Saturday, 21 November 2009

Romancing the Vampire

I was quite surprised when I went to the post office earlier today to fetch a new vampire book I had ordered, because I received a large parcel. However, when I had unpacked it, it really was no surprise because Romancing the Vampire: From Past to Present by David J. Skal is quite an unusual book about vampires.

Mind you, it's mostly about fictional vampires as one might expect, but it's a large format book illustrated throughout and it has extra 'goodies' added: post cards, reproductions of book covers, poems, posters, even a vampire mask and a fake tattoo that you can use to 'impress your friends' :-)

Skal is well-known as an author of numerous books on fictional vampires as well as the horror genre in general, and he is also a prominent commentator and documentarist on various DVD editions of e.g. Universal's horror movies from the 1930's and 1940's. He is in particular the author of Hollywood Gothic, one of the best and carefully researched books on Dracula's transition from novel to motion picture.

In Romancing the Vampire, he traces the vampire in its various guises in fiction and popular culture over the past more than 200 years. In that respect, it is an excellent introduction to the subject as well as a delightful treasure trove for anyone interested in the subject. It should amuse both young and mature readers and will probably be a welcome gift under many a christmas tree this year.

For those of us who are particularly interested in the vampires and vampire debate of the 17th and 18th century, it is as weak as one would sadly expect. Which is a bit sad, because the format would lend itself nicely to include a translation of the Visum et Repertum and other texts from that period. 'Arnold Paole', however, does get a mention, and the cover of Dom Calmet's Dissertation is included.

But there are still many things to explore in the book, and as it is reasonably priced (just $49.95), this is an ideal christmas present to any Twilight or horror fan you may know, and I am sure a lot of you will have fun getting a copy for yourself at the same time.

Click on the photos to have a closer look.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Wow, this looks amazing. Have to put this on my wishlist right away. Christmas is coming after all:)

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