Thank goodness for Amazon e-mail notifications. The following item popped up in my inbox (“Searching for Dracula in Romania,” Wednesday, 11 June 2014 5:38:35 PM) along with a stack of other books, mostly by Catalin Gruia (see previous instalment of “Overlooked Books”).
October 23, 2013
The Real Dracula: Historical Origins of Bram Stoker’s Vampire / Evelyn Abernathy
I’m not familiar with Abernathy’s other writings, indeed, Amazon lists this as her only book. As of this writing, it’s only available as an ebook for US $3.68. That said, it might be worth your money.
I had a cursory peek through the book’s “Look inside” function and found a surprisingly literate text, balanced overviews—for instance, the section titled “Is there a scientific explanation for vampirism?” is careful to mention conflicting views on the porphyria theory—and most importantly, lots of footnotes, just so you know the author isn’t pulling things out of their ass.
Pre-eminent Dracula scholar, Elizabeth Miller, is also cited throughout the text, indeed, this book has likely been heavily influenced by Miller’s A Dracula Handbook (2005), both sharing the question-answer, myth-dispelling format throughout.
I’m reminded of something Francis Ford Coppola said about making Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), when asked “With all the work you put into the project, why did you call it Bram Stoker’s Dracula?”:
My father had a slogan he always used to tell us, and it’s a good slogan: “Steal from the best.” So I made this film with the guidance of cinema history. (cited in Guiley 1994, 127).
It’s pretty obvious who Abernathy’s guide was, but at least she’s chosen a good one. In fact, it’s on that basis that I’d recommend her book.
It was also good enough for Jonathan Rhys Meyers, the star of NBC’s Dracula (or his publicist) to share on Twitter. The book also has a Facebook page (with 483 likes as of this writing), which you can view here.
Guiley, Rosemary Ellen, with J. B. Macabre. 1994. The Complete Vampire Companion. New York: Macmillan.
Have you written or published a non-fiction vampire book I may not be aware of? Feel free to contact me and I might cover it on this blog.