The Powder Room carried a blog posting titled Thirsty: The Women of Bram Stoker's "Dracula". In the posting, the author postulates that the female characters in Bram Stoker's novel capitalized on the Victorian fears of the New Women in society who were striving for economic and sexual change. I've always felt that modern day vampirism is symbolic of our Id, and that we love vampires because they live out the carnal desires and aggressions that we are unable to in polite society. This article adds an interesting perspective to that.
While we're on the subject of vampires, read Hong Kong-based novelist Robert Rath's How Society Defanged the Vampire in which he discusses how the decline in religious adherence and the increased knowledge of medicine and funerary practices have turned the undead from terrifying monsters into cult and fetish icons.
A friend of mine sent me a link to What Can Vampires Teach Us About Economics? Before you look at me like I have two heads (Confession: I do. I keep the other one in a jar of formaldehyde in my study.), it's a podcast on Freakonomics inspired by the book Economics of the Undead: Zombies. Vampires, and Dismal Science, a collection of scholarly essays with dark and unique subjects. As strange as it sounds, there are some pretty good novel ideas listed among the topics. I included the table of contents here.