Theaccusations about Calmet accepting the truth of vampire reportsblindly are fair. This is because, as a scholar, before acceptinginformation and publishing it, there must be evidence beyond anyreasonable doubt. Calmet was a French monk who was also considered tobe learned. He wrote several commentaries concerning the bible andwas also trusted by the pope of the time. In his dissertationsconcerning vampires and their existence, Calmet wrote about issues hehad neither proven existed nor seen. It would, therefore, beincorrect for him to assert that the vampires indeed existed and werekilling the living (Bunge 67).
Voltairesays that Calmet in publishing his dissertations about the vampireshe had never seen, made himself a historian for the imaginarycreatures (Calmet, 61). He treated the matter of vampires like hetreated the two testaments of the Holy Bible and related to thestories, even though the alleged events had happened before his time.Calmet believed in the existence of vampires like he believed in thebible. This is despite the fact that vampires were not recordedanywhere in the old or new testaments. Voltaire says the creaturesthat sucked blood had not been seen in Paris and London. Therefore,the stories about vampires may have been false in light of the factthat they were all based on what people had said and not on evidence(Bunge, 78).
Goetheuses the figure of Vampires to criticize Christians. In his poem, Thebride of Corinth,he narrates the tale of a young lady who raises from her grave tofind her lover. The lady dies as a result of being forced into beinga nun by her Christian mother (Goethe, 269). The poem portrays theChristian limitation of denying the believers autonomy of choice.Christians are forced into being slaves of their religion as the ladywas forced into service for the church against her will of marryingher pagan lover. Goethe uses the girl who returns as a vampire tosymbolize the craving for freedom that the Christians in reality faceand yet they cannot earn it. Goethe’s poem also highlights thedisregard for people’s sexualities. This is evident from the ladybeing forced into breaking the engagement with her potential husband,just to become a nun (Rosenberg228).The act of not marrying at all is unnatural therefore, being forcedinto being a nun is analogous to being forced into a life that isagainst the laws of the nature that Christians say was created by God(Rosenberg228).
Geraldineis evil. From her actions in the poem Christabel,she behaves in a manner that portrays a pretender who at first givesChristabel the impression of being pure, then turns against her. Shefirst introduces herself as a lady who had been kidnapped by five menand makes Christabel pity her. When Christabel invites her to herhome, she turns her father against her. Geraldine pretends that shewished Christabel’s mother was there, while in reality she wishesotherwise. Geraldine releases the spirit of Christabel’s mother sothat she can be free to take over her mind (Twitchell, 41). Althoughthe writer does not finish the poem and, therefore, it is not obviouswhether Geraldine was evil or possessed by an evil spirit, heractions are evil and seem to be deliberate. Therefore, it would becorrect to conclude that Geraldine was evil based on her treacherousactions.
Bunge,Mario Augusto. "Philosophical dictionary." (2003).
Calmet,Augustin. Dissertationsupon the Apparitions of Angels, Dæmons, and Ghosts, and concerning the Vampires of Hungary, Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia… Translatedfrom the French.M. Cooper, 1759.
Coleridge,Samuel Taylor. Christabel.H. Frowde, 1907.
Rosenberg,David J. Towardsa Cosmopolitanism of Self-difference: Heinrich Heine and Madame de Stael Between France and Germany.ProQuest, 2007.
Twitchell,James B. Theliving dead: a study of the vampire in Romantic literature.Duke University Press, 1981.
VonGoethe, Johann Wolfgang. "The Bride of Corinth." Goethe’sWorks1 (1797): 258-90.