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The Vampire

A Casebook

Edited by Alan Dundes

Publication Year: 1998

    Vampires are the most fearsome and fascinating of all creatures of folklore. For the first time, detailed accounts of the vampire and how its tradition developed in different cultures are gathered in one volume by eminent folklorist Alan Dundes. Eleven leading scholars from the fields of Slavic studies, history, anthropology, and psychiatry unearth the true nature of the vampire from its birth in graveyard lore to the modern-day psychiatric patient with a penchant for drinking blood.
    The Vampire: A Casebook takes this legend out of the realm of literature and film and back to its dark beginnings in folk traditions. The essays examine the history of the word “vampire;” Romanian vampires; Greek vampires; Serbian vampires; the physical attributes of vampires; the killing of vampires; and the possible psychoanalytic underpinnings of vampires. Much more than simply a scary creature of the human imagination, the vampire has been and continues to haunt the lives of all those who encounter it—in reality or in fiction.

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press


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pp. v

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pp. vii-viii

The vampire is one of the most fascinating but at the same time fearsome of all the creatures of folklore. Most people are familiar with the vampire through literary novels and short stories as well as a host of films featuring this frightening and loathsome revenant who returns at night from his grave to suck the blood of his hapless victims. But the fact is that the vampire did...

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The History of the Word Vampire

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pp. 3-11

Like the legend of the living dead, so the origin of the word vampire is clouded in mystery. For most readers and authors alike, the vampire is a dark and ominous creature of the woods of Hungary or Transylvania. His name is often believed to be of the same national origin.1 However, both linguistic studies concerning the etymology of the term vampire and the first recorded...

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The Vampire in Roumania

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pp. 12-34

The folklore of vampires is of special interest from the light it throws on primitive ideas about body and soul, and about the relation of the body and soul after death. In Russia, Roumania, and the Balkan states there is an idea--sometimes vague, sometimes fairly definite--that the soul does not finally leave the body and enter into Paradise until forty days after death. It is supposed that...

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The Romanian Folkloric Vampire

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pp. 35-46

For the reader of English literature even a passing reference to the Romanian province of Transylvania is sure to evoke frightening images of vampirism, but most especially Bram Stoker's literary vampire, Count Dracula. Stoker's hero is not solely a creature of his imagination. In fact, he patterned Count Dracula after an actual fifteenth-century Romanian prince, known...

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East European Vampires

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pp. 47-56

The vampire is defined by Jan Perkowski as "a being which derives sustenance from a victim, who is weakened by the experience. The sustenance may be physical or emotional in nature."1 More commonly, however, the term vampire is used in a more restricted sense to denote a type of the dead or, actually, undead. It is a living corpse or soulless body that emerges from...

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In Defense of Vampires

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pp. 57-66

To start a discussion of vampires in Serbia during the first reign of Prince Miloš Obrenović (1815-39) it makes sense to describe how the Serbs of the time saw them. This can best be done by quoting the description of vampires presented by a contemporary Serb, who among his varied talents was a fine ethnographer, Vuk Karadžić:1 A man into whom (according to popular tales) forty days...

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South Slavic Countermeasures against Vampires

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pp. 67-71

About the method and manner of fully destroying a vampire, scholars have given unclear views, even though there is certainly no reason for such differences of opinion. The vampire is a dead person who comes to life during the night-time. So one destroys him just as one would annihilate any living being, namely by killing it, in this case usually either by driving a stake through its body or by...

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The Killing of a a Vampire

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pp. 72-84

A few days ago, in a patriarchal area of Bosnia, an unusual event occurred. In the village Tupanari (in the Vlasenicki jurisdiction), a vampire appeared. When it became intolerable, the peasants gathered, and, more antique, they dug it up from the grave, pierced it with a hawthorn stake, and then burned it. Several Belgrade papers have written about this incident. According to...

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The Greek Vampire: A Study of Cyclic Symbolism in Marriage and Death

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pp. 85-108

The phenomenon of the vampire in Greece, with its unexpected horror and savagery, has been noted by Hellenic scholars from many disciplines, including that of anthropology, but as yet no attempt has been made to form an interpretation of it. In this article I offer an explanation which draws on fieldwork conducted in 1971-73 in Amb

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Forensic Pathology and the European Vampire

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pp. 109-142

The modern reader might assume that the vampires of the eighteenth century were much like the ghosts of today, which exist in a rather murky underworld, far from the haunts of Scientific Method. In actuality, however, as one might gather from Rousseau's remarks, nothing could be further from the truth: a number of "vampires" were actually dissected by surgeons, who...

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Clinical Vampirism: Blending Myth and Reality

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pp. 143-158

In the modern age, vampires have become media stars. Published in 1897, Dracula by Bram Stoker1 made the word vampire a household term. More recently, the vampire trilogy by Anne Rice2 became a bestseller. On the silver screen, W. Murnau's Nosferatu (Prana Films, Berlin, 1992) remains a classic, and a new Dracula movie is periodically released to please today's...

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The Vampire as Bloodthirsty Revenant: A Psychoanalytic Post Mortem

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pp. 159-175

In accordance with a pronounced penchant for the ritual number three, Western folklorists are prone to divide cultural materials into a tripartite classificatory scheme: elite culture, mass or popular culture, and folklore. Sometimes these admittedly somewhat arbitrary categories are mutually exclusive. That is, there are surely literary creations which have no analogs or...


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pp. 179-180


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pp. 181-182

E-ISBN-13: 9780299159238
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299159245

Publication Year: 1998