Emily Gerard was from a wealthy family, and spent many years in various parts of central Europe with her husband, an officer in the Austrian Army. She wrote fiction and travel books, collaborating on occasions with her sister Dorothea.
How does this book portray Transylvania?
During the years 1883–85, while her husband was posted in Transylvania, Gerard researched and wrote about the social history of the area. Her article ‘Transylvanian superstitions’ included material on the vampire myth, and was used by Bram Stoker while he was researching for his book Dracula (1897); here also he came across the term ‘nosferatu’.
Her book on the region, The Land beyond the Forest: Facts, Figures and Fancies from Transylvania (1888), was more than a collection of folkloric anecdotes; as well as providing for the English-reading public a survey of the customs and traditions of what was then an exotic location, she described the political situation and suggested that these areas had a role in the wider sphere of European politics.