Thursday, April 26, 2012

Vikram and the Vampire

Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890) was famous for his translations of classic folk tales and other literary classics from various eastern languages (Burton being one of the 19th century’s great linguists). He was equally well-known as an explorer and adventurer.

Vikram and the Vampire, which he translated and adapted in 1870, is a group of Hindu tales. They are told by a baital (not really a vampire but a kind of spirit who can inhabit dead bodies) to King Vikram (described by Burton as the King Arthur of India). The stories are somewhat in the style of the tales of the Arabian Nights - if you enjoy the Arabian Nights or you enjoy fairy stories you should certainly like Vikram and the Vampire.

Most of the tales have a humorous or ironic slant to them. They’re a lot of fun.

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