Saturday, 15 November 2008

The Middle Ages

In the above photo this blogger as a very young man is handed a copy of the late Dan Turèll's book about vampires Alverdens vampyrer (All the world's vampires) by the author himself. Turell (1946-93) was a popular Danish author of essays, crime novels and more who happened to be fascinated by vampires. In a characteristic oratorical manner he talked on this and other subjects, at times dressed in the miniature Dracula cape that he is also seen wearing in the photo. I remember attending a couple of his talks on vampires, but I only chatted and corresponded with him on the subject a couple of times.

Unfortunately, his book on vampires - the first full length book written in Danish on the subject - is far from satisfactory. It is clearly written in his entertaining style, but that is no excuse for not caring about important details. My favourite example is his indiscriminate use of the term 'the Middle Ages', in particular when it is applied to the 18th century!

No doubt, the book has been studied by numerous people interested in the subject, and by pupils writing essays on vampires at school, so it's unfortunate that the book propagates the view that the Middle Ages extended until around 1800!

This year, incidentally, it is 30 years since the first edition of Alverdens vampyrer was published. The photo is not that old, it's from 1983. A second edition was published in 1993.

1 comment:

Nicolas Barbano said...

Perhaps like me Dan Turèll grew up reading the Danish 1910 edition of Victor Hugo's "Notre-Dame de Paris", which due to a printing error places its medieval story in 1842 rather than 1482!

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