Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Note on Amateurs

I've been made the subject of a thread on TFO's MSN Group, DAWWIH.

Message 1 in the thread is covered elsewhere, so I'll respond to Message 2 in this post.

First we begin with TFO's comments about labeling myself an amateur vampirologist:
Anthony Hogg describes himself as an "amateur vampirologist" with the nickname "tnuocalucard" which, of course, spells Count Dracula backwards. I am beginning to understand why he terms himself "amateur" in the vampirological stakes!
Allow me to explain why I refer to myself as an amateur vampirologist.

Firstly, a vampirologist is someone who studies vampires. This doesn't mean they go about prying open coffin lids and such, it means they take a scholarly, academic bent to the subject in question.

I consider myself to be an amateur because even though I've been studying the topic for some years, I've never had anything formally published on it.

The use of "tnuocalucard" (yes, Count Dracula backwards) in one of my Amazon accounts wasn't a reference to being an amateur, but a bit of an in-joke. It was the name of a character featured in a small play I wrote as an assignment for one of my high school subjects. I hope that clarifies things for TFO.

That said, I'm rather amused by TFO's gloating over my use of the term "amateur", considering that I've exposed him as a blatant plagiarist. Not bad for an "amateur", eh?

Niels K. Petersen, a Danish vampirologist, has also revealed the same thing.

So, going by the dictionary definition, not only can we dismiss TFO as an amateur ("1. a person who engages in a study, sport, or other activity for pleasure rather than for financial benefit or professional reasons") but also as a vampirologist, in one fell swoop.

Next, TFO decides to discuss links to me on Amazon, as well as an criticism of my list, "The Complete Vampirologist's Library":
Anthony Hogg's list of vampire books (including his reviews of same) omit any mention of The Highgate Vampire, The Vampire Hunter's Handbook and Carmel. I wonder why? Perhaps they are not suitable material for "amateur vampirologists"?
I find this is a rather daft criticism - especially considering the vast amount of books available on the subject - but I'll respond to it, nonetheless.

At the time of composing that list a few years ago, I hadn't read any of those books. I gave mention to the ones I had read.

Admittedly, it was a bit premature calling the list "Complete", but I think it still holds up well. I might even write a follow-up some day.

That said, I have since read the first edition of The Highgate Vampire (1985).

And I still wouldn't add it to the list.

I've yet to read The Vampire Hunter's Handbook (1997), but I'd be surprised if the 96 page tome would have anything of much use, considering the reviews it's received. Like this one from Amazon member, Cupcakedoll:
This is a very thin book.

A short section is about hunting vampires.

The rest is the author arguing against the ideas of another group at the time. It wasn't much interest or use to me so I was glad I got it by interlibrary loan before I spent any money.

As to Carmel (2000), dubbed a "sequel" to Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897), I don't quite see the correlation in it being valuable for vampire research. Especially considering that it's a work of fiction.

You should also know that it's not wise to purely rely on books written by a single author. However, it's nice and "convenient" that each of the Sean Manchester book covers you reproduced, all lead to sites affiliated to the Vampire Research Society's website...where they're offered for sale.

Are there any other books in the field that you'd recommend? Ones that aren't written by Manchester?

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