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

Vampires Before 'Twilight': Hot And Dead

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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