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Vampire God: The Allure of the Undead in Western Culture Paperback – October 6, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press (October 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 143842860X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1438428604
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,807,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

It seems we're awash in vampires these days, in everything from movies, television shows, and novels to role-playing games, rock bands, and breakfast cereals. But what accounts for their enduring popular appeal? In Vampire God, Mary Y. Hallab examines the mythic figure of the vampire from its origins in early Greek and Slavic folklore, its transformation by Romantics like Byron, Le Fanu, and Stoker, and its diverse representations in present-day popular culture. The allure of the vampire, Hallab argues, lies in its persistent undeadness, its refusal to accept its mortal destiny of death and decay. Vampires appeal to our fear of dying and our hope for immortality, and as a focus for our doubts and speculations, vampire literature offers answers to many of our most urgent questions about the meaning of death, the nature of the human soul, and its possible survival after bodily dissolution. Clearly written, with wry humor, Vampire God is a thoroughly researched, ambitious study that draws on cultural, anthropological, and religious perspectives to explore the significance and function of the vampire in relation to the scientific, social, psychological, and religious beliefs of its time and place.

"Among the numerous studies published about the vampire in film and fiction, I would certainly rank Hallab's Vampire God at the top. She has mastered the ability to blend her discussion with both interesting detail and larger social significance--a difficult balancing act indeed, and one that few have accomplished in cultural studies." -- Gary Hoppenstand, editor of The Journal of Popular Culture

"Compared with most academic books, Vampire God is a delight to read. Hallab brings a wry sense of humor to her book--and humor is something, it seems to me, lacking in most critical works. Within the limited focus of vampire lore and literature, Hallab covers a lot of ground, and she covers it superbly." -- Eric Miles Williamson, author of Oakland, Jack London, and Me

About the Author

Mary Y. Hallab is Professor Emerita of English Literature at the University of Central Missouri.

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Format: Paperback
While I read this book primarily for background for a journal article I'm writing on Flannery O'Connor's use of a mummy by one of her characters in her novel, Wise Blood, I have to say that readers will be VERY pleased to have access to this thorough, humorous and helpful discussion of vampires for their papers, theses, and -- yes -- nightmares.

Mary Hallab, Ph.D. draws upon a long and distinguished teaching career and publications explicating works by Henry James, Angela Carter, William Blake, Edgar Allan Poe, Washington Irving and Herman Mellville, to provide us with a thorough exploration of vampire myth and lore from their early appearance in Greek and Slavic folklore, through the Romantic period, right through to its' present starring role in present-day popular culture.

Hallib contends that men and women have always been fascinated by vampire lore because of our deep-down desire for immortality. Argues that through explorations of literature and film versions of vampires acting out roles in which they refuse to accept everyman's destiny of dying and decaying to dust -- those involved are able to wrestle with their own fear of death. Indeed, the very discussion of vampires over the ages has allowed for code-worded conversations about individual doubts regarding death and the nature of one's soul.

The book is divided into six chapters: (1) Vampires and Science; (2) Vampires and Society; (3) Vampires and Psychology: Body, Soul and Self; (4) The Religious Vampire: Reason, Romantics, and Victorians; (5) The Religious Vampire: The Twentieth Century; and, (6) The Vampire God: Nature and Numinious. Graduate students will forever be in her debt for the extensive chapter-by-chapter notes and list of "Works Consulted" that follow the text.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Normal Guy on September 25, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting book, kind of dry though. You will find Hallabs point of view interesting, but at the end of the book you'll realize that there could have been more.
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