Dark Ecology and Queer, Amphibious Vampires

Naomi Booth


This paper argues that early vampire narratives can be reread as queer ecological fictions, darkly re-imagining the human as a liminal, amphibious entity. I highlight the importance of the amphibian—a slippery, ambiguous creature—to contemporary eco-deconstructive accounts that seek to disrupt and queer species categorizations, focusing in particular on Timothy Morton’s notion of “dark ecology” (2007). Early vampire literature, I argue, similarly deconstructs the distinction between different species through its erotic depictions of enmeshed ecologies. Analyzing the new blood-relations established in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) and the figure of the queer female vampire described as “amphibious” in Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla (1872), I suggest that vampire narratives depict dark new ecologies, establishing an “in-betweeness” shared by the living and the undead. The final part of this paper considers the importance of loss to current theorizations of queer ecology: Catriona Mortimer-Sandilands (2010) has recently advocated a state of suspended mourning for what has been destroyed by anthropocentric and homophobic violence. I posit the haunting figure of the vampire as one example of literature’s “non-normalizing relationship to the past” (Mortimer-Sandilands)—a relation of return that might form an important part of queer, ecological resistance to current practices of unmarked destruction.


Dark ecology; queer theory; vampires; deconstruction; amphibians

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MANAGING EDITORS   Sarah Iannicello, Benjamin J. Kapron

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VOL 20 CFP PRIMARY AUTHOR   Ronak Ghorbani Nejad

SCHOLARLY REVIEW TEAM   James Arruda, Nicole Beuglet, Julie Chamberlain, Aadita Chaudhury, Amanda Di Battista, Kesha Fevrier, Sarah Iannicello, Adam Linnard, Jessica Lukawiecki, Jacob McLean, Michaela McMahon, Indra Singh

CREATIVE REVIEW TEAM   Nicole Beuglet, Amanda Di Battista, Sarah Iannicello, Morgan Johnson, Kelly King, Andrew Mark, Eva Mencin, Indra Singh

COPY EDITORS   Sarah Iannicello, Benjamin J. Kapron, Rachel Lam, Anthony Sandre

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FUNDING SUPPORT   Faculty of Environmental Studies (York University), PhD Environmental Studies Student Association

SPECIAL THANKS TO   Nina de Jesus, Amanda Di Battista, Ruben Esguerra, Steve Glassman, Darren Patrick, Lily Piccone, Dr. Catriona Sandilands, and Dr. Peter Timmerman

COVER ARTWORK   Kokila Bhattacharya