Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Update 2

For the previous instalment, click here. So, what's been happening lately? Firstly, I decided to do some 'chasing'.

After mentioning the upcoming Kickstarter-sponsored book, The undead and theology, I got to thinking about something else I'm incredibly keen to see published: the papers presented at 'Vampire (&) science: a trans-disciplinary conference'. Why? Here's a list (pdf) of them. What a brilliant cornucopia!

The last I heard about it, the event's organiser—Clemens Ruthner—was shopping around academic publishers. Has any progress been made? I emailed him on Tuesday and got this response: 'Yes, we are discussing a publication entitled Vampire(&)Science, same title as the conference', adding 'I should know more after the summer. You can gladly post it' (Tuesday, 3 July 2012 6:58:25 PM). Sweeet!

Speaking of the Kickstarter project, it's coming along nicely. One of its editors, John W. Morehead, sent me the typeset manuscript on 26 July. It looks great. In fact, the book's cover was publicly unveiled today (left).

On the 27th and 28th, I submitted revisions for W. Scott Poole's chapter, 'The vampire that haunts Highgate: theological evil, Hammer horror, and the Highgate vampire panic in Britain, 1963–1974'. Some readers may recognise his name from a recently-published book called Monsters in America: our historical obsession with the hideous and the haunting (2011). It's one of many on my Amazon Wishlist.

The first part of the book concerns itself with vampires, consisting four essays by Vicky Gilpin ('Vampires and female spiritual transformation'), Joseph Laycock ('Crossing the spiritual wasteland in Priest'), Jarrod Longbons ('Vampires are people, too: personalism in the Buffyverse') and, of course, Poole.

If you're a zombie or 'other undead' fan, there's goodies for you, too.

A coupla reprints got caught up in my Amazonian trawlings for upcoming books; but there was one more I missed. It turns out David McNally's Marxist study, Monsters of the market: zombies, vampires, and global capitalism—mentioned here—has actually been published before.

BRILL, an academic publisher based in Amsterdam, released it last year. In hardback. I'm guessing the paperback reprint is intended for a broader audience, because the xii, 296 pp. hardback edition goes for €99.00 ($136). Yikes!

I was saddened to find out about the passing of my favourite photographer, Simon Marsden; but surprised to find out it happened several months ago.

Palazzo Editions
Marsden's last book, Vampires: the twilight world—'Published to coincide with the film releases of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (Part I) and Brad Pitt's Vlad, about the life of the real Dracula' (left)—was released 6 October 2011.

 I grew up with Marsden. The first book of his I read—ok, flicked through—was Phantoms of the Isles: further tales from the haunted realm (1990). Borrowed it from my local library. At the time, I was deeply into the supernatural—particularly ghosts.

That lead to his 1994 book, The journal of a ghost hunter, which, unlike Phantom, features some vampire content. With hindsight, story-teller's a better description for Marsden than 'ghost hunter'. Nonetheless, what an incredible legacy he's left us with. He sought out supposedly haunted locations for his shots; and other settings associated with horror and the supernatural. His main influence was Poe. The pictures themselves, are wonderfully broody and atmospheric. See for yourself via his archive. Simon Marsden, R.I.P.

The Royal Armouries in Leeds recently acquired a '19th century vampire-slaying kit'. I've written about such kits before—here, here and here. I've even interviewed the man primarily responsible for obtaining the world's largest collection of these supposedly 'antique' kits.

If you're not familiar with my position on these kits, here goes: they're fake. There's no contemporary evidence for their manufacture. Their back-stories are highly dubious. They often feature 19th century artefacts—like pistols, prayer books or Bibles—but other components are artificially aged. Despite this, they often sell for thousands at auction houses.

In this case, the Royal Armouries purchase is intriguing because it was apparently 'left to a Yorkshire woman in her uncle’s will'. However, the article also notes:
“We’ve yet to establish a firm date for our kit,” added [Curator, Jonathan] Ferguson.

“It’s Victorian in the sense that it’s made of Victorian components and intended to represent something from the mid-19th century.

“It’s 20th century in terms of when it was actually put together, inspired by post-Dracula vampire fiction.

“We will be carrying out tests to confirm the facts, but we know it will attract a lot of interest from our visitors.”
It's good to see some balance in the curator's comments, but it does make me wonder why the armoury bothered acquiring the kit, without validating its date first.

Speaking of which, I picked up a copy of Fortean Times (no. 288) on 13 July. The cover story was 'To kill a vampire' by Jonathan Ferguson—the guy mentioned in the previous article. His article details the history and prevalence of vampire killing kits. Certainly worth the cover price.

Considering the quality of the article, I was honoured to see I'd been cited four times in his list of references. Cheers, Jonathan!

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