From Demons to Dracula
The Creation of the Modern Vampire Myth
Distributed for Reaktion Books
Beresford’s chronicle roams from the mountains of Eastern Europe to the foggy streets of Victorian England to Hollywood, as he investigates the portrayal of the vampire in history, literature, and art. Opening with the original Dracula, Vlad the Impaler, and his status as a national hero in Romania, he endeavors to winnow out truths from the complex legend and folklore. From Demons to Dracula tracks the evolution of the vampire as an icon and supernatural creature, drawing on classical Greek and Roman myths, witch trials and medieval plagues, Gothic literature, and even contemporary works such as Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire and Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian. Beresford also looks at the widespread impact of screen vampires from television shows, classic movies starring Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee, and more recent films such as Underworld and Blade. Whether as a demon of the underworld or a light-fearing hunter of humans, the vampire has endured through the centuries, the book reveals, as powerfully symbolic figure for human concerns with life, death, and the afterlife.
A wide-ranging and engrossing chronicle, From Demons to Dracula casts this blood-thirsty nightstalker as a remarkably complex and telling totem of our nightmares, real and imagined.
"The vampire of antiquity was a ghost, who became enfleshed as the revenant, the ghoul; then, particularly in eastern Europe, it turned into a blood-sucker. Under the ministrations of western novelists, he pupated into the seductive, cape-wearing aristocrat of modern myth. This process Matthew Beresford delineates with great clarity . . . fascinating."
“Aficionados of vampire culture will probably find little to surprise them in this fascinating study, but the rest of us will remain gripped throughout . . . This is a fun study but it's also, as Beresford says, a study in our fears, and ultimately, our fear of death.”