Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Bite This!

I've been intermittently reading Kevin Jackson's Bite: A Vampire Handbook (2009). Bought it at a local book stall for $5 on the 10th. 

Anyway, there's a passage which caught my attention: "The word 'vampire' entered the English language in printed form in May 1732, in an article in the Gentleman's Magazine entitled 'Political Vampyres'" (p. 33).

No, it didn't. The article Jackson's referring to is actually an extract from another periodical. Indeed, if the author had actually consulted the Gentleman's Magazine issue, he would've seen its source writ large:

Google Books

Though the article in question is popularly titled "Political Vampyres", that wasn't its original name. It was the title Gentleman's Magazine bestowed upon it. It must've been for convenience, because the original article was untitled:

Eighteenth Century Collections Online

But most importantly, both sources point to an earlier source for the word: the London Journal's 11 March 1732 issue. This is the relevant portion of "Extract of a Private Letter from Vienna":

The issue incorporated a report from "Medreyga in Hungary [sic]" dated "Jan. 7, 1732", detailing a vampiric outbreak in the Serbian village of Medvedja, then under Austro-Hungarian rule. Savvy readers will recognise this as the famous Arnod Paole case.

So, to correct Jackson's assertion, The London Journal 's 11 March 1732 issue was actually responsible for the word's introduction to "the English language in printed form".

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