Upcoming Books #2

“Upcoming Books” is series in which I discuss non-fiction vampire books I haven’t read—because they haven’t been released yet. To view the previous instalment, click here.

Before we continue, a few notes. Firstly, I’ve (sort of) restored the formatting used in my Blogger blog’s last instalment of “Upcoming Books”. I think it makes the post much more readable.

Second, I’ve avoided author-date referencing to give it better flow—otherwise, all the titling would get too cumbersome. I’ll save that for my usual blog posts.

Third, this instalment has given me an idea which I’ll share with you later. In the meantime, here’s what I’ve recently stumbled upon while trawling through Amazon.co.uk:

January 2014

Vampires / Rebecca Felix

Clocking in at a massive 48 pages, this one’s for the kiddies. It’s part of some “Creatures of Legend” series and features Bela Lugosi on the cover. Like many vampire books do. Don’t have much to say about it, apart from that.

January 1, 2014

The Twilight Saga: Exploring the Global Phenomenon / Claudia Bucciferro (ed.)

Now that the Twilight thing’s died down, we’re left with books like this to sift through the ashes. The “Global Phenomenon” does intrigue me: why did this series catch on at the expense of many, many other vampire novels? Hell, even it’s vampire love-triangle angle had already been done in the early 90s by L. J. Smith’s “Vampire Diaries” series—but wasn’t anywhere near as successful.

The listing on its publisher site, Scarecrow Press, features a table of contents with a few items jumping out at me. Claudia Bucciferro’s “Mythic Themes, Archetypes, and Metaphors: The Foundations of Twilight’s Cross-Cultural Appeal” is one. Victoria Godwin’s “Twilight Anti-fans: “Real” Fans and “Real” Vampires” is another. It could be worth my while. But it’s not cheap, either: $60.00. Dammit, why do academic books have to be so damn expensive? (But nothing compared to the entry in “Update”, found at the bottom of this post).

Sidenote: this book may be available sooner rather than later. Its publisher listing mentions it’ll be released in “December 2013”.

March 31, 2014

Vampires are Us: Understanding Our Love Affair with the Immortal Dark Side / Margot Adler

The title makes it sound almost like a cross between Rosemary Ellen Guiley’s Vampires Among Us (1991) and Nina Auerbach’s Our Vampires, Ourselves (1995)—both classic vampire works in their own right, but the latter is arguably much more influential. In fact, Auerbach’s book is mentioned on its Red Wheel/Weiser Books’ publisher listing:

“Every society creates the vampire it needs,” wrote the scholar Nina Auerbach. Adler’s book explores how vampires have existed in culture throughout history and how our obsession has continued to grow.

I somehow doubt it’ll reach the heights of Auerbach’s book, though, but you never know. That said, it doesn’t seem much different from many other studies dedicated to understanding the public’s fixation on vampires:

Dracula was written in 19th century England when there was fear of outsiders and of disease seeping in through England’s large ports. Dracula, an Eastern European monster, was the perfect vehicle for those fears. But who are the vampires we need now? In the last four decades, going back to Dark Shadows, we have created a very different vampire: the conflicted, struggling-to-be-moral-despite-being-predators vampire. Spike and Angel, Stefan and Damon, Bill and Eric, the Cullens who are all struggling to be moral despite being predators, as are we. Perhaps Vampires are us.

Or perhaps not. But doesn’t that sound like something you’ve read a gajillion times before? It does to me. However, the listing does suggest a personal angle, which could set it apart from the rest:

Starting as a meditation on mortality after the illness and death of her husband, Margot Adler read more than 260 vampire novels, from teen to adult, from gothic to modern, from detective to comic.

May 15, 2014

The Twilight of the Gothic: Vampire Fiction and the Rise of the Paranormal Romance / Joseph Crawford

“Twilight” and “Paranormal Romance” are a bit of a giveaway to the book’s content. And if it’s not, the garish, sparkly vampire on the cover will be:

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Ugh. Nonetheless, its scope could prove interesting. I’m a sucker for niches. Not necessarily the niche itself, but coverage of it. The book’s Amazon.co.uk listing says it

explores the history of the paranormal romance genre; from its origins in the revisionist horror fiction of the 1970s, via its emergence as a minor sub-genre of romantic fiction in the early 1990s, to its contemporary expansion in recent years into an often-controversial genre of mainstream fiction. Tracing the genre from its roots in older Gothic fiction written by and for women, it explores the interconnected histories of Gothic and romantic fiction, from Ann Radcliffe and Jane Austen in the eighteenth century to Buffy, Twilight, True Blood and The Vampire Diaries in the present day. In doing so, it investigates the extent to which the post-Twilight paranormal romance really does represent a break from older traditions of Gothic fiction – and just what it is about the genre that has made it so extraordinarily divisive, captivating millions of readers whilst simultaneously infuriating and repelling so many others.

May 19, 2014

Die Polen und ihre Vampire: Studien zur Kritik der Phantasmen / Maria Janion

Google Translate renders it “The Poles and Their Vampires: Studies on the Critique of Phantasms”, suggesting it covers a region often neglected by vampire studies—a notable exception being Daniel J. Wood’s Realm of the Vampire: History and the Undead (2011).

However, I suspect this may merely be a German translation of Janion’s Polish book, Wampir. Biografia symboliczna (2002; 2008). Further info (if you can read German) is available from its publisher, Suhrkamp / Insel.

June 15, 2014

Transylvanian Vampires: Folktales of the Living Dead Retold / Adriana Groza

This title immediately reminds me of Mihai I. Spariosu and Dezso Benedek’s Ghosts, Vampires, and Werewolves: Eerie Tales from Transylvania (1994), which was geared toward a juvenile audience. However, this book will be published by McFarland, whose works tend to have a scholarly bent.

That said, the “Retold” bit puts me on edge. Its publisher listing—which says it’ll be released in “Spring/Summer 2014″—elaborates:

This book consists of 21 narratives created by the author, developed from the brief accounts recorded by local amateur anthropologists and cultural historians from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The goal is to capture the major themes found in the existing sources, retrieving the narrative thread and bringing the stories back to life.”

This book consists of 21 narratives created by the author, developed from the brief accounts recorded by local amateur anthropologists and cultural historians from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The goal is to capture the major themes found in the existing sources, retrieving the narrative thread and bringing the stories back to life.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but that sounds suspiciously like the embellished narratives Herbert Mayo etched into his coverage of the Arnod Paole case. Why’s that a bad thing? Because other authors relying on Mayo’s work went onto reproduce those “flourishes” as factual elements of the case. Montague Summers, a writer highly-regarded in vampirology, was one of ’em—as are other authors who’ve depended on Summers’ work, in kind. And so, the bullshit spreads.

If Groza’s written what I think she has, McFarland should label her book “fiction.” After all, if it’s also taken at face value by other writers, it’ll set off its own Mayo effect. And goodness knows, we don’t need more stuff like that muddying the waters.

But it’s all speculation at this point. I won’t make any authoritative statements until I’ve actually read it—however, its description makes me less inclined to do so.

August 19, 2014

Vampires: A Hunter’s Guide / Steve White

I’m guessing this’ll be another one of those vampire hunting field guides, which mingle folklore with literature/film/TV depictions. And it’ll possibly be for a juvenile audience, too: it’s 80 pages long. The most interesting thing I’ve noticed about it? It’ll be released by Osprey, best-known for publishing military history books. Certainly an unusual addition to their output.

Update

I mentioned Undead Memory: Vampires and Human Memory in Popular Culture in the previous instalment of “Upcoming Books”. I only had a listing on the Library of Congress catalogue and Academia.edu to work with at the time. I’ve since uncovered more information about it.

Amazon.co.uk says it’ll be published on December 10, 2013, whereas its publisher—Peter Lang—says it’ll be released in “2014”. According to both sites, the book is co-edited by Simon Bacon and Katarzyna Bronk. The publisher listing reveals its foreword was written by Christopher Frayling, author of The Vampyre: Lord Ruthven to Count Dracula (1978; rev. Vampyres: Lord Byron to Count Dracula, 1991).

The publisher listing elaborates on the book’s subject matter:

Vampires have never been as popular in Western culture as they are now: Twilight, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries and their fans have secured the vampire’s place in contemporary culture. Yet the role vampires play in how we remember our pasts and configure our futures has yet to be explored. The present volume fills this gap, addressing the many ways in which vampire narratives have been used to describe the tensions between memory and identity in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

The listing also features a table of contents. The essay I’m most intrigued by is Leo Ruickbie’s “Memento (non)mori: Memory, Discourse and Transmission during the Eighteenth-Century Vampire Epidemic and After.”

Ruickbie, author of A Brief Guide to the Supernatural (2012), is proving to be an expert on 18th century vampire reports: he also contributed “Evidence for the Undead: The Role of Medical Investigation in the 18th-Century Vampire Epidemic” to The Universal Vampire: Origins and Evolution of a Legend (2013), edited by Barbara Brodman and James E. Doan.

I’d consider buying Undead Memory for his contribution alone—if it wasn’t for the book’s price: €80.30 (US$ 97.95). Yikes.

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One thought on “Upcoming Books #2

  1. Pingback: Upcoming Books #3 | The Vampirologist

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