Rousseau on Vampires


“If there is a well-attested history in the world, it is that of the Vampires. Nothing is missing from it: interrogations, certifications by Notables, Surgeons, Parish Priests, Magistrates. The judicial proof is one of the most complete. And with all that, who believes in Vampires? Will we all be damned for not having believed?” – Jean-Jaques Rousseau, “Letter to Beaumont” 1764.

If you ever see one of my lectures on vampires, you’ll notice that I usually start with this quote, and I think this is a good way to start here, too. It’s this “well-attested history” that we will be exploring the most here on the blog and in the podcast. That doesn’t mean that we won’t delve into things like Dracula or vampire films every now and then. Even the real-life adventures of Vlad the Impaler or other non-vampire historical figures are fair game. In fact, I’m speaking on Rasputin’s murder later this semester, and perhaps he’ll make his way here, as well. He did have hypnotic eyes and was very hard to kill…


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