Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Not Quite Dormant

Bruce A. McClelland, author of Slayers and Their Vampires: A Cultural History of Killing the Dead (2006) is next in line for my Q & A series, so stay tuned for that.


In the meantime, here's a little something I came across not long ago: a call for papers to an upcoming conference on vampires, called "Open Graves, Open Minds: Vampires and the Undead in Modern Culture":
The aim of the conference is to relate the undead in literature, art, and other media to questions concerning gender, technology, consumption, and social change. It will provide an interdisciplinary forum for the development of innovative and creative research and examine these creatures in all their various manifestations and cultural meaning.
It'll be held at the University of Hertfordshire, in the UK, on April 16-18.


Yesterday, I finished reading Mark Collins Jenkins' Vampire Forensics: Uncovering the Origins of an Enduring Legend (Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2010), which I briefly discussed here.

With hindsight, I may have been a little hard on the book in my first assessment. For starters, I wasn't aware, at the time, that it had a notes section (277-287) to cover the source material of the chapters. This was because there are no footnotes throughout in the primary the text. I presume they weren't included to make the narrative flow more smoothly. But, of course, for the scholar, this can frustrating for cross-referencing purposes.

Interestingly, the coverage given to vampires proper, is relatively slim. The majority of the book seems to concern itself with funerary rites, burial practices and scraps of folklore from around the world, to give broader context for the vampire belief.

The range of sources (288-296) consulted for the book is fairly diverse and interesting, but also means that the book tends to lose sight of its vampire focus. I would've preferred the Slavic angle to be given much bigger scope than the treatment it got. For this aspect, I simply need to revert to the works of Perkowski, Barber and McClelland, which made the book a little redundant for me.

That's not to say it's not well-written, mind you. It certainly is. Collins has a rich prose and unites seemingly divergent threads under a single banner, but that doesn't cut it for me. Not when it comes to the undead. Especially with a book called Vampire Forensics.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails