Vampires, Burial, and Death: Folklore and Realityby Paul Barber
Pub. Date: 07/28/1990
Publisher: Yale University Press
In this engrossing book, Paul Barber surveys centuries of folklore about vampires and offers the first scientific explanation for the origins of the vampire legends. From the tale of a sixteenth-century shoemaker from Breslau whose ghost terrorized everyone in the city, to the testimony of a doctor who presided over the exhumation and dissection of a graveyard full of Serbian vampires, his book is fascinating reading.
- Yale University Press
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- 6.14(w) x 9.24(h) x 0.65(d)
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In Vampires, Burial, and Death, Barber differentiates between vampires of folklore and those of popular fiction (with a very strong emphasis on those of folklore). He proposes that the folklore of vampires arose due to people’s fear of dead bodies. He rigorously notes the common traits of folklore vampires (blood at the mouth, bloating, groaning when staked, red face, etc.) and points out that all of these things could occur naturally in a decaying body. The content of this book is very interesting, and Barber’s thesis is quite logical. However, the narrative was a little drier than necessary. I enjoyed learning, but wished it could have been a little more engaging!
The book's author could have said what he had to say in 50 pages or less. The book becomes a great bore because Barber repeats himself constantly. And it is never clear what his points are nor does he ever fully explain the presence of liquid blood, which is an impossibility unless the corpses' are relatively fresh. (Having read Spitz's Medicolegal book several times, I think I am well informed in the area of the physiology of death.) Barber never establishes parameters for this. In one moment he is talking about a week-old corpse, and in the next, several years? The tortuous sentence structure and meandering writing style make Vampires, Burial and Death a difficult read. The citing of references is overdone for such a simplistic work. If the book was intended to be scholarly, it failed. I hope this is not an accurate reflection of Yale University Press, the publisher.
Im a big fan of vampire fiction and this book was very interesting,it scholarly explains about vampire folklore,mythology and superstition.This book is well written,you would enjoy it.