Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The Land Beyond the Forest

'More decidedly evil, however, is the vampire, or nosferatu, in whom every Romanian peasant believes as firmly as he does in heaven or hell.'

Thus according to author Emily Gerard in an article on Transylvanian Superstitions in The Nineteenth Century in 1885. Her later book on her travels in Transylvania, The Land Beyond the Forest: Facts, Figures, and Fancies from Transylvania will be republished in two volumes by Cambridge Library Collection this November:

'Novelist Emily Gerard (1849–1905) went with her husband, an officer in the Austrian army, to Transylvania for two years in 1883. Then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, today a region of Western Romania, Transylvania was little known to readers back in England. Fascinated by the country, Gerard still found it an isolated and alienating place. In the years following, she wrote this full-length account (first published in 1888) as well as several articles on the region, which Bram Stoker used when researching the setting for Dracula. With humour and compassion she describes her encounters with the different nationalities that made up the Transylvanian people: Romanians, Saxons and gypsies. Full of startling anecdotes and written in a novelistic style, her work combines her personal recollections with a detailed account of the landscape, people, superstitions and customs.'

Anthony Hogg, by the way, has recently written a bit about the word nosferatu on his blog.

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