Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Vampirism in Austria and Prussia

The digital anthology on vampirism on the Kakanien Revisited web site that I mentioned here contains a recent paper by Thomas Bohn on vampirism in Austria and Prussia (Vampirismus in Österreich und Preussen).

In the paper Bohn provides a brief, but clear and noteworthy history of the vampire and magia posthuma from the late 17th century and onwards that reveals an unusually good knowledge of the literature on vampires. Bohn obviously has studied not only the usual sources, but also some of those that are a bit harder to come by (like perhaps the one shown below) and background information on the period. He discusses the development of the vampire and its connection with geography and the construction of an East-West dichotomy, and in short concludes that 'Summa summarum symbolisierte der schillernde Ausdruck "Vampir" in den westlichen Gesellschaften bis zum Ersten Weltkrieg einen clash of civilizations.' Highly recommended reading.

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