Last year The Book At Bedtime, BBC Radio 4’s evening book reading program, also had a collection of five short stories called A Night With A Vampire (you may have noticed I just posted about the sequel).
The first story in this collection of five vampire tales was written by a Benedictine Monk. It purports to be non-fiction (the author having surveyed Europe for real life eighteenth century stories in his book The Phantom World). The second story, by Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy (a Soviet SF writer with an asteroid named after him) may be the best of the bunch – it’s romantic and creepy. The third story, by Guy de Maupassant, well we did a whole show on that one, is extremely abridged with only about a quarter of the original text still present. Numbers four and five didn’t do much for me, but maybe you’ll find them more engaging than I did.
1. Dead Persons In Hungary by Antoine Augustin Calmet – Read by David Tennant [ABRIDGED]
Antoine Augustin Calmet published an apparently serious anthropological history of the Vampire throughout Europe in the early 19 century called “The Phantom World.” All the people he spoke to were adamant about what they had witnessed. His account therefore appears all the more disturbing and became the basis for the flights of Vampiric fancy that took off in the Victorian age.
2. The Family Of The Vourdalak by Alexis Tolstoy – Read by David Tennant [ABRIDGED]
Leo Tolstoy’s lesser known brother has written this compelling story about a patriarch who sets off on a mysterious mission but fears he may come back a Vampire. If he should return to their village after 10 days – he begs his family to deny him access and plunge a stake through his heart.
3. The Horla by Guy de Maupassant – Read by David Tennant [ABRIDGED]
After an unusual Brazilian ship enters the harbour – our hero suddenly begins to feel unwell, and starts to have feverish and disturbing visions. Only too late does he discover the demonic nature of the South American ship’s cargo.
4. Luella Miller by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman – Read by David Tennant [ABRIDGED]
Luella Miller seems incapable of surviving on her own – so she calls on friends, relatives and lovers to help her. And they all die – one by one – until there is no one left to lift a finger to assist this most demanding of women. An unusual tale – set in small town America.
5. Clarimonde by Theophile Gautier – Read by David Tennant [ABRIDGED]
As a young man approaches his first moments as a priest his eyes glance to heaven – and sees leaning over the sanctuary railing – a young woman of extraordinary beauty. And so begins a sensational struggle for his soul…
Producer: Clive Brill
A Pacificus production for BBC Radio 4.
Posted by Jesse Willis