DRACULA WAS A WOMAN by Raymond T. McNally

DRACULA WAS A WOMAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The author of In Search of Dracula, A Clutch of Vampires, etc. returns with some tangentially related history and a grab-bag of anthropological and psychological factoids. The history concerns one Elizabeth Bathory, the notorious (in certain circles) 17th-century Blood Countess of Transylvania, who tortured to death a largish number of girls and was eventually tried for witchcraft. According to some accounts, she believed the blood of young girls to be a beauty aid and wrinkle-remover, and wanted it to bathe in; according to McNally, she merely tortured the girls for fun, and bit pieces off them. He also believes, however, that Bram Stoker was inspired by these tales of the youthening properties of blood, and incorporated them into his vision of Dracula. Hence the title--and a heavily padded, 90-page section of material on the Countess, hitherto unavailable in English (including great chunks of Hungarian history). The text picks up somewhat when McNally moves on to subjects of more general interest: bloodlust, vampirism, lycanthropy, necrophilia. Here, he gives a satisfactorily brisk, if unreliable, review of pathological conditions through the ages, with quaint tidbits from old chronicles, modern police cases, and inevitably, The Golden Bough. (The analysis blithely equates oral sex with bloodsucking, calls lycanthropy ""a basic cannibalistic wish fantasy in all humans,"" etc.) At the close comes a quick review of all these subjects in fiction and film--plus a fairly extensive bibliography (Dracula books, semi-serious books on the aforementioned pathologies) and a filmography. Otherwise: antiquarian gore with a dash of Believe It or Not.

Pub Date: April 18th, 1983
Publisher: McGraw-Hill