REPRESENTATION OF "FEMMES FATALES" IN GOTHIC AND ROMANTIC WRITINGS AT THE END OF THE 18 TH CENTURY
This paper analysis two Gothic ballads at the end of the 18 th century with
respect to the depiction of their female characters: Matthew Lewis’s "The Bleeding Nun"
and Anne Bannerman’s "The Dark Ladie". It focuses on the blending of the femme fatale
characteristics with vampiric traits, explores the way these have been incorporated in the
text and the meaning which they impose on the specific texts. The destruction to the male
protagonist, with whom they are usually in a romantic relationship, is the basic idea that
underlies these femme fatales, which as this paper argues, are imbued with vampiric traits. The
paper offers an examination of the role of the vampiric in the respective ballads while tying
them to the first Romantic treatment of the femme fatale in Coleridge’s Christabel, commonly
not referred to as a vampire. The vampiric has been depicted here as a transmittable state
which creates a new ‘vampire’, a trope that will evolve in vampiric literature a century later.