framed by a foreword by Elleke Boehmer and an afterword in the form of a poetic intervention by David Punter.


I first became interested in literature's vampires as a means to readdress historical representations of colonial encounter when analysing the novels of Australian resistance writer Mudrooroo Nyoongah (aka Colin Johnson, Mudrooroo Narogin, Mudrooroo). Traces of the eternal night wanderer appear in a raft of variations throughout Mudrooroo's body of work, culminating in his trilogy The Undying (1998), Underground (1999) and The Promised Land (2000). The author's first fully developed representation of the vampire as an invading power which rules by coercion without thought for the common good is introduced in The Undying as a white female colonizer named Amelia Frazer (see clark 2006). As I ihave written elsewhere, Mudrooroo's Amelia is a strangely fixed earthy traveller who hunts for her prey across the lenght and breadth of Australia's early colonial landscape. Her horrendous acts of penetration and murder can be read as cruel metaphors for indigenous dispossession, displacement and imposed cultural enfeeblement that are the hallmarks of the colonial enterprise.

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