Monday, January 25, 2010

Q & A with Martin V. Riccardo, Part 2

Continued from here:
AH: You wrote the first multimedia vampire bibliography in 1983, Vampires Unearthed. Considering the dearth of works that have appeared since then, would you consider publishing an updated edition?

MVR: Since the Internet now offers an overabundance of information on any subject, I have not felt any need to put out an updated version. My friend J. Gordon Melton has also done a magnificent job in providing vampire bibliographies and filmographies in the body of his books and their appendicies.

AH: In light of your bibliographic background, what works do you recommend as essential for anyone with an interest in vampire studies and why?

MVR: The one book I have found most useful in my study of vampires is The Vampire in Europe by Montague Summers. First published in 1929, it has been reprinted in recent decades sometimes with a different title.

From his extensive research in the library of the British Museum, Summers assembled every recorded account of vampires he could find in old European stories and folklore. This book provides a good overview of how the vampire was originally perceived by those who actually believed that this creature existed.

AH: Your most recent book-length work was 1996's Liquid Dreams of Vampires. Why are there such large gaps between your books? As to its topic, what was it about vampire dreams that you hoped to find out? What is the significance of dreaming about vampires?

MVR: When I write and article or book, it is simply because I have something to say or an opportunity to share something. There may be periods when there is nothing I want to get across.

In some ways, Liquid Dreams of Vampires was my magnum opus. It gave me the opportunity to explore the many dimensions of the vampire that people are attracted to. Using the dreams and fantasies that people sent me, it became quite easy to connect the dots.

In many ways the appeal of the vampire is on a subconscious level, and dreams afford an opportunity to access these inner subconscious drives and motivations. As I say in the book, "Vampires are the stuff that dreams are made of."

AH: Why do you think Meyer's Twilight series has enjoyed such an unprecedented level of popularity? Many other vampire-teen-romance novels were published previously, so why did hers take off? Do you think its success will push vampire scholarship into the mainstream?

MVR: I doubt if anyone knows why one author is able to touch a chord in millions of readers. One aspect is characters that people relate to, another is good writing and interesting stories.

When Bela Lugosi played Dracula in the 1930 Universal film, that created a wave of interest in vampires that continues to this day.

The vampire novels of Anne Rice also had massive popularity. In future years something else will surpass the Twilight craze. The dark archetype of the vampire will always find new expressions that tap into repressed human longing and desire.

College level courses on vampires have been around for decades, and will continue to grow. I believe that vampire scholarship has been in the mainstream for some time. Vampires are out of the coffin, and there is no way to push them back in.
I'd like to take the time to thank Martin for his generous contribution to this blog. You can read some more about his background in vampire and paranormal studies here.

There's also a MySpace group (non-affiliated) dedicated to him, which you can join.

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