The Vampire: A Casebook edited by Alan Dundes

Before I begin this review, let me say that all fans of either Bill – whose name is pronounced while simultaneously trilling like an idiot and shivering – or Edward Cullen – whose name is pronounced while sighing dreamily and simultaneously shivering – may stop reading here.  This review is for serious Wild Things. Adolescents who require their vampires spoon-fed to them with sugar, spice, and all things nice need not apply.

Well? All right. Now that the children are gone, the Dragon brings you goodies from she personal collection (hehe).

Alan Dundes (1934-2005) was an internationally known folklorist, who at one time was the professor of anthropology and folklore at the University of California, Berkeley. With The Vampire, he brought together a scholarly collection of eleven essays on vampires that will enlighten you and chill your blood. This informative book begins with an essay on the etymology of vampire by Katharina M. Wilson. The following essays depict the Slavic folklore that sent the vampire cult spreading throughout Eastern Europe and into the West. Vampire tales from Romania, Serbia, and Greece are graphically detailed with legends about this dread revenant.

For example: Did you know that vampires can turn into butterflies, not bats? A stake doesn’t kill a vampire; the Hawthorne stake pins the vampire to their grave so they can wander no more. Within these pages you will find the difference between living vampires and dead vampires, the strigoi and the moroii, in addition to acquiring fascinating insight into death customs of Eastern Europe that prevailed into the early twentieth century.

Untainted by popular cultural misinformation, this slim book is a fascinating journey into the vampire. In the final essay, Dundes, who confesses a definite Freudian bias, attempts to interpret the vampire legend with “The Vampire as Bloodthirsty Revenant: A Psychoanalytic Post Mortem.”

In bringing this magnificent nightmare to life, Dundes has given us a penetrating examination of the vampire, and if we look hard enough, insight into our own fears of death and dying.


My Rating: 

4 thoughts on “The Vampire: A Casebook edited by Alan Dundes

  1. Hi Jonathan,

    If you enjoyed Dundes’ Casebook, then you might also like The Darkling: A Treatise on Slavic Vampirism by Jan Louis Perkowski. Perkowski presents an in depth analysis of the Eastern European folklore surrounding the vampire. The Darkling is highly informative and chilling. An excellent resource on vampire lore.

  2. My name is Piter Jankovich. oOnly want to tell, that your blog is really cool
    And want to ask you: is this blog your hobby?
    P.S. Sorry for my bad english

  3. Hi Piter, thank you for your kind words!

    No, the blog is not our hobby. We’re all lucky, and the blog is a fun part of our jobs. We review books for our library, and sometimes we review items from our personal collections.

    I hope you’ll visit us again!

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