Vampires Before 'Twilight': Hot And Dead

07/09/2010 01:57 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Vampire stories didn't begin with Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" series, Anne Rice's bayou bloodsuckers or even Bram Stoker's "Dracula" in 1897. What one finds, in reading "Dracula's Guest: And Other Victorian Vampire Stories" (Walker & Co. 480 pages, $17), is that these creatures emerged from 18th century accounts of Eastern European peasant superstitions, then got a boost from the Romantic movement, which, as editor Michael Sims notes in his introduction to this 22-story anthology, "objected to evidence-based thinking as arid and godless, and worried that science was fumigating all the fun out of the world."

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