The Vampire in Europe: True Tales of the Undead Hardcover – June 29, 1996
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About the Author
- Publisher : Gramercy; 1st edition (June 29, 1996)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 329 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0517149893
- ISBN-13 : 978-0517149898
- Item Weight : 1.4 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.5 x 1.25 x 9.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #6,767,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Like Sherlock Holmes, Dracula has remained a personal classic. It was therefore a passion of mine to spend many hours in the graduate stacks at the University of Mississippi reading books on vampires and werewolves. I found the folklore and history of such mythological creatures to be an "academic" pursuit while I spent my first year as an EDPA Graduate Fellow working on a history degree. Although I later transferred to educational history, I was fortunate enough to discover Montague Summers. Summers has, according to most historians and folklorists, remained the leading authority on vampires, werewolves and demons. Perhaps the two most important books written on vampires, during the 20th century were The Vampire: His Kith and Kin (1928) and The Vampire in Europe (1929).
To understand these exceptional works, one must first understand the author. Perhaps no one in the current century is better able to describe Summers than Nigel Suckling:
"Alphonsus Joseph-Mary Augustus Montague Summers (1880-1948) was a fascinating character in himself. Throughout his life he was described by acquaintances as kind, courteous, generous and outrageously witty; but those who knew him well sensed an underlying discomfort and mystery. In appearance he was plump, round cheeked and generally smiling. His dress resembled that of an eighteenth century cleric ... He wore sweeping black capes crowned by a curious hairstyle of his own devising which led many to assume he wore a wig. His voice was high pitched, comical and often in complete contrast to the macabre tales he was in the habit of spouting. Throughout his life he astonished people with his knowledge of esoteric and unsettling occult lore. Many people later described him as the most extraordinary person they had known in their lives."
Summers two books on vampires have remained my personal favorites. Although I currently possess over 70 books on vampires and werewolves (i.e. histories, folklores, psychological studies and sociological ramifications), the extensive footnoting and citations by Summers places his works far above anything written since. Summers believed in the existence of vampires. It is this belief that made the reading of his books worthwhile. It is also well worth the time and effort needed to translate all of the sources that Summers utilized in his massive works.
Dr. Carl Edwin Lindgren
Professor of Military and Medieval History
Member, Royal Historical Society (University of London)
As an essay it is badly structured because the text rambles off topic recounting many anecdotes unrelated to the specific topic.
The presentation is logically flawed. He appeals to unreliable, biased or fabricated sources to support his fantasy. His reasoning is often circular. He uses the conclusion of his argument as a premise.
The author, Montague Summers, was well known for his idiosyncratic writings and belief in the occult. If you do believe in the occult, you would like this antiquarian book. If not, don't waste time on it; this book is only for those who truly believe in vampires &c.
(See "Vampires & Vampirism: Legends From Around the World" by Dudley Wright if you are interested in this aspect of vampirism.)
Summer's was convinced that vampires were real and also creatures in the Devil's service, so, in effect, his books on the subject attempt to convince the reader of his view by presenting them with "evidence" of this sort.
As a whole, the book is an excellent source of knowledge for the budding vampirologist, but I've detracted a point from it, as Summers had the annoying tendancy to quote certain sources for his material in their original language-be it in ancient Greek, Latin etc. without providing any English translation.
Top reviews from other countries
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 5, 2019