Exclusive Interview: Dr. William Irwin, co-editor of True Blood and Philosophy

June 1, 2010 by  

True Blood fever is hitting hard as fans revel in DVDs, books, soundtracks, and trailers all leading up to the June 13th Season 3 premiere.

Amid the recent book releases you will find True Blood and Philosophy: We Wanna Think Bad Things with You, by William Irwin, George Dunn, and Rebecca Housel. The book is a collection of essays exploring philosophical theories through the characters and plot of the HBO series. (You can find a review of this book by TrueBloodNet.com‘s own Isis Nocturne here.)

Dr. Irwin is a philosophy professor at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, PA, the very same school from which I am an alum. Dr. Irwin was nice enough to answer a few questions about his latest book.

>What drew you to make True Blood the next book in your series?

Vampires are all the rage these days, and True Blood is the most philosophically sophisticated vampire fiction out there.

>What do you believe to be the appeal of True Blood?

The idea of living among vampires and peacefully co-existing is certainly intriguing. With its basis in the novels, the show has great characters and story lines to draw on.

>What is the book about and what are some of the areas that the book covers?

The book introduces the reader to some major questions and issues in philosophy by using the show and the novels for examples. Topics covered include: the politics of human-vampire relations, the out-of-the-coffin/out-of-the-closet analogy, the ethics of mindreading, and the metaphysics of the undead.

>Is there something unique about True Blood in comparison to the other books you have written regarding various shows and Philosophy?

Like other topics for books in my series on philosophy and pop culture, True Blood inspires fans to keep talking about the issues it raises long after they turn off the TV. We look for shows and movies that are literate, witty, and insightful. True Blood certainly qualifies.

>Is there a common theme you noticed from writing these particular books?

Many of the topics we choose raise issues of good and evil, and True Blood certainly does that. True Blood, however, more readily raises concerns and issues of social and political philosophy and even metaphysics.

>Do the essays focus primarily on the television show or did anyone look at the books as well? If so how?

The essays consider both the show and the novels. The essays are written in a way that can be followed easily by someone who is only familiar with the show, but they account for the novels as well.

>When looking at the various characters in the show which one strikes a cord with you and why?

Sam resonates with me for some reason. I’ve never wanted to be a vampire, but being a shifter would be cool. And there’s definitely something cool about Sam.

>Will you do a second book on True Blood that will examine other aspects that you didn’t touch on in this book?

If this book is a success, we’ll certainly consider doing another one or a revised edition to keep up with the developments on the show and in the novels.

With the teasers from Season 3, perhaps we can look forward to another edition or two.

True Blood and Philosophy is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.com.

Special thanks to Dr. William Irwin for taking the time to answer these questions.

(Photo Credit: wiley.com)