Journal of Romance Studies

Predatory consumption in Gema del Prado Marugán, ‘Comer con los ojos’ (2016)

Journal of Romance Studies (2020), 20, (2), 347–363.

Abstract

The title of Gema del Prado Marugán’s vampire story, ‘Comer con los ojos’ (2016), is an expression with no exact equivalent in English. Its literal meaning, ‘to eat with one’s eyes’, evokes the phrase ‘to feast one’s eyes on’, but has stronger connotations of lechery in the way men look at women. However, both the title and the opening of this story wrong-foot us: the story is not about lascivious ‘eating with one’s eyes’, and the opening, introducing children’s late-night computer gaming, does not lead to a message primarily about youngsters endangered by screen-based consumption. I argue that, via metaphors of looking and eating, del Prado implicitly asks whether the mass-media-fuelled concerns over what children consume online are distracting adults and thus exposing children to greater dangers, some attributed here to the Anglicization of parenting practices in Spain. I posit that this twenty-first-century tale uses the ingestion of blood to emblematize an antique fear, played out in a contemporary context: that our belief in children’s goodness and innocence may be illusory, blinding us to the fact that their lives are as pressured and unprotected as our own, their appetites as dangerous to themselves and others as ours are, and that perhaps they are quietly devouring one another away from our distracted, wilfully deluded, and hence averted gaze.

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Works cited

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de Hoyos y Vinent, Antonio (1913) ‘Una hora de amor’, in Antonio de Hoyos y Vinent, El pecado y la noche (Madrid: Renacimiento), 65–72. Google Scholar

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Kilgour, Maggie (1995) The Rise of the Gothic Novel (London and New York: Routledge). Google Scholar

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Lee Six, Abigail (2017) ‘Nuria C. Botey’s short story “Viviendo con el tío Roy”: Motherhood and risk assessment under duress’, in Motherhood in Literature and Culture: Interdisciplinary Perspectives from Europe, ed. Gill Rye, Victoria Browne, Adalgisa Giorgio, Emily Jeremiah, and Abigail Lee Six (New York and London: Routledge), 184–196. Google Scholar

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Lee Six, Abigail, and Hannah Thompson (2012) ‘From hideous to hedonist: The changing face of the nineteenth-century monster’, in The Ashgate Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous, ed. Asa Simon Mittman with Peter J. Dendle (Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate), 237–255. Google Scholar

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Tahoces, Clara Gothika (2008) (Barcelona: Minotauro). Google Scholar

Williamson, Milly (2005) The Lure of the Vampire: Gender, Fiction and Fandom from Bram Stoker to Buffy (London and New York: Wallflower Press). Google Scholar

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Author details

Six, Abigail Lee

Six, Abigail Lee