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Slayers and Their Vampires: A Cultural History of Killing the Dead [Paperback]

Bruce McClelland

Price: CDN$ 25.83 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

June 1 2006
In contemporary Western popular culture, the vampire has evolved into one of the most recognizable symbols of evil. Yet, less has been said - and even less has been understood - about its nemesis, the vampire slayer. "Slayers and Their Vampires" is the first work to explore how the vampire slayer began, and it goes further to ask why the true history of the vampire slayer has been so long ignored. Author Bruce McClelland describes how the literary and screen dramas obscured the darker nature of the slayer, whose persecution of a corpse is accepted as heroic rather than corrupt. McClelland refuses to accept the heroism of most slayers like Dracula's "Van Helsing" or "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", who are routinely presented as superheroes acting above the law because of their special knowledge. Instead, he presents a nonromanticized history of the earliest vampire rituals that shows what it meant to kill vampires then and what it has come to mean now. Along the way, we learn how much creative license figured into the refashioning of the vampire for the entertainment of the West. With its wide range of inquiry, this book will appeal not only to fans of Dracula, vampire, Buffy, Anne Rice, and Anita Blake lore, but also to students of anthropology, sociology, European religious history, Slavistics, folklore, and cinematic and literary history.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Univ of Michigan Pr (June 1 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0472069233
  • ISBN-13: 978-0472069231
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,002,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Bruce A. McClelland is a writer, translator, and vampirologist in Gordonsville, Virginia. He received his Ph.D. in Slavic Studies at the University of Virginia. His work on vampires has appeared in Slayage: The Online International Journal of Buffy Studies. He has published four books of poetry, a book of translations of the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam, and his translations of Russian poetry have appeared in journals, books, and anthologies.

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The First Non-Fiction Book on Vampire Hunters Nov. 29 2006
By Anthony Hogg - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
McClelland takes up a rather daunting task: writing the first non-fiction book devoted to the subject of vampire hunters.

The first half of the book is largely a chronicle of the origins of the vampire myth itself. It is certainly one of the best examinations of this rather murky area of vampire scholarship since Barber's "Vampires, Burial, and Death" (1988) and Perkowski's "The Darkling" (1989).

Unlike most authors of non-fiction vampire literature, McClelland is versed in several languages (and one of the few that will readily admit to being a vampirologist) - which helps give us English-speakers access into a world of vampires rarely seen. His study on Bulgarian folklore is quite eye-opening.

From there, we springboard into little known lore about Eastern and Central European vampire hunters of different name. McClelland makes a compelling link between them and their connection to shamanism (among other things) - something delved into further in Jackson's "The Compleat Vampyre" (1995).

The next section goes into the modern incarnation of the vampire hunter, i.e., Van Helsing, Kolchak, Buffy, etc. I found this section a bit thin on the ground, especially in regards to the supposed inspiration for Stoker's perennial vampire hunter, Abraham Van Helsing.

Overall though, I heartily recommend this book to anyone interested in learning the historic/folkloric origins and development of the myth as we know it today. I look forward to (hopefully) further publications in the field from this author who breaks out of the stale non-fiction vampire mold.

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