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UnavailableCountess Dracula: The Life and Times of Elisabeth Bathory, the Blood Countess
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Countess Dracula: The Life and Times of Elisabeth Bathory, the Blood Countess

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Countess Dracula: The Life and Times of Elisabeth Bathory, the Blood Countess

ratings:
4/5 (3 ratings)
Length:
432 pages
8 hours
Released:
Jun 1, 2012
ISBN:
9781408833650
Format:
Book

Description

This is the story of Elisabeth Bathory, a 17th-century Transylvanian countess. She was tried as a vampire and became an inspiration for depraved murderers up to the present day.;Based on research conducted at archives in Eastern Europe, this account includes both the recorded truth and the legend that has grown up around her. Tony Thorne is the author of the "Bloomsbury Dictionary of Slang".
Released:
Jun 1, 2012
ISBN:
9781408833650
Format:
Book

About the author

Formerly the Head of the English Language Centre at King's College, London, and currently Innovation Consultant at King's, Tony Thorne is an authority on language and culture, on which he has written and broadcast widely. TONY THORNE has an international reputation as linguist, lexicographer and analyst of subcultures and cultural change. Currently Director of the Language Centre and slang archive at King's College, London, he is an authority on language and culture, on which he has written, lectured and broadcast widely. His other publications include Fads, Fashions and Cults and Countess Dracula. He currently divides his time between London, Strasbourg and Slovenia, and has lived in Mexico, France, China and Eastern Europe.


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4.0
3 ratings / 2 Reviews
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  • (3/5)
    When I began reading this book, and realised that Thorne doesn?t take B?thory?s guilt for granted, I wanted so much not to be convinced by his arguments. The case against her seems so overwhelming, how could it not be true?Nevertheless, could Thorne be right? Is it possible that the charges of which B?thory still stands accused were trumped up for reasons of political expediency? It seems incredible, but so do the crimes of which B?thory was accused.Thorne makes the point that, ?Unquestionably part of Elisabeth B?thory?s offence in the eyes of her peers was that she had too much property?and too much power?.There is little contemporary documentary evidence extant, apart from the evidence given by witnesses at the trial. These, though, were obtained under torture (rather ironically, given the nature of the crimes allegedly committed by B?thory), and are therefore of questionable accuracy.Surviving letters written by B?thory suggest that she was an intelligent woman. The tone of her letters is measured, formal, even chilly ? though this would not have been unusual for the time. It has to be said that in the letters at least she does not come across as a deranged, hysterical woman.It is important to see B?thory in the context of her times. She was born in 1560, in a part of the world subject to constant threats of war and political upheavals. Thorne points out that ?a culture of cruelty ? not violence, but deliberate cruelty ? was endemic in the era that has come to be known as the early modern?. In 1514, ?a legal code known as the Tripartum?enshrined and confirmed the privileges of the nobility and decreed perpetual serfdom for the peasant populace?. In other words, all the power rested in the hands of a few noble families. The peasant population existed, according to the mores of the time, purely to serve their masters (and mistresses). Their lives were not worth very much. Indeed, ?the mere murder of a commoner was not enough to start off legal proceedings?Homicide was viewed as a relatively minor abuse of power or privilege.? In many cases, relatives who complained when a member of their family was murdered were content to accept a payoff.Am I convinced by Thorne?s arguments? Not entirely, no, although I?m far less certain of B?thory?s guilt than I was before I read this book. As Thorne says in the penultimate chapter, many women were burned as witches for all manner of lurid and, in most cases, fictitious offences against man and God.It is entirely possible that B?thory?s greatest crime was to be an extraordinarily wealthy and powerful widow. Nevertheless, Thorne does not discount the possibility that she did participate in meting out punishments to her servants that would strike the 21st century reader as barbaric. Ultimately we can never know exactly what Elisabeth B?thory did or didn?t do, but the myth of the countess who bathed in blood is as enduring as the myth of the vampire itself.[June 2008]
  • (5/5)
    I've put off reviewing this for awhile, simply because with books this awesome and dear to me I tend to get way too rambley. This book is... amazing. Every other book I've read about the Countess, I've had to keep reminding myself that there is no way to know for sure that anything said about her actually happened. Which makes it hard to really dig your teeth into the book, while trying to remain logical about it at the same time.Which is what I love so much about this book. Tony Thorne fully admits that none of the accusations against Countess Bathory can be proved; We will likely never know for sure what happened in her lifetime, what crimes she did or didn't commit. And this author not only admits that, but puts forth alternate suggestions, raises questions and points that bring to front all the different possibilities of what may have happened.Toward the end of the book there are chapters dedicated to other notorious females who may well have inspired, or been inspired by, the Countess's crimes. Some of the similarities between these women, in particular Anna-Rosina Listhius... It's actually *scary* how similar her story is to Elizabeth's. I could go on forever, but to sum it up, something I said to a friend:It's much more factual, pays attention to details and contradictions and alternative theories, cites it's sources... It is by far the best research-type book I've seen about Elizabeth Bathory.