Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Überall etwas von denen Blut-Saugern

In his critical review of the contemporary vampire debate, Michael Ranft writes that at the Easter fair in Leipzig in 1732 there were books on bloodsuckers in every book shop ('...wenn man an der letztwichenen Leipziger Oster-Messe in einen Buchladen gieng, man überall etwas von denen Blut-Saugern zu Gesichte bekam.' P. 179 in Traktat von dem Kauen und Schmatzen der Todten from 1734).

That is certainly not the case in 2008. In fact, the photo below shows the closest I got to a collection of books on 'blood suckers' in any book store in Leipzig. And in 1732, no one would have connected vampires with bats, as it wasn't until a few decades later that Count de Buffon wrote of the vampire bat ('We shall call it Vampire, because it sucks the blood of men and other animals when asleep, without occasioning pain sufficient to waken them.') in his Histoire naturelle. Love at first bite (as it says on the bat) would hardly be a term used in the connection with the revenants and masticating dead that Ranft was writing about.

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