The history and legend of a nightmare

Giuseppe Ivan Lantos

€ 15,00
Publisher: Cairo Editore
Pages: 360
ISBN/EAN: 978-88-6052-634-2

Anything and everything has been said about him. First literature and art, then films and TV transformed him into an evergreen myth. Ever since Bram Stoker spun off on the vampire invented by the writer Dr John William Polidori and made him the protagonist of his masterpiece, Dracula continues to wield that perverse seduction. Leaving history to become a fictional character, he was transformed into an archetype of our greatest fears: the anguish of man facing death, but even more terrifying, that of a desperate and solitary immortality. With this biography that unites a rigorous historical reading to the narrator’s voice, Lantos returns Vlad III, Voivode of Walachia – called Dracul, Dragon Son – to his time and his land. He retraces the path of the legend back to the origin of the terror evoked by the name of the first vampire. Dracul lived in the second half of the 15th century in the Princedom of Walachia, a rugged and troubled region that the Christian kings of Hungary were competing for with the Ottoman Empire. Vlad is the incarnation of the period’s contradictions: a despot and adventurer, invincible in battle and inclined to political intrigues, strenuous defender of Christianity, bloodthirsty prince implacable with enemies, acclaimed national hero known, however, for his practice of impalement. Needless to say, his end is wrapped in mystery: after dying in battle while fighting the Turks, all trace was lost of his remains. This symbol of absolute feral violence flies through the centuries until our days, and this “non dead”, besides nourishing the collective imagination with his sombre greatness, has even produced imitators in the flesh who are well known to the crime news, as Lantos duly tells us.

The author
Giuseppe Ivan Lantos, of Jewish-Hungarian origin, was born in 1942 in Tangiers. One of his ancestors was the musician Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. Lantos immigrated to Italy and grew up in Genoa where he got his degree in Literature. A journalist, he lives in Milan where he has worked in the editorial staff of important weekly newspapers. Though continuing to be a journalist, he has concentrated on historical divulgation and has written numerous biographies, among which are those about the Countess of Castiglione, Madame de Pompadour and Stalin. He has also written a book on the interpretation of dreams, one about Tarot cards and has collaborated in numerous collective works. He is a scholar of esoteric traditions. Cairo published his book Nostradamus. Vita e misteri dell’ultimo profeta (2014).

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