Thursday, March 24, 2011

Evaluating Bane's Book List

I told a commenter that I was planning a write-up on Theresa Bane's 'Vampire research book list', so without further ado, here 'tis.

It's actually quite an interesting list, notable for the non-vampire books amidst the standard (albeit, useful) fare. Thus, we have Clifton D. Bryant's Handbook of death and dying (2 vols., 2003), Collin de Plancy's Dictionnaire Infernal (first published in 1818), Moncure Daniel Conway's Demonology and devil-lore (2 vols., 1879, not '1897'), [R.E.L.] Masters' Eros and evil (1962; Bane lists a 1974 edition), Lewis Spence's Encyclopedia of occultism (first published in 1920), William Arens' The man-eating myth (1980) and Véronique Campion-Vincent's Organ theft legends (2005; translated from Légende des vols d'organes, 1997).

Bane also singles out a Hartl[e]y Burr Alexander's contribution (1917) to The mythology of all races (13 vols., 1916-32), but I'm not 100% on her citation. Might ask her to elaborate on it.

The vampire books she recommends are all sound. However, despite its title, Pëtr Bogatyrëv's Vampires in the Carpathians (1998) has practically nothing to do with vampires, except for a coupla minor mentions. Still, it'd probably be useful in providing a context for the region's folkloric beliefs.

There are a few errors on the list, apart from misspelling Bunson's 1993 book as '[The] Vampire Encycloopedia'. Claude Lecouteux's 1999 work, for instance, was not called 'History of the Vampire', but Histoire des Vampires, autopsie d’un mythe. She probably confused it with its English translation, The secret history of vampires (2010), otherwise it's a bit odd that she didn't provide an English title for Adriene Cremene's 'Mythology du Vampire en Romanine' [sic] (Mythologie du vampire en Roumanie, 1981). Incidentally, I wasn't aware that the later book was published in any language other than French ('hard to find in a language not German'), so she might have the drop on me there.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Maberry's Vampire universe was actually published in 2006, not '1996' . There also seems to be some confusion over the publication date of Ornella Volta's The vampire, which Bane lists as '1963'. Volta's book - originally titled Le vampire : la mort, le sang, la peur - was first published in 1962. To my knowledge, the earliest English translations were published by Tandem Books (London) and Award Books (New York). The latter is undated, but the former was released in 1965.

Bane includes three vampire books by Montague Summers on her list, giving all of them a valued four pound (#) sign and vaunting them as 'MUST READ[s]', even though two of them are the same book. 'The Vampire in Lore and Ledgend [sic]' aka The vampire in lore and legend, is actually Dover Publications' 2001 retitled reprint of Summers' The vampire in Europe (1929).

I don't overly mind that Bane alternately abbreviates the titles of certain books in her list, but referring to Radu Florescu and Raymond T. McNally's Dracula: a biography of Vlad the Impaler, 1431-1476 (1973) as 'Florescu, Radu. “Dracula: A Biography,” 1972' seems a bit too curt.

Other than the issues I've outlined here, Bane's certainly given us an interesting set of resources to work with. It's a nice 'sampler' of diverse contexts, subjects, disciplines and fields we vampire scholars can draw upon, perfectly illustrated in works like Lavery's essay for Slayage.

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