As Halloween approaches, it’s a good time to look at the origins of one of the most enduring monster myths: the vampire. Many scholars have examined the lore that ranges from Greek lamia to modern film depictions. The following books are among the best resources for the vampire scholar. Read them, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a “vampirologist.”
Bunson, Matthew. The Vampire Encyclopedia. Crown Trade Paperbacks, 1993.
A compendium of vampire lore and theory, this book lists movies, myths, and literary references.
Dresser, Norine. American Vampires: Fans, Victims, and Practitioners. W.W. Norton and Co., Inc., 1989.
Dresser explores the myth of the American vampire with the help of data collected through questionnaires to students, porphyria patients and vampire fans. Additional data was taken from the media. This book documents how Americans identify with and imitate vampirism.
Leatherdale, Clive. Dracula, The Novel and the Legend: A Study of Bram Stoker’s Gothic Masterpiece. Aquarian Press, 1985.
Tracing the vampire legend through myth and literature, Leatherdale provides analytical perspectives on Dracula’s role in culture and sociology.
Maberry, Jonathan. Vampire Universe: The Dark World of Supernatural Beings That Haunt Us, Hunt Us, and Hunger for Us. New York: Citadel Press, 2006.
Maberry combines an A-Z encyclopedia of vampires and monsters with an exploration of the vampire paradign in fiction and film, a look at scientific explanations for vampires, and a look at vampire slayers.
McNally, Raymond T. A Clutch of Vampires: These Being Among the Best from History and Literature. 1974.
A collection of factual accounts of (so-called?) actual historical vampires, as well as some fictional stories. [McNally also wrote an excellent book on the historical Vlad Tepes, a.k.a. Dracula.]
Senf, Carol. The Vampire in Nineteenth Century Literature. Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1988.
An examination of the progression of vampires, this book traces vampires from myth to Gothic villain, to modern literature.
Summers, Montague. The Vampire: His Kith and Kin. New York: E.P. Dutton and Company, 1929.
This is the classic work by the noted vampirologist. Although a little difficult to read by modern standards, it is a valuable work because of its extensive documentation.
Twitchell, James B. The Living Dead: A Study of the Vampire in Romantic Literature. Durham, N.C.: Duke U.P., 1987.
Twitchell looks at female and male vampires in the poetry and prose of the Nineteenth century. This book is good for understanding the evolution of the vampire myth in literature.