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Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula

by M. J. Trow

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1102218,806 (3.29)8
For many, Vlad the Impaler is the bloodsucking torturer recreated in Hollywood's Interview with the Vampire and the real character so vitally realized in Bram Stoker's Dracula, the man recreated on screen by screen legends Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee or Gary Oldman, or the vampire stalking through the pages of Ann Rice's novels. Later interpretations see him as a potent symbol of Nazi aggression in World War II, fired partly by Murnau's Nosferatu of the 1920s and the blood rites of the Aryans. But who was the real man who inspired the Dracula legend? Was he as gruesome as legend depicts, or, as some Romanians, refuting the popular image, suggest, an heroic 15th-century warrior and freedom fighter? Or is his reputation as a bloodthirsty mass-murderer, who sadistically impaled his victims, justified? In this title, the author peels back the layers of myth and history to reveal the 15th-century figure who was the real Vlad the Impaler.… (more)
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Posso capire che quando si cercano informazioni si attinga alla ricerca precedentemente svolta da altri, ma questo "saggio" è un'accozzaglia di citazioni prese da altri, di parentesi storiche non sempre attinenti o coerenti... una volta afferma che la data di nascita di Vlad è incerta, 2 pagine dopo dice che mentre lui veniva al mondo tizio faceva X e caio faceva Y, 2 pagine dopo ancora aggiunge che lo stesso giorno di nascita sempronio a nmila chilometri di distanza faceva z... fortuna che non si sa quando sia nato... A suo tempo ho letto il libro di Florescu che viene citato una pagina si ed una no, trovandolo davvero interessante (se pur dichiaratamente di parte e con tendenze nazionaliste), lui è riuscito a renderlo piatto, noioso, ed addirittura a citarlo in contraddizione. ( )
  vanlilith | Jul 25, 2012 |
An analysis of the influence of vampire myths on literature and the (unquantifiable) extent to which they may have been inspired by this Medieval ruler. The ruler's own reputation is assessed against his contemporaries' expectations. The overall conclusion is that, while accounts of his atrocities undoubtedly shock and disgust, there are elements of propaganda within the sources and that his actions mainly fit with the grain of other late Medieval rulers. Vlad is regarded in Romania even now as a national hero for standing up to the Ottoman Turks when few if any other rulers paid heed to the Pope's call for a new crusade against them. Under Ceausescu, he was even regarded as a proto-Communist hero for reducing the power of his nobles (as was Ivan the Terrible in Stalin's Soviet Union) and commemorative postage stamps were issued on the 500th anniversary of his death. A fascinating book, though extremely unpleasant reading in places. ( )
  john257hopper | Nov 19, 2009 |
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For many, Vlad the Impaler is the bloodsucking torturer recreated in Hollywood's Interview with the Vampire and the real character so vitally realized in Bram Stoker's Dracula, the man recreated on screen by screen legends Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee or Gary Oldman, or the vampire stalking through the pages of Ann Rice's novels. Later interpretations see him as a potent symbol of Nazi aggression in World War II, fired partly by Murnau's Nosferatu of the 1920s and the blood rites of the Aryans. But who was the real man who inspired the Dracula legend? Was he as gruesome as legend depicts, or, as some Romanians, refuting the popular image, suggest, an heroic 15th-century warrior and freedom fighter? Or is his reputation as a bloodthirsty mass-murderer, who sadistically impaled his victims, justified? In this title, the author peels back the layers of myth and history to reveal the 15th-century figure who was the real Vlad the Impaler.

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It seems strange that it was the invention of the printing press which ensured that the reputation, stories and myths about Vlad the Impaler were spread throughout Europe in the mid-15th century. In 1463 a political pamphlet was printed in Austria entitled `The Story of a Bloodthirsty Madman Called Dracula of Wallachia'. But was Vlad really the son of the Devil, a maniacal and bloodthirsty murderer, or merely an ambitious, albeit cruel, count and warlord? In this book, Trow examines the sources for Vlad's deeds and reputation, including Romanian sources and folktales, Russian narratives and official documents from his court. Taking us on a journey from mid-15th century history, to the Dracula myths of the 18th and 19th centuries, from Bram Stoker's literary creation, to the Draculaland theme park, this is a great read.
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