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The Bloody Countess: Atrocities of Erzsebet Bathory

3.52  ·  Rating Details  ·  364 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
Elizabeth Bathory genuinely believed that only by constant bathing in virgins' blood would she be able to retain her waning youthful good looks. Through her position of supreme, absolute power she was able to procure an endless number of victims.
Paperback, 156 pages
Published November 3rd 2006 by Solar Books (first published 1962)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,018)
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Max Renn
Dec 09, 2009 Max Renn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: goths, phlebotomists, lesbians, babysitters
now this is just my favorite sort of thing... history done as a cheap paperback with a lurid cover.

here we have the biography of notorious mass murderer, blood fetishist and torture stylist erzsebet bathory - as written by surrealist valentine penrose and translated by that most legendary literary junkie pimp, the situationist alexander trocchi. with an erratic and occulted prose style, badly translated, and highly suspect from a factual point of view; you would swear this book was put together
Jan 10, 2009 Jennifer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Perplexingly awful; I'm one of those gullible fraidy-cat types who loves a good story about serial killers (medieval or otherwise), but I couldn't finish this. I suspect part of the problem is that the translation is appallingly done, but the subject matter jumps from Erszebet to her potentially incestuous relations to the occult to the occult's influences on Erszebet to Gilles de Rais to astrology... That, coupled with a stunning lack of references, annoys the crap out of me.
Carole Gill
Oct 21, 2011 Carole Gill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just finished this. It's actually for research, but Erzebat Bathory always fascinated me.
It is difficult to believe, to comprehend she was that monsterous but there are papers as I understand it that are not available so one wonders why.

Penrose has written a book that is riveting, I found some of it really difficult to read and I write dark horror!
I would say this is a well-written book that is very shocking but for anyone interested in Bathory and her times, I would recommend it.
Thalia Papadakis
Jul 17, 2016 Thalia Papadakis rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The foreword made the book seem promising--it mentioned many personal letters and historical context. Unfortunately, the historical content was so jumbled that it was nearly impossible to follow. The content didn't follow any logical timeline or pattern; the author jumped from Erzsebet and her crimes to pages of family and European history (much of it not relevant to the topic) interspersed with the author's own biases. As to the letters, only three were presented at the very end of the book.

Dec 07, 2011 Greg rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
So detailed, vivid, and sensuous you'd think the author was really there. Or made it all up. To wank to.
Fefs Messina
Per una recensione più approfondita:
Non sono molto soddisfatta da questa lettura. Mi aspettavo una biografia storica come si deve, ma è colpa mia, dovevo informarmi prima di comprare il libro.
Per chi cerca accuratezza storica, qui ne troverà pochissima e sarà mischiata con fatti accaduti secondo l'autrice. Immaginatevi di scrivere una biografia su un personaggio storico che vi appassiona tantissimo e di farcirla con cose che vorreste gli siano accadute; i
Erzsebet Bathory es una de las primeras asesinas en serie conocidas, y su historia, el ejemplo más espeluznante de los resultados de la mezcla de la locura, el esoterismo y el poder. Habiendo leído otros libros sobre la Condesa Sangrienta, he de reconocer que este libro me costó trabajo -el original es en francés, y la autora narra la vida y los tiempos de Erzesebet Bathory, intentando explicar su contexto, su creencia en lo sobrenatural y la influencia de brujería y otros elementos esotéricos. ...more
Jun 21, 2011 aya rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-best
After discovering and falling in love with Solar Books the other week, I realized that I already had one of their books--The Bloody Countess.
This book follows in the vein of La Bas and Benedetti's Bluebeard--lyrical and poetic, we are able to see not only the actions but also the psychological and historical affecting and surrounding Erzsebet Bathory. Well-written and flows well, although at times a little clunky. Perhaps the fault of translation.
Penrose does an amazing job at giving a sense o
Steve Davies
Totally unreliable as a history but ok as a macabre and Surrealistic fantasy. The poor translation by Alexander Trocchi doesn't help.
Octavio Villalpando
De carácter biográfico, éste libro tiene la rara virtud de estarte narrando unos hechos terribles, pero de un modo tal que no te das del todo cuenta de ello. Sí, es una biografía acerca de la infame Erzebeth Bathory, pero la autora consigue matizar tanto, merced a un lenguaje que a veces abusa de lo poético, los detalles horrendos, que por momentos, se siente más como una obra fantástica que como el inventario de los crímenes de una de las figuras más oscuras de la humanidad.

Eso si, tal vez por
May 20, 2010 Eliza rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Something was wrong here. Not sure if the translation or the writing itself. But I loved reading about Erzsebet's life. Fascinating character, darker than darkness itself.
Sep 26, 2011 Runningrabbit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a mind blowing account of a Countess who lived in the 17th Century. She is believed to have been the first accounted-for female serial killer. They estimate she may have murdered up to 600 girls and women.

At the rear of the book they have a transcript of the court hearing. Scarey, and trully amazing; reading is believing.
The book is written in a echoes the times, and I believe it's a pretty good telling in both an historical/background sense, and in reflecting how things pretty much we
Emma Woodcock
Wow, this book is atrocious! The prose is execrable (and I don't think you can entirely blame the translater), yet oddly readable. It is supposedly a factual book of historic account, but it's filled with conjecture, cod-psychology, astrology ffs! and the kind of bad-novel detail that no one today could possibly know about the people involved. Towards the end it goes off without warning onto an extended tangent about Gilles De Rais - a simlarly monstrous figure, who has hitherto been mentioned i ...more
Nov 25, 2012 Darrell rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, bathory
"The moon being in Capricorn, it was advisable to bathe in the middle of the night, to the accompaniment of the interminable and monotonous drone of magic spells, in a bath of bitter resin. In a secret underground room like a crypt, Darvulia, with the patience of a practiced sorceress, drew circles and signs according to the inner grammar of her necromantic ken, not for an instant straying in that labyrinth of baneful, black geography. Awakening these dark powers within herself, she would live o ...more
Sir Michael Röhm
Valentine Penrose was a Surrealist poet, one of the first women in the movement.

Accordingly, this book in a dreamy, poetic style. Readers seeking a sober recounting of history will not find it in this book. Instead, the book is replete with passages such as this:

"The moon being in Capricorn, it was advisable to bathe in the middle of the night, to the accompaniment of the interminable and monotonous drone of magic spells, in a bath of bitter resin. In a secret underground room like a crypt, Darv
Apr 16, 2012 Rhett rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I would highly recommend that you AVOID researching the life of Erzsebet Bathory. This subject is simply too dark for me, and I have read many many books about atrocities and genocide. I am well versed in the most horrific war crimes that have occured in Africa over the last 100 years and while this book is very graphic in its describtions it still pales when compared to some of the things I've read about people doing to one another. However, where this is different is Erzsebet was very much int ...more
Jul 18, 2008 Laurie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book I started about a year ago and put down because it was not what I thought it was going to be. I picked it up again a few days ago to get it off my book to-do list. This time, I figured out why I didn't like it. The authors created a mishmosh of a book with little organization and constant jumping between subjects. This book was about Erzsebet Bathory, but the last quarter of the book went into many details and stories about Gille de Rais. Sure, there were comparisons between the l ...more
C. D.  Brinker
Still a lot of discrepancies amidst the historical atrocities of The Blood Countess . . . this book however does stand as being the one (if not the only) official biography of Erzsebet Bathory.

Very insightful, albeit a little hard to follow as its language is rather cryptic, more so because the names and locations of events are extremely foreign.

At times, the book loses your attention through its rather monotonous approach at explaining individuals and their histories, but there's enough blood
Feb 03, 2011 Ricardo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Es importante que las historias estén bien escritas. Aún más las terribles e inhumanas. Esto con el fin de que te atrapen y poder continuar hasta el final sin caer en el morbo "per sé".
A Erzébet Báthory se le hace un injusto honor al relatarse necesariamente su enferma manía de toruturar y matar doncellas (muchas muy jóvenes) para bañarse con su sangre a fin de presevar su inigualable belleza. Esta Condesa gozaba de un prestigio notable entre la nobleza húngara. No discriminaba: campesinas, nobl
This book is...hard to review.
It's 200 and some pages, unfortunately not only about Elisabeth Bathory. It has LOADS of Hungarian History. SO if you're interested just in the character like me, the loads of Hungarian history is pretty boring. Then it had a very...peculiar...writing style. It takes you a while to get used to the weird way it's written and the constant exotic phrases that mix History with fiction.
Apart from that is a very interesting reading about a homicidal maniac that was Elisab
Dec 25, 2007 pavao rated it liked it
Recommends it for: the morbidly curious and easily titillated
I read this concurrently with a class in Western Civilization, so it was interesting to compare the author's version with the actual history of 16th century Hungary. There was definitely some poetic license taken, and the author offers some sketchy theories on the pathopsychology of the Countess. A fun read, as long as you don't take it as gospel.
Oct 11, 2009 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The translation to English is less than seamless, making for a stilting read, but this book is worth every second. Perfect for any enthusiasts, I do not recommend this book to anyone who is not already familiar with Countess Bathory's history and looking to find out more. Be aware of what you're getting yourself into!
A lot of history on one of the most infamous female serial killers. Sort of dry, but I needed to read a factual account after reading a novelized, fictionalized version of her life, in The Blood Confession. Very interesting, but only recommend it to history buffs.
Victoria Price
With excellent research (including transcripts for the original 'trial') and poetic prose. Penrose presents the life and crime of Elizabeth Bathory as a technicolor nightmare. Whilst I liked her floral style of writing, some maybe put off by it.
Aug 11, 2009 Colin rated it liked it
Shelves: scholarly-works
A difficult book to review. Shockingly badly written or translated, but of fascinating (if gruesome) subject matter - the atrocities of the infamous Erzsebet Bathory. If you don't already know who that is, this probably isn't the book for you.
This account of Erzsebet Bathory's life is a difficult read. The writing is stilted, probably at least in part due to the translation, and boring. Also, if you are looking for a truly historical account with references, none are included here.
Peter Houlihan
this is one of the most distressing books l have read the taking of life was so banal all for this woman to attempt to keep her youthful appearance such vanity and cruelty glad when l reached the end of this one
Catarina Gomes Correia
Simply put: impossible to read. Total mess. Bad writing or bad translation (portuguese)? I don't know. Just really bad book. And it's a pity because the subject had the potential to be interesting.
Rebecca Johns
Jan 07, 2011 Rebecca Johns rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Poetic, difficult to read, heavily dependent on fiction and legend and very little on fact. The translations of the trial documents are the best part of the book.
Love the subject. Lots of information in the book, but the book itself was poorly organized and at times seemed to ramble or change subject quicky.
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