chapter  28
Contagion and Transmission
WithAbigail Lee Six
Pages 23

This chapter considers the texts that come closest to fitting the sexual contagion pattern and ask whether they do anything innovative or identifiably Spanish with it. It explores texts that metaphors relating to another vector of pathological transmission – heredity – and shows how this idea inflects readings of vampirism and how it is used in the Spanish corpus. The contagion metaphor’s usual ramifications are limited further by other features of the story: since passing the condition on appears to cure the first vampiric character, the metaphor of an epidemic destroying the whole human population is unavailable. To give vampires a bad smell is an evocative and economical way to make them seem threatening, for a bad smell connotes danger and, in particular, disease, returning to the notion of contagion. Verano de miedo avoids controversial characterization by limiting the vampires’ associations to Nazis rather than any particular sexual preferences.