Sunday, 2 October 2011
From Demons To Dracula by Matthew Beresford
Happily, I wasn't disappointed with it. From Demons to Dracula is a chronological history of the vampire through time, touching on ancient beliefs, middle age myths, Transylvania and peasant superstition, Vlad Tepes and the vampire in modern media. As with any history like this, some chapters were more interesting than others. I most enjoyed reading about the 'historical' Dracula (Vlad the Impaler) and the Romanian superstitions. It was fascinating to see how the old myths had become twisted over time into the vampire that we all think of now - in Romanian folklore, vampires don't drink blood and they are born, not made. Reading about classic vampire literature made me want to go out and immediately read Carmilla and The Vampyre.
Although the subject matter was excellent, the writing was a bit hit and miss throughout the course of the book. In the beginning few chapters, I felt as though I was reading Beresford's PhD dissertation rather than a published book, but luckily the writing began to feel more natural towards the half way point of the book. I found some of the conclusions Beresford was making a bit far-fetched; the vampire myth being related to suckling being a good example of this, but there is no denying that he had completed a great deal of research and presented lots of interesting information well.
In conclusion, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in vampires, myths or folklore, purely for the information inside of it. There is also an excellent biography included, from which I have added quite a few books to my wishlist.
Verdict: Fascinating history of vampires.
Score: 4 out of 5