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Dracula's Guest: A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Vampire Stories Paperback – June 22, 2010
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“Sims, editor of this brilliant collection, gathers stories of the undead written during what he loosely terms the Victorian era…. the bloodsuckers presented here are predators who can be turned away only by Christian symbols, garlic, and little else. Do not expect sparkling Twilight vampires or even the good-guy types that sometimes appeared in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchise. An excellent addition to popular fiction and literature collections.” ―Library Journal (starred review)
“Dracula's Guest invokes the dangerous shadows of Victorian culture, those dark places where passion, terror, pathos, and sorrow mingle and merge. Gathering together canonical works along with less familiar knock-out masterpieces, Michael Sims has produced an anthology designed to keep us all up at night.” ―Maria Tatar, professor and chair of the program in Folklore and Mythology at Harvard University, author of The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales and Enchanted Hunters: The Power of Stories in Childhood
“In this fine new anthology, Michael Sims brings to bear his extensive knowledge of Victorian tales and their tellers on the vampire genre. Despite the title, Sims's nets have caught fascinating material that pre-dates Dracula and the Victorians. Some will be familiar (excerpts from works by the Abbé Calmet, Lord Byron, John Polidori, and Varney the Vampire, for example), but other authors and stories will be new to many, revealing an unexpected depth and breadth to the thrall of the undead. With a thoughtful introduction to the volume as well as each story, this book belongs in the crypt of every student of the creatures of the night!” ―Leslie S. Klinger, editor of The New Annotated Dracula and The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes
“Everyone loves a good vampire story, but it takes a true aficionado with an insatiable thirst for knowledge to ferret out the roots of these monsters' enduring appeal. There is no better guide to the natural history and mythology of the Undead than Michael Sims.” ―Jennifer Ouellette, author of The Physics of the Buffyverse and Black Bodies and Quantum Cats
About the Author
Michael Sims is the author of the acclaimed Apollo's Fire: A Day on Earth in Nature and Imagination, Adam's Navel: A Natural and Cultural History of the Human Form, and editor of the recent The Penguin Book of Gaslight Crime: Con Artists, Burglars, Rogues, and Scoundrels from the Time of Sherlock Holmes. He lives in western Pennsylvania.
Top Customer Reviews
I love the introduction to the book, which explains the author's theories, attraction and motivation to collect stories which were written during the 1800s about vampires. He has a neat, dry sense of humor and a nice way with words. I also enjoyed the introductions to the various authors and the times they lived in. They set the tone for the story which followed.
As for the stories themselves, Sims begins with the weaker ones, and builds up to the finest near the end of the book. Because of the introductions, they all have interest, and the finer ones are riveting. Sadly, Stoker's own tale, "Dracula's Guest," belonged somewhere in the middle, not the end. I'm sure he had that honor simply because of his fame.
I enjoyed this book more than I would have thought possible, and recommend it to anyone who enjoys having their flesh crawl on a moonlit, foggy night while they sit by a cozy fire.
The book is broken down into 3 parts: The Roots, The Tree and The Fruit.
Beginning with The Roots, Sims includes authors such as Jean-Baptiste de Boyer, Marquis d'Argens, Antoine Augustin Calmet, George Gordon, Lord Byron, John Polidori, Theophile Gautier and a story attributed to Johann Ludwig Tieck. In the second part, The Tree, authors included are Aleksei Tolstoy, James Malcolm Rymey, Fitz-James O'Brien, Anne Crawford, Emily Gerard, Mary Cholmondeley, Eris, Count Stenbock, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Augustus Hare, F.G. Loring, Hume Nisbet and one story whose author is unknown. The third and final part, The Fruit, includes authors Mary E Wilkins Freeman, M.R.James, Alice and Claude Askew, and Bram Stoker. Michael Sims introduces the book with a story of what led to his ideas for this book.
Sims concludes Dracula's Guest with a listing of bibliography and a detailed list of suggested further readings.
The stories included are for the most part very interesting with the majority of them being very short (as in fewer than 20 pages or so). Sims did a wonderful job of gathering historical information about the authors and presenting it in a way that was not the usual drab or boring manner. I definitely recommend Dracula's Guest to anyone interested in learning more about the progression of vampire stories or those who just love vampires. I found Dracula's Guest to be very informative, interesting and a book that I will re-read again over time.
I won this book in the Goodreads first reads contest.
So, okay, these vampires aren't like those vampires in the film 30 Days of Night (weren't those vampires just scary as all hell?), but they're still pretty creepy. Dracula's Guest is an anthology of classic, victorian, vampire stories. Granted, I haven't read every single story, yet (I like to dip into short stories rather than read them in one go), but I've read more than half of them and most of them are pretty damn great. At first I thought I'd have trouble reading these stories since they are classics and those are sometimes pretty dry, but they ended up being page-turners.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. As a huge fan of both Victorian literature and vampire tales, this book did a wonderful job of combining the two. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Stephanie Elkins
This is a great compilation of short stories. Some of them are really great but I found a few of them were unreadable, but it's easy enough just to skip past the ones that were... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mandy
If you love fun, short stories (about vampires), you will enjoy this book.Published 8 months ago by ladyrx
Not at all what it sounds like. It was dry, boring, and more a clinical look at vampire lore than "stories".Published 21 months ago by Vikki Yugovich