Friday, December 15, 2017

A Feast of Blood

One early vampire anthology worth getting, if you don't already have all the stories in it, is A FEAST OF BLOOD (1967), edited by Charles M. Collins. This paperback compilation begins with a thoughtful nine-page overview of the development of vampire fiction, up through Richard Matheson's I AM LEGEND (1954). Collins's discussion necessarily hits only the highlights but does a decent job of exploring how "Images of the Vampire" (the title of the introduction) have transmuted and multiplied since John Polidori's "The Vampyre" appeared in 1819.

The contents are: "The Mysterious Stranger" (an anonymous story translated from German, which uncannily foreshadows several features of DRACULA), "The Vampyre" (Polidori), "Dracula's Guest" (Stoker), "Wake Not the Dead" (Johann Ludwig Tieck, although more recent scholarship suggests that Tieck may not have been the actual author of this work), "Revelations in Black" (Carl Jacobi), "Schloss Wappenburg" (D. Scott-Moncrieff), "The Room in the Tower" (E. F. Benson), "Blood Son" (Richard Matheson, a tale also known by the titles "Drink My Blood" and "Drink My Red Blood"), and "A Rendezvous in Averoigne" (Clark Ashton Smith). The table of contents includes the publication dates of the stories, a useful feature I'm always glad to find in a reprint anthology. For some unexplained reason, they're not arranged chronologically but, as far as I can see, in a completely random order.

All these stories hold up well regardless of their age, while displaying the changes in narrative style and attitudes toward vampirism that evolved over a period of (at this book's publication date) a century and a half.

Margaret L. Carter

Carter's Crypt

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