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Vampires are mythological or folkloric beings who subsist by feeding on the life essence (generally in the form of blood) of living creatures, regardless of whether they are undead or a living person.[1][2][3][4][5][6] Although vampiric entities have been recorded in many cultures and in spite of speculation by literary historian Brian Frost that the "belief in vampires and bloodsucking demons isas old as man himself", and may go back to "prehistoric times",[7] the term vampire was not popularized until the early 18th century, after an influx of vampire superstition into Western Europe from areas where vampire legends were frequent, such as the Balkans and Eastern Europe,[8] although local variants were also known by different names, such as vrykolakas in Greece and strigoi in Romania.This increased level of vampire superstition in Europe led to mass hysteria and in some cases resulted in corpses actually being staked and people being accused of vampirism.
While even folkloric vampires of the Balkans and Eastern Europe had a wide range of appearance ranging from nearly human to bloated rotting corpses, it was the success of John Polidori's 1819 novella The Vampyre thatestablished the archetype of charismatic and sophisticated vampire; it is arguably the most influential vampire work of the early 19th century,[9] inspiring such works as Varney the Vampire and eventually Dracula.[10]
However, it is Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula that is remembered as the quintessential vampire novel and which provided the basis of modern vampire fiction. Dracula drew on earliermythologies of werewolves and similar legendary demons and "was to voice the anxieties of an age", and the "fears of late Victorian patriarchy".[11] The success of this book spawned a distinctive vampire genre, still popular in the 21st century, with books, films, video games, and television shows. The vampire is such a dominant figure in the horror genre that literary historian Susan Sellers places thecurrent vampire myth in the "comparative safety of nightmare fantasy".[11]
Contents [hide]
1 Etymology
2 Folk beliefs
2.1 Description and common attributes
2.1.1 Creating vampires
2.1.2 Identifying vampires
2.1.3 Protection Apotropaics Methods of destruction
2.2 Ancient beliefs
2.3 Medieval and later European folklore
2.4 Non-European beliefs
2.4.1 Africa
2.4.2 TheAmericas
2.4.3 Asia
2.5 Modern beliefs
2.5.1 Collective noun
3 Origins of vampire beliefs
3.1 Slavic spiritualism
3.2 Pathology
3.2.1 Decomposition
3.2.2 Premature burial
3.2.3 Contagion
3.2.4 Porphyria
3.2.5 Rabies
3.3 Psychodynamic understanding
3.4 Political interpretation
3.5 Psychopathology
3.6 Modern vampire subcultures
3.7 Vampire bats
4 In modern fiction
4.1 Literature4.2 Film and television
4.3 Games
5 Notes
6 References
7 External links

The Oxford English Dictionary dates the first appearance of the word vampire in English from 1734, in a travelogue titled Travels of Three English Gentlemen published in the Harleian Miscellany in 1745.[12][13] Vampires had already been discussed in German literature.[14] After Austria gained control ofnorthern Serbia and Oltenia with the Treaty of Passarowitz in 1718, officials noted the local practice of exhuming bodies and "killing vampires".[14] These reports, prepared between 1725 and 1732, received widespread publicity.[14]
The English term was derived (possibly via French vampyre) from the German Vampir, in turn derived in the early 18th century from the Serbianвампир/vampir,[15][16][17][18][19] when Arnold Paole, a purported vampire in Serbia was described during the time Serbia was incorporated into the Austrian Empire.
The Serbian form has parallels in virtually all Slavic languages: Bulgarian and Macedonian вампир (vampir), Croatian upir /upirina, Czech and Slovak upír, Polish wąpierz, and (perhaps East Slavic-influenced) upiór, Ukrainian упир (upyr), Russian упырь (upyr'),...
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