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Krampus: The Devil of Christmas Hardcover – October 1, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
He writes, "In nineteenth century Germany... children of goodwill sprang from their beds and rushed to the empty shoe they'd placed outside the night before... Disobedient children, however, awoke to the shakes and the shivers. In their shoes awaited switches, with which their parents would spank them. Or worse yet, they'd be paid a visit by the Krampus. In European folklore, the Krampus is (St.) Nikolaus's dark servant---a hairy, horned, supernatural beast whose pointed ears and long, slithering tongue gave misbehavers the creeps! The Krampus terrorized the bad until they promised to be good." He adds, "Such scenarios were delineated by skilled and imaginative Old World craftsmen, printed on penny postcards and disseminated throughout Europe. The rare examples that follow are, perhaps, the best history has left to offer." (Pg. 7)
He notes, "Dating as far back as the mid-seventeenth century, European history reveals that St. Nikolaus has traveled with an array of unsavory servants. The Dutch speak of Zwarte Piet, a black-faced menace in medieval dress who crams misbehavers into his Christmas bag and then spirits them off to Spain. In Czechosolovakia, children unable to recite their prayers ... are beaten by an evil spirit called Cerr. In northern Germany, Nikolaus is served by Knecht Ruprect, a disheveled, devilish-looking lout who crams boisterous brats into his hefty cloth sack and totes them around town on his shoulder!" (Pg. 9-10)
Lots of laughs for those of us with a twisted sense of humor. My favorite picture is the one where Krampus is lifting a screaming child by his ears. 'Tis the season to be jolly!
What a marvelously imaginative fantasy character! Unfortunately, as Americans we have a tendency to bowdlerize, sanitize, and cute-ify everything. Disney polishes all the rough edges off of Grimm's fairy tales, and Clement Moore and Thomas Nast took the greek Saint Nickolaus and turned him into a jolly red-suited fat man called Santa Claus that has nothing left in common with his predecessor except a white beard and a predilection for gift-giving.
The folk myth that Europeans had in the 18th and 19th centuries was designed to impress unruly and raucous children with the need to behave themselves. Bad behavior would not only result in no gifts from Saint Nickolaus, but also a visit from his dark servant, the Krampus. The black-furred, horned and cloven-hoofed demon consulted his Book of Sins and was tasked with the responsibility of punishing recalcitrant and unrepentant children. Depending on the seriousness of a child's sins, Krampus would frighten, spank, whip with a birch switch, or in cases of extreme misbehavior, even toss them into a large wooden or wicker basket he carried on his back and cart them off to Hell for punishment. A far more serious consequence than merely receiving a lump of coal in your shoe! The Krampusnacht festival is still held in some places in Europe on the eve of December 5th (December 6th being Saint Nickolaus' Day).
When high-quality color printing technology came into existence in the 1890s, the image of the Krampus was playfully celebrated each year in a series of postcards that were extremely popular, and sometimes collected the way kids in America would later collect baseball and other types of trading cards.Read more ›
through the art, and makes it more real in doing so. A little like watching old prewar motion pictures, it is entertaining, and a little dated. I hear stories from older people about Krampus from their childhood and how this collection depicts the fanciful with some basis in their experiences they always were told about, but never really experienced. Good fun.
I've known about Krampus since around 2004, and I've found him fascinating. This past year (Christmas 2013), I brought this book to our family gathering for Christmas. It was really amusing and interesting to just about everyone..
The book has a lot of great images and is bound well and printed on quality paper. I expect this book to have a place in my Christmas collection for years to come.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Pretty much just a picture book of vintage postcards of the Krampus. A little in-depth history and some photos of people dressed up in traditional krampus costumes would have added... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Deborah L. Alpi
A really wonderful collection of Krampus images. Good quality images!Published 4 months ago by gababit
Monte Beauchamp is a one stop resource for things about Krampus. This is the third reference on Krampus from him that I have in my library of Wintertide celebrations. Read morePublished 4 months ago by lyndia lamberty
nice reprints of antique/vintage post cards. I think it's time to replace Greedy Claus with Krampus for Christmas.Published 7 months ago by wanderingwordeye
Awesome book! Heavy stock paper and every page is a work of art. A very interesting book indeed!Published 13 months ago by Peggy Sue