The Secret History of Vampires: Their Multiple Forms and Hidden Purposes
Author: Claude Lecouteux
Publisher: Inner Traditions
A look at the forgotten ancestors of the modern-day vampire, many of which have very different characteristics
• Looks at the many ancestoral forms of the modern vampire, including shroud eaters, appesarts, and stafi
• Presents evidence for the reality of this phenomenon from pre-19th-century newspaper articles and judicial records
Of all forms taken by the undead, the vampire wields the most powerful pull on the modern imagination. But the countless movies and books inspired by this child of the night who has a predilection for human blood are based on incidents recorded as fact in newspapers and judicial archives in the centuries preceding the works of Bram Stoker and other writers. Digging through these forgotten records, Claude Lecouteux unearths a very different figure of the vampire in the many accounts of individuals who reportedly would return from their graves to attack the living. These ancestors of the modern vampire were not all blood suckers; they included shroud eaters, appesarts, nightmares, and the curious figure of the stafia, whose origin is a result of masons secretly interring the shadow of a living human being in the wall of a building under construction. As Lecouteux shows, the belief in vampires predates ancient Roman times, which abounded with lamia, stirges, and ghouls. Discarding the tacked together explanations of modern science for these inexplicable phenomena, the author looks back to another folk belief that has come down through the centuries like that of the undead: the existence of multiple souls in every individual, not all of which are able to move on to the next world after death.
Author: Kathryn A. Edwards
Publisher: Truman State University
Bringing together scholars from Europe, America, and Australia, this volume explores the more fantastic elements of popular religious belief: ghosts, werewolves, spiritualism, animism, and of course, witchcraft. These traditional religious belief and practices are frequently treated as marginal in more synthetic studies of witchcraft and popular religion, yet Protestants and Catholics alike saw ghosts, imps, werewolves, and other supernatural entities as populating their world. Embedded within notarial and trial records are accounts that reveal the integration of folkloric and theological elements in early modern spirituality. Drawing from extensive archival research, the contributors argue for the integration of such beliefs into our understanding of late medieval and early modern Europe.
Author: Jane P. Davidson
Publisher: Praeger (January 6, 2012)
The dark side of early modern European culture could be deemed equal in historical significance to Christianity based on the hundreds of books that were printed about the topic between 1400 and 1700. Famous writers and artists like William Shakespeare and Albrecht Dürer depicted the dark side in their work, and some of the first printed books in Europe were about witches. The pervasive representation of these monsters and apparitions in period literature, folklore, and art clearly reflects their power to inspire fear and superstition, but also demonstrates how integral they were to early modern European culture. This unique book addresses topics of the supernatural within the context of the early modern period in Europe, covering “mythical” entities such as devils, witches, ghosts, poltergeists, and werewolves in detail and examining how they fit in with the emerging new scientific method of the time. This unique combination of cultural studies for the period is ideal for undergraduate students and general readers.
Author: Sasha Handley
Publisher: Pickering & Chatto Ltd
This book describes the haunting of eighteenth-century England. It is the first in-depth study of the production, circulation and consumption of English ghost stories during the Age of Reason. This period saw the establishment of the ghost story as a literary genre. Handley combines close textual analysis with a broad conception of historical change. She examines a variety of mediums: ballads and chapbooks, newspapers, sermons, medical treatises and scientific journals, novels and plays. She relates the telling of ghost stories to wider changes associated with the Enlightenment, arguing that they played a key role in battles against atheism, republicanism, material excess and secularisation.
Author: Michael Cox
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
The Victorians excelled at telling ghost stories. In an age of rapid scientific progress, the idea of a vindictive past able to reach out and violate the present held a special potential for terror. Throughout the nineteenth century, fictional ghost stories developed in parallel with the more general Victorian fascination with death and what lay beyond it. Though they were as much a part of the cultural and literary fabric of the age as imperial confidence, the best of the stories still retain their original power to surprise and unsettle.
In Victorian Ghost Stories, the editors map out the development of the ghost story from 1850 to the early years of the twentieth century and demonstrate the importance of this form of short fiction in Victorian popular culture. As well as reprinting stories by supernatural specialists such as J. S. Le Fanu and M. R. James, this selection emphasizes the key role played by women writers–including Elizabeth Gaskell, Rhoda Broughton, and Charlotte Riddell–and offers one or two genuine rarities. Other writers represented include Charles Dickens, Henry James, Wilkie Collins, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and R. L. Stevenson. There is also a fascinating Introduction and a chronological list of ghost story collections from 1850 to 1910.