From Corpse Medicine to Vampires

9780415674171Richard Sugg, author of Mummies, Cannibals and Vampires: The History of Corpse Medicine from the Renaissance to the Victorians (2011) is working on a new book, which I’m sure will pique the interest of many vampire enthusiasts. It’s “a two volume history of vampirism, Faces of the Vampire” (Macmillan Publishers Limited 2013).

As far as I know, it’s the first single author, two-volume non-fiction vampire work since Klaus Hamberger’s Mortuus non mordet: kommentierte Dokumente zum Vampirismus 1689–1791 and Über Vampirismus: Krankengeschichten und Deutungsmuster 1801–1899 were published in 1992. Before that? Montague Summers’ The Vampire, His Kith and Kin (1928) and The Vampire in Europe (1929).

Two things excite me about this upcoming book. Firstly, although I haven’t read Mummies, Cannibals and Vampires, I have read an article he wrote for The Lancet (Sugg 2011). And have a scroll through his publications (Department of English Studies 2013): the guy looks like he’s got a good grasp on the pathological aspect of vampirism, an angle mastered by Paul Barber—who wrote one of the best-ever books on vampires, Vampires, Burial, and Death: Folklore and Reality (1988; 2010). Second, the very prospect of a two-volume work by an author of that pedigree suggests a level of comprehensiveness on the subject rarely seen in English language works. Though I admit that academic pedigrees aren’t always a solid guarantee of quality, as attested by Charlotte Montague passing off information from a fictional organisation as fact (Hogg 2011).

I’ll also mention that a point of contention’s been raised with an article Sugg wrote for BBC History Magazine by bshistorian (2013). He took issue with an obscure case Sugg used to justify the connection between vampires and sleep paralysis, due the case’s obvious similarities to the Peter Plogojowitz and Arnod Paole accounts (hint: they were ripped-off). However, bshistorian added, “Note that none of this actually undermines Sugg’s argument that sleep paralysis would have reinforced and even originated incidences of ‘vampirism.'” Let’s hope Sugg can deliver the goods.


bshistorian. 2013. “Peter Dickowitz and the Premature Burial Theory of Vampirism.” The BS Historian (blog), August 25,

Department of English Studies. 2013. “Dr Richard Sugg – All Publications.” Durham University. Accessed August 29, 2013,

Hogg, Anthony. 2011. “The FVZA Is Not a Factual Resource.” Diary of an Amateur Vampirologist (blog), January 29,

Macmillan Publishers Limited. 2013. “The Smoke of the Soul : Richard Sugg : Palgrave Macmillan.” Palgrave Macmillan. Accessed August 29, 2013.

Sugg, Richard. 2011. “The Art of Medicine: Prescientific Death Rites, Vampires, and the Human Soul.” The Lancet 377 (9767): 712–3.


Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. 2013. “Mummies, Cannibals and Vampires: The History of Corpse Medicine from the Renaissance to the Victorians.” Routledge. Accessed August 29, 2013,

6 thoughts on “From Corpse Medicine to Vampires

  1. Pingback: Sleep Paralysis and Vampires | The Vampirologist

    • If it tortures you, it tortures me, too, Erin! At least with this book, I’m not aware of its current state, so I’ve no idea when it’ll be published. But I don’t think I’ve been eagerly anticipating the publication of a book as much as this one! The pressure’s on!

  2. Pingback: From Corpse Medicine to Vampires: A Follow-Up | The Vampirologist

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