Buffy takes two vampire lovers during the seven seasons and in one episode very nearly succumbs to a traditional Dracula figure in a wonderfully worked out pastiche of Stoker. Ovid presents the reader with a numinous landscape in which anything can happen and where human beings might suffer traumatic transformations into wild animals or find themselves rooted to the spot as trees. The Romans wined and dined on strange portents and stories of the supernatural. Centuries before the Roman Empire the Greek world had produced the Homeric epics; the Odyssey is peppered with fairytale and folklorist episodes, as the hero Odysseus Ulysses makes his 10 year journey home from Troy. This is one weird relationship. Out of the unknown Witches, werewolves and spine tingling spectres were not foreign to the ancient world.
Myths about luckless mortals metamorphosed into something monstrous or facing amorous gods in larger than life and outlandish forms permeate the many myths Ovid, the famous poet of Rome, wove into his epic work. The conference on this theme organised by the Open University and Maynooth, National University of Ireland inspired a number of publications on classical connections in the works of Buffy In my forthcoming book on the Pygmalion myth on screen I have focused on a robot girlfriend April in Buffy. And is this scenario perhaps one more clue about the lure of the vampire in contemporary culture — along with androids, gynoids and other strangely configured creatures the vampire is a metaphor and a measure for what it is to be human. Buffy takes two vampire lovers during the seven seasons and in one episode very nearly succumbs to a traditional Dracula figure in a wonderfully worked out pastiche of Stoker. Centuries before the Roman Empire the Greek world had produced the Homeric epics; the Odyssey is peppered with fairytale and folklorist episodes, as the hero Odysseus Ulysses makes his 10 year journey home from Troy. And over recent years — who would have thought it! I am not alone in the classics academic community in finding Greek and Roman strands in the Buffyverse. April, a technological miracle is ultimately only a moving statue. This pleasure machine with feelings seemed to me to be a close match with the ivory statue sculpted by the king of Cyprus. The Romans wined and dined on strange portents and stories of the supernatural. She is a simulacrum which in Latin can mean sculpture, substitute, likeness and ghost. The avid letter-writer Pliny 2nd century CE relishes relating an episode about a haunted house and the discovery of a skeleton in chains waiting for a decent burial. The fascinating thing about such 'fantasy fiction' is that it created a space or place as much then as it does now where literary artists could visualise and symbolise the fragility, fragmentation and permeability of our physical identity, fears of social alienation and the complexity of the human condition. Ovid presents the reader with a numinous landscape in which anything can happen and where human beings might suffer traumatic transformations into wild animals or find themselves rooted to the spot as trees. Think O Brother Where Art Thou or Big Fish for recent cinematic takes on this famous adventure and its flawed but tenacious protagonist. This is one weird relationship. We featured the robot girlfriend in our reception of Ovid section in the Myth course and the audio taster Buffy meets Pygmalion has, at time of writing, attracted nearly 60, hits on iTunesU. These rather bloodless creatures are both beholden to and radically different from the charismatic and erotically charged Dracula of Bram Stoker, a Victorian Ur text for literary and cinematic vampiric traditions. Out of the unknown Witches, werewolves and spine tingling spectres were not foreign to the ancient world. However, the 'popular culture' of the undead — various bloodless entities and supernatural beings, hovering between heaven and hell — has ebbed and flowed throughout history. As Gaby Wood wrote in her fascinating book Living Dolls, when making the link between replicas, revenants and replicants, death is inherent in the simulacrum. In the racy novel Satyricon a werewolf story forms part of the banqueting fare. Ironically, Spike is later used by the real Buffy as a sex toy, and yet both are bonded by being resurrected from the grave Buffy has died but been torn out of her heavenly resting place to resume her role as Slayer. Buffy, before and after death, was in terror of losing her humanity, of 'turning into stone', 'shutting down' and yet sex with Spike 'makes her feel'. Open University students of Greece and Rome get to read about dangerous spellbinding crones in the original Latin for instance on the language module Continuing Classical Latin.
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