Monday, February 1, 2010

Not Tieck's Vampire

I was inspired to write this entry by Andrew's latest movie review.

"Wake Not the Dead" (c. 1800) is a short story commonly attributed to German Romanticist, Johann Ludwig Tieck (1773 - 1853). Its importance to the genre is enhanced by the fact that it preceded John Polidori's "The Vampyre" (1819) by nearly 20 years.

Or so we thought.

Recent studies have revealed that Tieck wasn't actually the author of the story. That credit is now going to Ernst Benjamin Salomo Raupach (1784-1852).

I'm not sure if Rob Brautigam, a Dutch vampirologist, was the first to uncover this point of attribution, but his comment on the matter was certainly the first reference I've seen (it was incorporated to this review).

The attribution is also elaborated in "Relato Gotico/Vampirismo: Deja a los Muertos en Paz - Avances Programa Nº 425 (21/11/09)" (English translation here) and Heide Crawford has composed a paper for the 2010 Kentucky Foreign Language Conference.

As she and the other articles reveal, not only was Tieck not the author of the story, but it was actually first published in 1823.

Here's what she has to say on the matter, also revealing a possible source of the error:
When Theodor Hildebrandt published the first German vampire novel Der Vampir oder die Todtenbraut in 1828, he was contributing to a long tradition of literary representations of the vampire in European poetry and prose that began with Heinrich August Ossenfelder's poem "Der Vampir" in 1748. Two years before Hildebrandt published his vampire novel, the popular dramatist Ernst Benjamin Salomo Raupach (1784-1852) had published the vampire story "Lasst die Todten ruhen" (1823), which has been erroneously attributed to Ludwig Tieck by American and British scholars of Gothic Horror literature since at least 1973 when Peter Haining published the English translation, "Wake Not the Dead" in his volume two of his Gothic Horror anthology Gothic Tales of Terror and named Tieck as the author.
I should note that "Relato" cites Popular Tales and Romances of the Northern Nations (1823) as the source of the error.

But, Tieck does have a saving grace: Crawford attributes the "earliest known German prose work that features a female vampire" to him, in the shape of his 1812 story, "Liebeszauber".

And thus, Tieck's place in the vampire genre is still solid. Even if it's for a completely different story.

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