Wednesday, June 3, 2009

When Did Vampires Enter the English Language?

Dan's "Vampire (L’amour de l’étymologie IX)" blog entry for Librari[d]an, would have you believe this:
The word was first used in English in 1734: “These Vampyres are supposed to be the Bodies of deceased Persons, animated by evil Spirits, which come out of the Graves, in the Night-time, suck the Blood of many of the Living, and thereby destroy them.”
Dan is clearly citing an extract from the anonymously-written The Travels of three English Gentlemen, from Venice to Hamburgh, being the grand tour of Germany in the year 1734.

This work was not published until 1744, in which it was included in an anthology called the Harleian Miscellany. You can view in the 1810 edition of the Harleian Miscellany here.

The quotation Dan provides, is an English translation of an extract from Johann Heinrich Zopf's Dissertatio de Vampyris Serviensibus (1733).

However, two years prior to Travels, the term had already appeared in English.

The March 11, 1732 issue of The London Journal carried a story about the infamous - and alleged - vampire, "Arnold Paul":
Upon a current Report, that in the Village of Medreyga certain Dead Bodies (called here Vampyres) had killed several Persons by sucking out all their Blood[...]
Jean Marigny's Vampires: The World of the Undead (London: Thames and Hudson, 1994), p. 48, also cites The London Journal article as responsible for the word's introduction into the English language.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails