“‘A Climate . . . More Prolific . . . in Sorcery’: The Black Vampyre and the Hemispheric Gothic” proposes that Uriah Derick D’Arcy’s pseudonymous The Black Vampyre (1819) exemplifies the hemispheric gothic through its exposure of the connected, but disavowed histories of the Haitian Revolution and the United States. This sensational gothic novel invokes the Haitian Revolution even as its paratexts self-consciously worry about its place in the New York literary scene. The novel comments on the rise of a transatlantic literary market in which unfamiliar and aspiring figures such as D’Arcy and John Polidori sought to eclipse familiar, canonical authors such as Lord Byron. Then, it connects this literary market, with its concerns about originality, copying, and plagiarism, to the transatlantic slave system through the metaphor of vampirism, which, as theorized here, involves the theft of labor. While The Black Vampyre appears to contain the gothic horrors of a version of the Haitian Revolution with the end of a slave revolt and the end of the main characters’ vampirism, the text titillates readers with the possibility that a vampiric descendant of its eponymous hero has moved on from Haiti to haunt New Jersey. Thus, The Black Vampyre challenges both the easy relegation of the Haitian Revolution to the category of history and simple national narratives that ignore the intertwining histories of Haiti and the United States.
Katie Bray; “A Climate . . . More Prolific . . . in Sorcery”: The Black Vampyre and the Hemispheric Gothic. American Literature 1 March 2015; 87 (1): 1–21. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00029831-2865163
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