Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Shawna Lichtenwalner

Committee Members

Chelsea Wessels, Joshua Reid


This thesis contains an examination in the psychosocial significance of Hans Baldung Grien’s “Death and the Maiden” art motif, created during the Renaissance period following the Black Death, and its resurgence in the vampire fiction genre of both literature and film. I investigate the motif in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) and Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire (1976) as well as their film adaptations by Francis Ford Coppola (1992) and Neil Jordan (1994), respectively. By examining the presence of the motif in art, literature, and film, I found that the common threads across all investigated works were the dominant social fears of their relevant historical societies and the allure of the taboo, as described by Georges Bataille and Slavoj Žižek, among others. The significance of these findings lies within the ability to gauge the values and fears of societies through their use of the motif.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.