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With Stake and Spade. Vampiric Diversity in Poland

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If one were to weigh up the greatest Slavic contribution to global culture, vampires would certainly be a contender. However, the bulk of the ethnographic accounts, press reports, and even court records concerning them is not to be found somewhere in Transylvania (where pop culture would place it because of Bram Stoker’s Dracula), Greece (where Byron first heard of them), o If one were to weigh up the greatest Slavic contribution to global culture, vampires would certainly be a contender. However, the bulk of the ethnographic accounts, press reports, and even court records concerning them is not to be found somewhere in Transylvania (where pop culture would place it because of Bram Stoker’s Dracula), Greece (where Byron first heard of them), or Southern Slavdom (which gave us the word “vampire” in reports from Habsburg officials) but in sources from Poland. Everyone has heard of vampires, but few know about upiórs, strzygas, strzygońs, and wieszczys. Yet sources from Poland and the former Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth offer a wealth of fascinating material to discover Slavic beliefs in the living dead, which later became a universal myth known the world over. This book contains a small but representative selection of 80 texts spanning almost 500 years, ranging from scholarly works and religious treatises to official documents, ethnographic essays, and press reports on true events.


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If one were to weigh up the greatest Slavic contribution to global culture, vampires would certainly be a contender. However, the bulk of the ethnographic accounts, press reports, and even court records concerning them is not to be found somewhere in Transylvania (where pop culture would place it because of Bram Stoker’s Dracula), Greece (where Byron first heard of them), o If one were to weigh up the greatest Slavic contribution to global culture, vampires would certainly be a contender. However, the bulk of the ethnographic accounts, press reports, and even court records concerning them is not to be found somewhere in Transylvania (where pop culture would place it because of Bram Stoker’s Dracula), Greece (where Byron first heard of them), or Southern Slavdom (which gave us the word “vampire” in reports from Habsburg officials) but in sources from Poland. Everyone has heard of vampires, but few know about upiórs, strzygas, strzygońs, and wieszczys. Yet sources from Poland and the former Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth offer a wealth of fascinating material to discover Slavic beliefs in the living dead, which later became a universal myth known the world over. This book contains a small but representative selection of 80 texts spanning almost 500 years, ranging from scholarly works and religious treatises to official documents, ethnographic essays, and press reports on true events.

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