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 itin reality or in fiction.
Dundes (The Walled-Up Wife, Univ. of Wisconsin, 1996) presents a collection of essays by renowned folklorists (Friedrich Krauss, Juliette du Boulay, Paul Barber, and others) in an attempt to explain and define the tradition of the vampire outside the context of literature and legend. He begins with essays discussing the etymology of the term vampire and its history and ethnography. More in-depth essays follow, with analyses of Romanian and other Slavic vampire folklore. One work treating forensic pathology attempts to explain how "folk" might easily see the natural process of bodily decomposition as vampirism. Another discusses the psychology of clinical vampirism, and a final essay by the editor, with an admitted Freudian bias, tries to weave together the strands of legend and reality. Recommended for academic and public libraries with strong folklore collections but also valuable as a literary companion.--Katherine K. Koenig, Ellis Sch., Pittsburgh