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216 × 138 × 17 mm
240 pages
50 illustrations
01 Oct 2008
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From Demons to Dracula The Creation of the Modern Vampire Myth Matthew Beresford

In blood-soaked lore handed down the centuries, the vampire is a monster of endless fascination: from Bram Stoker’s Dracula to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this seductive lover of blood haunts popular culture and inhabits our darkest imaginings. The history of the vampire is a compelling tale that is now documented in From Demons to Dracula, which reveals why the vampire myth and this creature of the undead fascinates us.

Beresford’s chronicle roams from the mountains of Eastern Europe, to the foggy streets of Victorian England, to Hollywood film, as he investigates the portrayal of the vampire in history, literature and art. Investigating the historical Dracula, Vlad the Impaler, and his status as a national hero in Romania, Beresford endeavours to winnow out truths from the complex legend and folklore. From Demons to Dracula tracks the evolution of the vampire, drawing on classical Greek and Roman myths, witch trials and medieval plagues, Gothic literature and even contemporary works such as Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire and Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian.

Beresford also looks at the widespread impact of screen vampires from television shows, classic movies starring Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee, and more recent films such as Underworld and Blade. Whether as a demon of the underworld or a light-fearing hunter of humans, the vampire has endured through the centuries, the book reveals, as a powerful symbolic figure for human concerns with life, death and the afterlife. Wide-ranging and engrossing, From Demons to Dracula casts this bloodthirsty nightstalker as a remarkably complex and telling totem of our nightmares, real and imagined.

‘The vampire of antiquity was a ghost, who became enfleshed as the revenant, the ghoul then, particularly in eastern Europe, it turned into a blood-sucker. Under the ministrations of western novelists, he pupated into the seductive, cape-wearing aristocrat of modern myth. This process Matthew Beresford delineates with great clarity . . . fascinating.’ — Independent on Sunday

‘Aficionados of vampire culture will probably find little to surprise them in this fascinating study, but the rest of us will remain gripped throughout . . . This is a fun study but it's also, as Beresford says, a study in our fears, and ultimately, our fear of death.’ — The Herald, Glasgow

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Matthew Beresford is a consultant archaeologist specializing in community archaeology, education and research based in Nottinghamshire. He is author of From Demons to Dracula: The Creation of the Modern Vampire Myth (Reaktion, 2008).

1  The Ancient World: Origins of the Vampire
2  The Vampire in Prehistory: Early Ideas on Death and Burial
3  Historical Roots: The Vampire in the Middle Ages
4  Vampiric Haunts #1: Transylvania, Romania
5  The Historical Dracula: Vlad III Tepes
6  From Myth to Reality: The Vampire of Folklore
7  A Fiend is Born: The Vampire in Literature
8  Vampiric Haunts #2: Whitby, North Yorkshire, England
9  Phantasmagoria: The Modern Vampire
10 Vampiric Haunts #3: Highgate Cemetery, London, England
Conclusion: A Dark Reflection of Human Society?
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Photo Acknowledgements