Tina Rath – Background Material

Tina Rath gained her doctorate from London University with a thesis on The Vampire in Popular Fiction and her MA with a dissertation on The Vampire in the Theatre. She has lectured on vampires for the Fortean Times Unconvention, and for various societies including a Pagan Group, Talking Stick, for Westminster University, the literary society at Newcastle University, and at Salford University.

She has also made a number of radio and television appearances to talk about vampires, most recently on Woman’s Hour discussing their particular sexual attraction for women. Television appearances include an entry on Mastermind (answering questions on vampire fiction), Up Front (Granada), Good Morning, Big Breakfast, (Channel 4), Paint it Red (Channel 1), Five Alive (Channel 5) the James Whale Show, M for Midnight, 11th Hour and Live TV, the South Bank Show, The Edge,’ The Mysterious North, and Walkover History. Radio includes two appearances on the James Whale show, a regular spot for a while on Viva (now Liberty), Radio Gloucestershire, Solent, LBC, Radio Northants, Radio 2, BBC Midlands, BBC Radio CWR, BBC Radio One, Cleveland, and Kiss FM.

She is available as a lecturer or after-dinner speaker on vampires and other aspects of Gothic literature.

MA Dissertation: The Vampire in the Theatre

The vampire is not a native of this country, but a comparatively recent immigrant, who arrived at the beginning of the nineteenth century, via literature and the stage. Our image of the vampire is basically a theatrical one, as it is largely through the theatre that he has become known. This dissertation traces the establishment of the vampire on the English stage and in the English consciousness, tracing the vampire figure through its various incarnations from Lord Ruthven to Count Dracula and beyond.

Doctoral Thesis: The Vampire in Popular Fictiona

The thesis traces the development of the vampire figure in popular fiction, from its first appearance in English fiction to the present day, by examining a series of representative texts in chronological order. All vampire stories are necessarily fiction but some have been told as a record of actual experience. I do not explore these in detail, but I include a consideration of such portions of vampire tradition as have been available to writers of English fiction. The vampire film, which is inextricably involved with vampire fiction has also made an important contribution to vampire traditions and although it is impossible to study the vampire film in depth in a thesis which is primarily devoted to prose fiction I look at the more influential films, especially those from the Hammer canon, and at the contribution from the vampire-theatre.

I also include a consideration of the various proto-vampires of history, tradition and literature, figures which, while they cannot themselves be identified as vampires, have contributed to the characteristics of the vampire-figure. Because I feel that the blood-sucking element in the vampire is extremely important, forming a complex web of associations both with eroticism and food, I also give some attention to the associations of blood and drinking in popular tradition.

The main argument of the thesis is that the vampire, being essentially a construct, like the little vampire doll which sparked my initial interest, and having no essential reality (like Stoker’s Dracula, the vampire stands before the mirror, but has no reflection, allowing the reader or spectator to insert any images he pleases) so the vampire image can be repeatedly reconstructed and deconstructed in text after text. Often the vampire is reconstructed in the image of the author’s own interests or anxieties: Polidori’s sexual anxieties, and literary jealousy produce Lord Ruthven, Stoker’s fin de siecle pre-occupations with the perceived break-down of barriers, between human and animal, man and woman, Rice’s vampires caught in a perfect stasis reflecting, perhaps, our current obsessions with youth and bodily perfection.

Perhaps because the vampire is used as a vehicle for our obsessions there is also a tendency to misread existing texts, wrenching them to fit current theories in a way which borders on an actual re-writing of the text.

For this reason I try to examine my chosen texts carefully, stripping away the accretions of misreading and misunderstanding to see how the vampire continues to represent humanity. The thesis includes a major section examining vampire fiction for children and young people, which is a large and growing part of the genre, and by no means confined to Buffy and her spin-offs.
I tackle vampire fiction from the point of view of a reader and a writer of vampire stories – although I approach my subject with academic rigour I also like vampires and sees no need to apologise (but certainly, perhaps, to explain).

Published vampire stories include:

MISS MASSINGBERD AND THE VAMPIRE first published in Woman’s Realm in 1986 and reprinted in the Mammoth Book of Vampire Stories for Women, Robinson, 2001
SAMANTHA – in The Velvet Vampyre (the magazine of the Vampyre Society)
RUBIES AND DIAMONDS in All Hallows (the magazine of the Ghost Story Society)
A STUDY IN BLACK AND WHITE in Ghosts and Scholars’
THE FATE OF MISS STONE in Visionary Tongue

Other dark fantasy stories include:

THE FETCH The 19th Book of Great Ghost Stories 1983
END OF SEASON Fantasy & Science Fiction March 1984
FIFTH SENSE The 17th Fontana Book of Great Horror Stories 1984
NIGHT OUT Woman’s Realm, October 1985
THE GODMOTHER The Year’s Best Horror Stories, IS, 1987
CATCHING ON Bella, 10th April, 1996
Comes, ed Barbara & Christopher Roden, Ashtree Press, 1997

Prize winners in the Yellow Advertiser short story competitions:


Stories co-written with Tony Rath:

MIRROR MIRROR Weird Tales, Winter 1992/3
BELLE Weird Tales, Spring 1999
CONSPIRACY THEORY in More Shakespearean Whodunits, ed Mike Ashley, pub. Robinson Publishing Ltd, 1998
WHO KILLED FAIR ROSAMUND? in Royal Whodunits, edited by Mike Ashley, published by Robinson Publishing Ltd, 1999

Small press publications include:

THE GOVERNESS, Ghosts and Scholars 8
SUCCUBUS, Close to the Edge
DISCO DOLLY, Enigmatic Tales
JAMES, All Hallows
THE CO-WALKER, Hideous Dreams
TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS, Lady Stanhope’s Manuscript and other
Supernatural Tales, Ashtree Press, 1994
VACANT POSSESSION, Supernatural Tales
A CHIMAERA IN MY WARDROBE: One: The Incident in Ramillies Gardens, Supernatural Tales

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