Friday, 14 December 2012

Deciphering sources

As someone only acquainted with the English language, one of the most frustrating things about vampire research is that a lot of the good stuff is written in other languages. 

A perfect example leapt out to me while I was reading the 'Historical note' in James M. B. Lyon's novel, Kiss of the butterfly (2011): 'The Djordjevic book Vampiri i druga bica -- Вампири и друга бића (Vampires and Other Beings) exists and constitutes a veritable treasure trove of Balkan vampire lore' (p. 377).

Djordjevic's work is also recommended by another author well-versed in Balkan vampire lore:
The best general study of vampires in what is now Yugoslavia is T. Djordjević, "Vampir i druga bića u našem narodnom verovanju i predanju," published in the Serbican Academy of Sciences series, Srpski Etnografski Zbornik, knj. LXVI, Second Series "Život i običaji narodni," knj. 30, Beograd, 1953, pp. 149-219.1
'T. Djordjević' is Tihomir Djordjevic–or Tihomir R. Đorđević–depending on which transcription you use. Wait till you get to his name's Serbian Cyrillic spelling: Тихомир Ђорђевић. Yikes.

As it happens, I've tracked down what appears to be the work in question (below)–but I'm left with several quandaries. 

 Firstly, how on earth do I even begin to cite this bastard–little alone be able to read it? 

Second, the date on the first page is given as 1952–but the citation listed (which corresponds with the copy I've found) is given as 1953. What's the deal with that? 

Thirdly, if we follow Fine's reference, we're dealing with an article. An incredibly substantial article, sure–but an article nonetheless. So why does Lyon refer to a book? Is it possible the article was a 'teaser'? Or is the article an extract from a book?

Fourth, much like the work's subject–this appears to have risen from the grave: Djordjević died in 1944. Does that mean the work appeared in an earlier source? Quite possibly. I'll look into it. And, as usual, reader feedback's welcome.

1. JVA Fine, Jr., 'In defense of vampires: Church/State efforts to stop vigilante action against vampires in Serbia during the first reign of Miloš Obrenovic', East European Quarterly, vol. 21, no. 1, 1987, p. 23, n1.

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