"vampire" from 1688?
Joel S. Berson
Berson at ATT.NET
Mon May 28 22:02:59 UTC 2007
At 5/28/2007 02:08 PM, Bonnie Taylor-Blake wrote:
>That 1741 printing of Forman's _Some Queries and Observations on the
>Revolution in 1688 . . ._ is, believe it or not, the second
>edition. I've no idea what became of the first edition.
I had wondered about that myself, and had consulted the ESTC looking
for an earlier (1688?) edition. The ESTC lists two editions for
1741, both from Olive Payne, only one of which it calls "The second
edition". The other, listed first and therefore I infer earlier, is
held by about 10 libraries worldwide.
>Anyway, I've temporarily uploaded a JPG of the 1741 frontispiece here (note
>that Forman is deceased by the time of this printing),
>Forman, however, was writing from Paris in January, 1733 (see "Forman2,"
>below). The first three pages of the chapter in which "Vampires of the
>Publick" appears can be found for a while at
>("Vampires of the Publick" is to be found in the footnote at the bottom of
>p. 11, "Forman4.")
The footnote at the bottom of page 11 is the text quoted by Katharina
M. Wilson in "The Vampire: A Casebook" (1998) that I had seen. In
her later message Bonnie cited very similar text from Wilson's "The
History of the Word 'Vampire'" (*Journal of the History of Ideas*
46: 577-583 ).
>Please let me know if you're interested in seeing more of this book.
Thank you, nothing more is needed.
What I had not noticed until now, due solely to laziness, is that
this passage is OED2's earliest citation for the transferred sense
2.a., "A person of a malignant and loathsome character, esp. one who
preys ruthlessly upon others; a vile and cruel exactor or
extortioner." The useful bit of addditional information from
Bonnie's efforts is whether the "dateline" "Paris, Jan. 17, 1733" is
sufficient for the OED to alter its citation from "1741 C. Forman
Obs. Revol." to "1733 C. Forman Obs. Revol. (1741)".
In any case, this will not (unless an earlier manuscript can be
found) antedate the several 1732 quotations. Although Bonnie also wrote:
>And on the very page Wilson specifically references -- three pages
>into Forman's letter -- Forman mentions Addison's "69th
>Spectator." Which was published on May 19, 1711.
Perhaps Wilson will now assert that Forman's writing dates from around 1711.
Jon L wrote today:
>Proves nothing, but the narrow spread of known "earliest" exx. in
>1732, 1734, and 1741 makes the "1688" attribution a little suspect.
>It certainly requires confirmation.
I agree with the Scottish verdict, and was hoping that someone else,
at the OED, would look into whether there was a 1688 (or, at least,
earlier than 1732) manuscript somewhere. But the "dateline" of 1733
supplied by Bonnie supports Jon's suspicion.
Jon L also wrote:
>This kind of error is easy to make when, expecting a big discovery,
>you zero in on what you're looking for and don't read enough of the
Thanks to Bonnie we now have the context. As an article in today's
Boston Globe Health and Science section, on a young physicist's
search for the "sterile neutrino", quotes "a leading neutrino
researcher", "Physicists don't get up in the morning to confirm the
standard model." (She didn't find it.)
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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