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Journal Article

Romantic Inversions in Herzog's Nosferatu

Kent Casper and Susan Linville
The German Quarterly
Vol. 64, No. 1, Focus: Literature and Film (Winter, 1991), pp. 17-24
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Association of Teachers of German
DOI: 10.2307/407301
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/407301
Page Count: 8

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Topics: Movies, Vampires, Narratives, Horror fiction, Desire, Expressionism, Bourgeois, Christianity, Irony, Tales
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Romantic Inversions in Herzog's Nosferatu
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Abstract

Herzog's vampire film deploys motifs and narrative structures derived, through the mediation of Murnau, from German romantic conventions. But Herzog's ethos is existentialist and his narrative rhythms are post-modern. While his film sounds many notes along the register of the romantic tale, it collapses dualistic dichotomies and presents the quest-romance as circular futility, doppelgänger demonism as doubled sameness, and "pure" female love as nonredemptive-for the male quester. Jonathan Harker's journey to Castle Dracula and back to Wismar, Lucy's sacrificial vanquishing of the vampire, and Jonathan's assumption of the Nosferatu role at the end of the film-all are subject to structural and thematic ironies that undercut idealistic significations and foreclose the process of catharsis anticipated by the spectator of the horror film.

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