Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Upcoming books 5

For the previous instalment, click here. This latest round-up pleases me greatly: it seems there's a shift toward academic vampire works. As there bloody well should be! If I was to pick a theme, I'd say they embody the vampire's formative process. Take a look-see.

30 November 2012

The Twilight mind: Twilight saga psychology skills / Julie-Anne Sykley

Amazon says the book was already released on 16 November, but the publisher site gives the 30 November date. Take your pick. According the publisher site, 'The Twilight Saga is not just a vampire tale. It is a powerful psychological thriller about deep desire, self-discovery defying misery and achieving happiness against all odds.' I'll bet. I do wonder how many more Twilight tomes will be released in the wake of the series' final (?) film instalment, Breaking dawn–part 2. I'm guessing they'll start drying up.

Also, good to see this one's written by a fellow Australian. There are very few in the non-fiction vampire book stakes. Only Ken Gelder and David Keyworth spring to mind.

24 December 2012

Transnational and postcolonial vampires: dark blood / Tabish Khair & Johan Höglund (eds)

To all intents and purposes, an academic vampire work with an ethnic flavour. The book's description is a bit of a mouthful, though: 'Transnational and Postcolonial Vampires is a unique and timely collection that examines the past and present vampire narrative as a postcolonial and transnational phenomenon. Through a series of important contributions by well-known scholars in the field, it illustrates how vampires have mapped and continues to map the fear of the Other, the ravenous hunger of Empires and the transcultural rifts and intercultural common grounds that make up global society today.' Sure, ok. Nonetheless, it does sound intriguing.

8 January 2013

The modern vampire and human identity / Deborah Mutch (ed.)

Going by the book's description–'The essays offer readings of the modern vampire as a complex consideration of our modern human selves. Now that we no longer see the vampire as essentially evil, what does that say about us?'–it sounds Mutch has followed in the footsteps lead by Nina Auerbach's 1995 book, Our vampires, ourselves.

1 February 2013

The rise of the vampire / Erik Butler

Though not stated in its description, I can't help wondering if this book serves as a sequel to Metamorphoses of the vampire in literature and film: cultural transformations in Europe, 1732-1933 (2010). If it's anything like that one, get it. Butler knows his stuff when it comes to the undead.

It's published by Reaktion Books, the same guys behind Matthew Beresford's popular 2008 book, From demons to Dracula: the creation of the modern vampire myth.

4 April 2013

Who was Dracula?: Bram Stoker's trail of blood / Jim Steinmeyer

This book says it will be 'Hunting through archives and letters, literary and theatrical history, and the relationships and events that gave shape to Stoker’s life, Steinmeyer reveals the people and stories behind the Transylvanian legend . . . he shows how Stoker drew on material from the careers of literary contemporaries Walt Whitman and Oscar Wilde; reviled personas such as Jack the Ripper and the infamous fifteenth-century prince Vlad Tepes'–which, as anyone who's familiar with Elizabeth Miller's work will know, sounds a helluva lot like literary guesswork. We'll see.

Monday, 19 November 2012

The not-so-original cameo

I was having a browse through Facebook earlier today, when I noticed something shared on my friend's wall:


I immediately recognised the image–as I'm sure many of you probably will. Nonetheless, I decided to give its 'creator', Diamond*Star*Halo, the benefit of the doubt and checked out their page listing. Instead of acknowledging of the piece's source, I found this:
This piece is not for the timid. The Succubus slinks across her prey in an ornate, antique silver tone setting full of rhinestones.
This original cameo was designed by me and is not to be replicated in any manner.
It takes a lot of balls to tell other people not to replicate a piece that has been replicated from elsewhere. The image is derived–sorry, I meant ripped-off–from an 1897 painting by Philip Burne-Jones: 

Art of the beautiful-grotesque

 It wasn't called Succubus, either. It's actual name? The vampire. It's very well-known image. It's graced the covers of non-fiction works like Nicolaus Equiamicus' Vampire: Von damals bis(s) heute (2010), Joachim Nagel's Vampire: Mythische Wesen der Nacht and Wolfgang Schwerdt's Vampire, Wiedergänger und Untote. Auf der Spur der lebenden Toten (both 2011).

And Diamond*Star*Halo would've gotten away with it too, if it hadn't been for this pesky vampirologist!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Vampiric strength

The occasional Scott Brown
'This vampire which is amongst us is of himself so strong in person as twenty men,' notes Van Helsing. The vampire's strength is one of its popular characteristics. The trope is upheld in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga.

Does this literary and cinematic device have a folkloric precedent? Actually, it does. S.G.B. St. Clair and Charles A. Brophy discussed the vampiric state of their servant's father, apparently in the early stages of vampirism:
One night he seized by the waist (for vampires are capable of exercising considerable physical force) Kodja Keraz, the Pehlivan or champion wrestler of Derekuoi, crying out, "Now then, old Cherry Tree, see if you can throw me." The village champion put forth all his strength, but the vampire was so heavy that Kodja Keraz broke his own jaw in throwing the invisible being who was crushing him to death.1
That must've looked quite a sight. Interestingly, vampire invisibility is also found in other regions. Vukanović noted 'in the villages of Upper and Lower Srbica, they think that a vampire is only visible to his son Dhampir, to a magician or sorceror, and to nobody else'.2

2. TP Vukanović, 'The vampire (in the belief and customs of the Gypsies in the province of Kosovo-Metohija, Stari Ras and Novopazarski Sandžak, Yugoslavia)', Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society, 3rd ser, vol. 37, no. 3–4, 1958, p. 114.
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