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The Vampyre - A Tale (eBook)

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The Vampyre a Tale was the first vampire story written in English. John William Polidori (7 September 1795 - 24 August 1821) was an Italian physician and writer. After receiving his medical degree at age 19 he became the personnel physician to Lord Byron. He was one of the first authors to write about vampires. One evening a group of writers read a book of ghost stories al The Vampyre a Tale was the first vampire story written in English. John William Polidori (7 September 1795 - 24 August 1821) was an Italian physician and writer. After receiving his medical degree at age 19 he became the personnel physician to Lord Byron. He was one of the first authors to write about vampires. One evening a group of writers read a book of ghost stories aloud and they decided to try their hand at writing one. Mary Shelley began what would become Frankenstein. Byron began a story and abandoned it. Polidori used it as the basis for his own tale, "The Vampyre."


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The Vampyre a Tale was the first vampire story written in English. John William Polidori (7 September 1795 - 24 August 1821) was an Italian physician and writer. After receiving his medical degree at age 19 he became the personnel physician to Lord Byron. He was one of the first authors to write about vampires. One evening a group of writers read a book of ghost stories al The Vampyre a Tale was the first vampire story written in English. John William Polidori (7 September 1795 - 24 August 1821) was an Italian physician and writer. After receiving his medical degree at age 19 he became the personnel physician to Lord Byron. He was one of the first authors to write about vampires. One evening a group of writers read a book of ghost stories aloud and they decided to try their hand at writing one. Mary Shelley began what would become Frankenstein. Byron began a story and abandoned it. Polidori used it as the basis for his own tale, "The Vampyre."

30 review for The Vampyre - A Tale (eBook)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    Before DRACULA... Before NOSFERATU... Even before BUFFY... There was LORD RUTHVEN in John Polidori’s 1819 short story, The Vampyre. Originally attributed to Lord Byron, this is an exceptional gothic story and I was quite surprised at the amount of like I found myself feeling for this little gem. Besides being double plus good, this atmospheric tale is historically important as it is the earliest example of the romantic vampire genre. Thus it is a classic of both gothic and vampire fiction. Now Before DRACULA... Before NOSFERATU... Even before BUFFY... There was LORD RUTHVEN in John Polidori’s 1819 short story, The Vampyre. Originally attributed to Lord Byron, this is an exceptional gothic story and I was quite surprised at the amount of like I found myself feeling for this little gem. Besides being double plus good, this atmospheric tale is historically important as it is the earliest example of the romantic vampire genre. Thus it is a classic of both gothic and vampire fiction. Now don't go sprinting off because I used the term “romantic vampire” fiction. There is nothing sparkly, sappy or EMOtistic about this tale. Nothing sweet here unless you get off on the sugary, tangy taste of mind-numbing fear (...in which case, shame on you SICKO). In fact, I was actually amazed at how truly dark it was. However, the term "romantic" is properly applied here. Lord Ruthven’s outward appearance is described as handsome, mysterious with haunting grey eyes who uses his charm and magnetic personality to insinuate himself into the cream of London society. From that standpoint, he is the progenitor of the “Vampire Lestat” school of fang-banger. But that is only the outside. On the inside and all the way down to his gooey, undead center, Lord Ruthven is a walking, talking warehouse of evil, corruption and sadism and there is not a single redeeming aspect to his personality. I found the outward angel and the inner devil to be a perfect combination for this eerie, gothic tale. I don’t want to give the plot away as the story is only 30 to 35 pages long but I thought it was dark and all kinds of creepilicious and had my full attention throughout. The writing is excellent, the tension remains high throughout and the ending is very tasty. If you are fan of traditional, dare I say classic, vampire fiction...this is a must read. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!! 4.0 to 4.5 stars. P.S. Regarding my first pic above, I want to say again...BUFFY please come back and stake JUST ONE MORE...PLEEEAASE!! We really need you!!!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sean Barrs the Bookdragon

    This is one of those weird bits of fiction where the story behind its creation is actually more interesting than the work itself: it was the result of a writing challenge between Mary Shelley, Byron and Polidori, the very same challenge that resulted in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The tale begins with a vampire arriving in London; he catches the eyes of the citizens with his uniqueness. They are drawn to him like a moth to a flame; they are enamoured by his sharp, striking, eyes. Everyone wants This is one of those weird bits of fiction where the story behind its creation is actually more interesting than the work itself: it was the result of a writing challenge between Mary Shelley, Byron and Polidori, the very same challenge that resulted in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The tale begins with a vampire arriving in London; he catches the eyes of the citizens with his uniqueness. They are drawn to him like a moth to a flame; they are enamoured by his sharp, striking, eyes. Everyone wants to be with him, and they’re not fully sure why; it’s like a spell has been cast over all of them, one they cannot resist. Aubery is shocked to discover that such a creature desires his company. He is honoured and simply amazed. (Is this a suggestion of Polidori himself and Lord Byron?) Initially, he enjoys the friendship, but the true nature of the creature begins to reveal itself. The vampire is cruel and greedy behind his seductive mask. Aubery begins to detest the creature, though he is still held in thrall by his domineering personality; he cannot escape and slowly goes insane. The vampire eventually sets his eyes on Aubery’s sister, and he is powerless to help her. “Lord Ruthven had disappeared, and Aubrey’s sister has glutted the thirst of a Vampyre!” So the plot was good, but it’s such a shame that Polidori wasn’t a better writer. The prose was awkward and clunky in places; it doesn’t have the beautiful flow of some of his peers e.g. Mary Shelley.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Believe it or not.... this real oldie of a vampyre tale has no bloody gore. First published in 1819, it provides a very interesting introduction pertaining to historic vampyre beliefs around the world, one I had never heard, about how to rid yourself of the evil. THE VAMPYRE is also a product of the competition that produced Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN. As the story begins, we first meet Aubrey, a handsome recently orphaned and now wealthy young man and his only sister....ready to come out. Not Believe it or not.... this real oldie of a vampyre tale has no bloody gore. First published in 1819, it provides a very interesting introduction pertaining to historic vampyre beliefs around the world, one I had never heard, about how to rid yourself of the evil. THE VAMPYRE is also a product of the competition that produced Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN. As the story begins, we first meet Aubrey, a handsome recently orphaned and now wealthy young man and his only sister....ready to come out. Not a fan of society parties, Aubrey leaves his sister in the hands of guardians and heads off in search of antiquities with a curious new traveling companion, Lord Ruthven.When evil shows its ugly face, Aubrey parts ways with the Lord....but that's not the last he sees of the strange man with the dead grey eye and alluring presence.A bit of a love story, and a warning from the dead "Remember your oath" makes for a great classic end.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣

    While the story itself is intriguing, the way it is told is so boring. That's why I try and avoid classics most of the time. I prefer something fast-paced, or something that (at least) doesn't make me fall asleep. Old authors had a way about descriptions and making the most exciting things appear soulless. I felt nothing for Lord Ruthven, just as I felt nothing for Aubrey. And why did Ruthven leave Aubrey alive? All the mental torture did nothing for me. I could not see the vampire's reasons, nor While the story itself is intriguing, the way it is told is so boring. That's why I try and avoid classics most of the time. I prefer something fast-paced, or something that (at least) doesn't make me fall asleep. Old authors had a way about descriptions and making the most exciting things appear soulless. I felt nothing for Lord Ruthven, just as I felt nothing for Aubrey. And why did Ruthven leave Aubrey alive? All the mental torture did nothing for me. I could not see the vampire's reasons, nor did I understand the man's inability. Meh! Not for me.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    I love vampires. There, I said it! Ever since I read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, I have been fascinated by this creature of the shadows, the undead. Never mind a certain series that threatened to spoil the ‘monster’ for me, but now that the last of that smoke is on its way out, I can demurely admit to this without my declaration to be succeeded by ‘Oh! Twilight.’ Cringe! No. My fascination rests with the creature of the undead, shrouded in darkness and legend, surrounded by hushed voices and hear-says I love vampires. There, I said it! Ever since I read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, I have been fascinated by this creature of the shadows, the undead. Never mind a certain series that threatened to spoil the ‘monster’ for me, but now that the last of that smoke is on its way out, I can demurely admit to this without my declaration to be succeeded by ‘Oh! Twilight.’ Cringe! No. My fascination rests with the creature of the undead, shrouded in darkness and legend, surrounded by hushed voices and hear-says. This probably runs in the same strain of thoughts, as my undying love (yes. That was intentional) for the DC and Marvel universe. But with the vampyr lore there is a danger that is almost delicious. My vampire has hair growing out of his palms and calls sweetly to the wolves at midnight. Children of the night Oh! What music to my ears We, in India, have our own vampyr legend known as Baital. This incarnation of the legend appears in a text called The Kathasartsagaraa, which translates into Oceans of the Streams of Stories’ by a Kashmiri Somadeva, for Queen Suryamati of Kashmir. The 11th century collection of works is believed to have been derived from an ever older and now lost piece of work called Brihatkatha, which was written in a language Paisachi that is all but lost and rarely appears in antique works written in old Sanskrit. There are various versions of this story in existence, the most popular one being the one televised as a children’s programme called Vikram and Baital , in which Baital ( the pisaach/ the vampyr)is shown hanging upside down from a tree, similar in manner to that of a bat and drinks the blood of humans(obviously!). But Polidori’s Vampyr is something else entirely. By all accounts this short story is the first English vampire story and is written with a young man named Aubrey narrating his encounters with a certain gentleman, Lord Ruthven, whose peculiar disposition and disdainful mannerisms give flight to many a maiden’s heart. He is ruthless and wealthy, and wherever he leaves there a trail of destruction follows. The Vampyr lays the groundwork and establishes many of the themes that we have now come to associate with this legend. The sophisticated stranger, the learned and distinguished gentleman, the dead eyes and pallor of the skin, the bloodlust, the ruiner of virgins, etc have all been taken birth from the inked pages of Polidori's The Vampyr. The origins of the tale has been known to all. One fateful holiday with the Shelleys, Byron and his physician Polidori and a journey that produced two original compositions that has since inspired an entire genre. Polidori is said to have been inspired from an abandoned work of Byron himself and had allegedly based the character of Lord Ruthven on him. There was no love lost between them. Amidst the various public humiliations suffered by Polidori at the hands of Lord Byron, the latter is even rumoured to have threatened to subject him to ‘a damned good thrashing’. From there to the life sucking monster in The Vampyr, it is a straight line. The tale was first attributed to Lord Byron himself, and it gained immense popularity. Some even went so far as to say that it was Byron's greatest work. Of course the work wasn't Byron's and Polidori had a merry chase trying to establish the correct authorship of the work. Polidori is said to have committed suicide, but even this fact is shrouded in mystery.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)

    The history of this short story might be even more intriguing than the actual writing itself. Mr. Polidori was the personal physician of the infamous Lord Byron, and this work of fiction was conceived on that famous holiday event in which Lord Byron, Percy Shelley and Mary Godwin (who would later become Mary Shelley) issued a challenge to each other to write Gothic stories. This was Mr. Polidori's result. My thoughts: I have little doubt that Lord Ruthven was inspired by Lord Byron. Polidori's fe The history of this short story might be even more intriguing than the actual writing itself. Mr. Polidori was the personal physician of the infamous Lord Byron, and this work of fiction was conceived on that famous holiday event in which Lord Byron, Percy Shelley and Mary Godwin (who would later become Mary Shelley) issued a challenge to each other to write Gothic stories. This was Mr. Polidori's result. My thoughts: I have little doubt that Lord Ruthven was inspired by Lord Byron. Polidori's feelings towards his debauched past employer are quite clear. In this case, Lord Ruthven has a supernatural ability to ruin, damage, and destroy anything he lays his hands on, and enjoys doing so in the process. This does not speak well of Lord Byron, and based of what I have read of him, I can see some echoes of him in this character. Lord Caroline Lamb, the incredibly outrageous for her times, cast-off mistress of Byron is immortalized in a character who appears briefly in the beginning of the story, at least in my opinion. As far as the writing, I didn't feel that it was particularly inspired or brilliant. This short story is all telling and little showing. This created a distance between the characters in this story and myself. It was hard to feel much sympathy for Aubrey, his sister Miss Aubrey, Ianthe, or anyone else because the narrative was too much like a bland newspaper article, with little connection to the intense emotions of the persons involved. I had a distant feeling of dislike and disgust for Lord Ruthven, which with more active, vivid writing could have been outright disgust. That is a sadly wasted opportunity for a writer, in my opinion. It's hard to say much overall about this story. It wasn't bad. I can't say I was disappointed, because I didn't have high expectations. Regardless of the issues as far as the writing, Mr. Polidori has earned his place in the vampire fiction canon. Sadly, he lived a short, disappointing (to himself) life. Although he could not be aware of the famous status of this story, it is some comfort to me that he has created something that endured two hundred years later. For that I will respect and appreciate The Vampyre. And also for its commentary of Lord Byron, a man whose antics pretty much created its own character archetype in literature, the Byronic hero. Admittedly in this case, there is nothing at all to recommend Lord Ruthven. Lord Byron himself, I cannot say yay or nay to that question. End verdict: Any vampire fiction aficionado should take the opportunity to read this story at least for its historical value.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sr3yas

    A historical milestone. That's what 'Vampyre' is. Written in 1819, this short fiction is considered as (one of the) first story to successfully use vampire as an antagonist. History aside, the story itself started strong, but fell short towards the end. I particularly enjoyed the first encounter of vampyre in Greece. However, the actions of characters became illogical after that incident. In my edition (project Guttenberg), I found an extract which serves as an introduction to the story. I'm going A historical milestone. That's what 'Vampyre' is. Written in 1819, this short fiction is considered as (one of the) first story to successfully use vampire as an antagonist. History aside, the story itself started strong, but fell short towards the end. I particularly enjoyed the first encounter of vampyre in Greece. However, the actions of characters became illogical after that incident. In my edition (project Guttenberg), I found an extract which serves as an introduction to the story. I'm going to use a sentence from that extract to define irony from now on! "He had been tormented by a vampyre, but had found a way to rid himself of the evil, by eating some of the earth out of the vampyre's grave, and rubbing himself with his blood. This precaution, however, did not prevent him from becoming a vampyre himself"

  8. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    It's 1:32 am and I am half asleep. So yep it freaked me a bit. Best advice; never read after an anti migraine tablet and a cup of tea when everyone is asleep and the rooms outside your library door are in darkness... Ok, I scared myself witless! 10 STARS for working so well!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Perry Lake

    I read this many years ago. While there could be more background into the mysterious Lord Ruthven, the story is written in the style of its time and is still effective today. This is considered the earliest vampire tale in the English language (there's some debate over that, however) and it was extremely influential on later works such as Varney, Carmilla, and, of course, Dracula.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sesana

    The main significance of of The Vampyre is historical: this is the first published work about vampires in English. Nearly everything that followed in the English language can be traced back to here. Amazing that such a short story (20 pages in the book I read) can be so influential. What's most important is good, very good. The plot itself, though a little slow to start, ramps up fairly quickly and ends brilliantly. (It does rely on one character valuing his word of honor above all else, includin The main significance of of The Vampyre is historical: this is the first published work about vampires in English. Nearly everything that followed in the English language can be traced back to here. Amazing that such a short story (20 pages in the book I read) can be so influential. What's most important is good, very good. The plot itself, though a little slow to start, ramps up fairly quickly and ends brilliantly. (It does rely on one character valuing his word of honor above all else, including another's life, but I'm willing to accept that as an historical artifact.) Few authors would have the courage to end their story as Polidori does, which is a shame. The vampire here is Lord Ruthven, who is everything one can ask of a non-sparkling vampire. He's outwardly cultured, dangerously magnetic, and, in the end, entirely ruthless. He's a frequent seducer of women, but only those who are perfectly chaste when he meets them, and they always vanish without a trace when he is done with them. He gives generously, but only to those who will use his generosity to put themselves in an even worse situation. And he is an enemy who is worse than deadly if crossed. It's easy to see the blueprint of Dracula and Angelus here. Of course, Ruthven is based on Byron. The bones of the story are good, but the writing itself is less than exciting. Polidori either didn't know how or didn't trust himself to write dialog, because there's virtually none. Most conversations are recorded in narrative, in very long and tedious paragraphs. But Polidori was not a writer by profession, he was a doctor, and he cranked this out in a couple of days. For all of that, it's quite good, it just needs an extra layer of polish and a defter hand with words. My copy includes an incredibly short (5 pages) fragment by Byron himself, from which Polidori based his Vampyre. The editor in my edition flatly accuses him of plagiarism, and it's a fair cop. Byron's version if unfinished, so it's impossible to tell how much of what eventually happened in The Vampyre is directly from the brain of Byron and how much was Polidori's invention. But there's enough to make me sad that Byron didn't finish it himself. His version is much better than Polidori's. I read The Vampyre solely for the historical significance of the work, and it ended up being much better than I had expected. It's a chilling story with one of the most memorable fictional vampires in literature, and if Polidori had been a slightly better writer, it would still be remembered as fondly as Dracula.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Werner

    Note, April 13, 2014: I've just updated this review slightly to correct some factual inaccuracy in the account of the tale's origin. Personal physician to Lord Byron, Polidori was present for the same challenge to the Byron-Shelley households to write a scary story that produced Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, but apparently didn't immediately take part in it. He later produced this literary treatment of the vampire legend (the first one to be published in English) using Byron's story, which the fam Note, April 13, 2014: I've just updated this review slightly to correct some factual inaccuracy in the account of the tale's origin. Personal physician to Lord Byron, Polidori was present for the same challenge to the Byron-Shelley households to write a scary story that produced Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, but apparently didn't immediately take part in it. He later produced this literary treatment of the vampire legend (the first one to be published in English) using Byron's story, which the famed poet started but left incomplete, as a basis, but re-writing it completely. (The edition of The Vampyre that I read, which is different from this one, reproduces that fragment as well, and it is superior in style and treatment to Polidori's effort.) Really a glorified short story, with a thin, melodramatic plot and sketchy characterizations, this novella succeeded as well as it did because of the novelty of its theme (and the rumor that Byron actually wrote it). Ruthven is an amoral, egoistic, aloof character supposedly seductively appealing to women, and can be seen as a Byronic antihero in something of the typical Romantic mold, into which his vampirism fits very well; and he set a kind of pattern for the aristocratic male vampires in the classical vampire fiction tradition that would follow. But, like all the vampires in that tradition, he is not a dynamic character. The central conflict in the story proves to be internal for the hero: does he expose his own sister to mortal danger, or break his word, given to Ruthven, not to disclose something that he knows. This probably strikes modern readers as a false conflict, since most of them wouldn't take their own word that seriously; but while this novella has plenty of implausible melodramatic elements, for Polidori's generation this dilemma would seem genuine: gentlemen of that day were expected to take their given word very seriously, even when it proved to be against their interest. (Whether we've "progressed" or devolved since then is an open question.)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amy (Other Amy)

    Hitherto, Aubrey had had no opportunity of studying Lord Ruthven's character, and now he found, that, though many more of his actions were exposed to his view, the results offered different conclusions from the apparent motives to his conduct. His companion was profuse in his liberality; -- the idle, the vagabond, and the beggar, received from his hand more than enough to relieve their immediate wants. But Aubrey could not avoid remarking, that it was not upon the virtuous, reduced to indigence Hitherto, Aubrey had had no opportunity of studying Lord Ruthven's character, and now he found, that, though many more of his actions were exposed to his view, the results offered different conclusions from the apparent motives to his conduct. His companion was profuse in his liberality; -- the idle, the vagabond, and the beggar, received from his hand more than enough to relieve their immediate wants. But Aubrey could not avoid remarking, that it was not upon the virtuous, reduced to indigence by the misfortunes attendant even upon virtue, that he bestowed his alms; -- these were sent from the door with hardly suppressed sneers; but when the profligate came to ask something, not to relieve his wants, but to allow him to wallow in his lust, to sink him still deeper in his iniquity, he was sent away with rich charity. This was, however, attributed by him to the greater importunity of the vicious, which generally prevails over the retiring bashfulness of the virtuous indigent. There was one circumstance about the charity of his Lordship, which was still more impressed upon his mind: all those upon whom it was bestowed, inevitably found that there was a curse upon it, for they were all either led to the scaffold, or sunk to the lowest and the most abject misery. Mostly, I just wanted Byron to have finished this story. Polidori makes a number of plot changes from the fragment that Byron started that render the events nonsense. (view spoiler)[Why would the robbers agree to put Ruthven in the moonlight? Why the hell would anyone keep an oath for a year and a day when his sister's life was at stake? Really, makes no sense. (hide spoiler)] The writing is serviceable, but you can see from the density of the above quote about what you're getting into. Meh. (But the pure evil for evil's sake vampire was kind of fun, I will admit. Too bad the narrator is so insufferable.)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    This is another piece I respect more than I enjoyed - The Vampyre; A Tale is, after all, the first account of vampires in English prose. So it seems we have John William Polidori to blame thank for the likes of Edward Cullen. Before anyone criticises Polidori's writing (which I've seen described as 'clunky') can we just remember that he was a doctor by profession, not a writer. And not just any doctor either; he was Lord Byron’s personal physician... and travelling companion throughout his sex to This is another piece I respect more than I enjoyed - The Vampyre; A Tale is, after all, the first account of vampires in English prose. So it seems we have John William Polidori to blame thank for the likes of Edward Cullen. Before anyone criticises Polidori's writing (which I've seen described as 'clunky') can we just remember that he was a doctor by profession, not a writer. And not just any doctor either; he was Lord Byron’s personal physician... and travelling companion throughout his sex tour of the Continent. This experience seemed to be a bit of a mixed bag : after various squabbles between the two, Polidori was dismissed - but not before the fateful night at Geneva with the Shelleys and the infamous ‘Ghost Story Challenge’. Had it not been for Polidori's discussion with Byron and Shelley about galvanism, perhaps we wouldn't have Frankenstein. The Vampyre is ultimately a very detached narrative with some haphazard pacing and lukewarm horror - but the concept is intriguing and I really enjoyed the writing style. Probably the most fascinating element was the parallels to the turbulent Byron/Polidori relationship, perhaps a catharsis on Polidori's part - Byron's portrayed as an enigmatic, brooding and darkly attractive stranger (who turns out to be a vampire) and Polidori as an inexperienced youth determined to win his approval. The real life Byron eventually endowed Polidori with the less than flattering epithet: “ not a bad fellow, but young and hot-headed, and more likely to incur diseases than cure them.” Ouch. The Vampyre was incorrectly attributed to Byron for many years - and is probably responsible for its success because the novella itself is not much more than mediocre. But I can't ignore its importance in initiating the horror genre we know today. Apart from Twilight, Polidori can boast of having directly influenced Carmilla, Olalla and finally Dracula - so in short: a lot of pop culture.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    One of the earliest vampire tales ever! I really enjoyed this romantic story. At first Aubrey admires Lord Ruthven and follows him through Europe. Then things turn and the vampire starts haunting the main character. While reading it I sensed that this story had influence on Bram Stoker. Certain aspects of Lord Ruthven can be found again in Dracula. The Vampyre is a groundbreaking work worth reading. Even if some settings or behaviours seem to be dated to us modern readers it has some eerie momen One of the earliest vampire tales ever! I really enjoyed this romantic story. At first Aubrey admires Lord Ruthven and follows him through Europe. Then things turn and the vampire starts haunting the main character. While reading it I sensed that this story had influence on Bram Stoker. Certain aspects of Lord Ruthven can be found again in Dracula. The Vampyre is a groundbreaking work worth reading. Even if some settings or behaviours seem to be dated to us modern readers it has some eerie moment. I can recommend its read!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Madly Jane

    This is the first vampire story in the English language, and Polidori based the character on Lord Byron, which was not a stretch, since Byron was pretty much an emotional vampire to those around him. Polidori is an interesting character himself. In films, he is always portrayed as crazy or ugly, some little fiend hanging on to Byron, etc. But it's not true. He was smart as can be, young, young, and very handsome. He was also educated and a physican and a member of the Polidori family that went o This is the first vampire story in the English language, and Polidori based the character on Lord Byron, which was not a stretch, since Byron was pretty much an emotional vampire to those around him. Polidori is an interesting character himself. In films, he is always portrayed as crazy or ugly, some little fiend hanging on to Byron, etc. But it's not true. He was smart as can be, young, young, and very handsome. He was also educated and a physican and a member of the Polidori family that went on to produce Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Christina Rossetti. Polidori was hired by an editor to travel with Byron and write memoirs of the trip, which we all hear about as The Haunted Summer of 1816 in Geneva where Byron met P.B. Shelley for the first time. Although this story is sometimes attributed to Lord Byron, that is is false. Polidori wrote it. He died by prussic acid, though he has one of the most interesting coroner's reports in history. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wil...

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    John Polidori was Lord Byron's physician who followed Byron about. The two met up with Percy and Mary Shelley on the shores of Lake Geneva and one night decided upon a ghost story writing competition. Percy and Byron, two of the Romantic movement's shining stars, gave up early on claiming prose was nothing to poetry, but Mary Shelley and John Polidori went ahead. Mary wrote "Frankenstein" while Polidori wrote "The Vampyre", a significantly smaller and less famous story. "The Vampyre" tells the s John Polidori was Lord Byron's physician who followed Byron about. The two met up with Percy and Mary Shelley on the shores of Lake Geneva and one night decided upon a ghost story writing competition. Percy and Byron, two of the Romantic movement's shining stars, gave up early on claiming prose was nothing to poetry, but Mary Shelley and John Polidori went ahead. Mary wrote "Frankenstein" while Polidori wrote "The Vampyre", a significantly smaller and less famous story. "The Vampyre" tells the story of the charismatic Lord Ruthven about Europe with the impressionable Aubrey following him everywhere. Here we notice some of the attributes famous to vampires these days. Ruthven has "irresistible powers of seduction" (p.4), "night gives him power" (p.7), "superhuman strength" (p.8) and the light "disturbs him" (p.8). It's also suggested he has power over minds though that might just be the character's weakness. I'm not going to say Polidori deserves a lot of credit in bringing the vampire into popular culture as his short story is largely forgotten. It was Stoker's novel "Dracula" that combined the attributes of a vampire along with others with a powerful story with a compelling central character. "The Vampyre" serves only as fodder that might have inspired Stoker. Polidori can't write, his prose is laborious and dull. Even though it's a 20 page short story, "The Vampyre" is a hell of a long tale. The curiosity factor is what keeps this story published and the fact of Polidori's connections to Byron and the vampire myth. Ruthven is clearly Byron who, like Ruthven, travels about Europe "corrupting" young women using his charms. Polidori is the helpless Aubrey who follows Ruthven/Byron about. The story is: Aubrey follows Ruthven about until after Ruthven kills Aubrey's love in Greece. Aubrey then goes back to England to protect his young sister from Ruthven. Too late, and Aubrey's sister is doomed. The end. Boring for readers of gothic fiction, unknown and rightly so for the general reader, it's a footnote in the vampire myth and nothing more. For fans of historical gothic fiction only, otherwise you will be tremendously bored.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sheri

    So I am waiting for several holds to come in and rather than just grab something from a library shelf, went playing on Gutenberg yesterday. I have a slew of gothic novels to keep me busy. :) The first was this, the original English vampire story; originating from a contest between Byron, Shelly, a physician and two others (as noted by many others, but certainly interesting, the same contest was the impetus for Frankenstein) in 1819. The Gutenberg version that I read contained the original Byron s So I am waiting for several holds to come in and rather than just grab something from a library shelf, went playing on Gutenberg yesterday. I have a slew of gothic novels to keep me busy. :) The first was this, the original English vampire story; originating from a contest between Byron, Shelly, a physician and two others (as noted by many others, but certainly interesting, the same contest was the impetus for Frankenstein) in 1819. The Gutenberg version that I read contained the original Byron start to the story and the completed version by Polidori (the physician). It didn't feel like anything special, but that is precisely why it must be: so much vampire-ism came out of it that the archetype felt, well, typical. The language is over romantic (true of all literature of this time period), but definitely readable. It is short and Aubrey's moral dilemma compelling even in the modern day of "fake news" wherein everyone lies.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    "The Vampyre", published 1819, is considered the first vampyre story in English literature and the one turning the vampyre folklore into the classic tale, the mythical vampyre into the aristocratic, cultivated, intellectual and seductive creature. A young man, Aubrey, becomes fascinated with the mysterious Lord Ruthven that has entered London society. They travel to Rome, but Aubrey leaves Lord Ruthven due to certain circumstances. The next time they met, Aubrey's view of him would change irrevo "The Vampyre", published 1819, is considered the first vampyre story in English literature and the one turning the vampyre folklore into the classic tale, the mythical vampyre into the aristocratic, cultivated, intellectual and seductive creature. A young man, Aubrey, becomes fascinated with the mysterious Lord Ruthven that has entered London society. They travel to Rome, but Aubrey leaves Lord Ruthven due to certain circumstances. The next time they met, Aubrey's view of him would change irrevocable. In this short story, the vampyre isn't charming as in later stories. He's egoistical, sadistic, ruthless and without empathy. He doesn't want to be a nice person. He wants to use people for his benefit. He is very generous when giving to people, with the seemingly good purpose of charity, but only to people that will use his money to end up in an even worse situation. A great issue for Aubrey is whether to keep his word or save the one he cares about - which can seem absurd since most people would break their promises to save their loved ones. A word isn't always that much worth today. Back then, giving someone your word was probably something highly valued and irreversible. There is not so much character development, as in many short stories, but the main characters are very interesting. Despite an almost non-existent dialogue the prose isn't heavy at all. The story is thrilling and Aubrey's anxiety and fear are felt by the reader. This short story is immensely influential. It began in the early 1800's when the author elite - Lord Byron, Percy and Mary Shelley, and Claire Clairmont - came together at the Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Among these authors were Byron's physician, John William Polidori. They decided to write a horror-story. This is a historical moment. Lord Byron and Percy Shelley discarded their stories, perhaps because they thought nothing could compare to poetry. Mary Shelley wrote "Frankenstein" and Polidori used Byron's discarded attempt and wrote "The vampyre". Thus, this story is a work by both of them, and furthermore, the characters Lord Ruthven and Aubrey are based on Lord Byron and Polidori. Neither of them wanted it to be published, but nevertheless, it was. It's impossible to describe the impact these people had and still have on authors and readers. What did they talk about? What fascinated them? These works of literature are only a small part, a tiny glimpse, of their strong imagination.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Juushika

    The young Lord Aubrey meets the strange and compelling Lord Ruthven, who seems to spread moral and mortal suffering wherever he goes. The confusing history--the story was originally attributed to Lord Byron, but was written by his physician John Polidori--that surrounds The Vampyre threatens to overshadow the text itself (especially as the Gutenberg edition reprints the 1819 imprint containing an unconnected account of Lord Byron's residence in Greece) but ultimately only adds to The Vampyre's m The young Lord Aubrey meets the strange and compelling Lord Ruthven, who seems to spread moral and mortal suffering wherever he goes. The confusing history--the story was originally attributed to Lord Byron, but was written by his physician John Polidori--that surrounds The Vampyre threatens to overshadow the text itself (especially as the Gutenberg edition reprints the 1819 imprint containing an unconnected account of Lord Byron's residence in Greece) but ultimately only adds to The Vampyre's mystique. The story is a small gothic delight, not particularly complex by modern conception of the vampire trope but seminal and still interesting: Polidori was the first to introduce the vampire as a character, an individual instead of a myth, and Ruthven is as much a social as a spiritual and physical predator. Initially compelling but ominous, he eventually drives Aubrey to suffering, self-doubt, and social isolation; it's an effective, claustrophobic gothic nightmare, not undercut by the text's brevity, predictability, or unremarkable writing. The Vampyre is a product of its age, limited in retrospect but groundbreaking at the time--and still accessible, in part because of its length and in part because of its enjoyable gothic tendencies. I'm glad I finally had the chance to read it, and recommend it--particularly to fans of the gothic genre and/or vampire trope.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    While I can appreciate the importance of this text as the first vampire story, I'm glad it was a short read, since it's lost most of its tension over the years. It's interesting to know that while Lord Ruthven does fulfill the traditional model of a vampire, he's an aristocrat with strange hypnotic and powers of attraction, but he is immune to the sun.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kushnuma

    This is one of the first published stories relating to vampyre's.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    strange that this counts as a book as its a pretty short tale. anyway, it took me a while to get used to this language and style of writing! but once i got into the rhythm and was able to focus on the story, I was wrapped in it and also think it's quite creepy. definitely a good read for fans of horror (and obviously if you're into vampire lore this is a must read). please excuse any typos as I typed this on the app.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Since the first time I read Dracula, I have heard of this short gothic story as the first example of the modern figure of the vampire. I has been written by Polidori in the famous summer spent near Geneva, where Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein. In this case, the vampire is an English nobleman, Lord Ruthven, apparently devoted to a dissolute life, but actually interested to feeding on the women of the London upper class. Opposed to him, there is another noble, the young Aubrey, initially naive and Since the first time I read Dracula, I have heard of this short gothic story as the first example of the modern figure of the vampire. I has been written by Polidori in the famous summer spent near Geneva, where Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein. In this case, the vampire is an English nobleman, Lord Ruthven, apparently devoted to a dissolute life, but actually interested to feeding on the women of the London upper class. Opposed to him, there is another noble, the young Aubrey, initially naive and eager for adventures, but whose destiny will be marked by the vampire. Unfortunately, although the style is very elegant and refined, history has not captured me. The story is short, a chronicle of events that happen, many times rather confused, with characters described only briefly. It is difficult to get involved in this story, more like a sketch, which could have been a good novel, enriched with details, dialogues, and a fastest pace. The ending is an original alternative to the classic happy ending (view spoiler)[the vampire marries Aubrey’s sister and kill her, while Aubrey himself is dying. (hide spoiler)] . Polidori has inspired many of the authors who have written about vampires (Stoker, Le Fanu) and for this reason the book deserves to be read, but for me it didn't work so well.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Emily Dones

    This was an amazing read. I really liked the narration it made me read this quicker than I anticipated; I just wanted to read more of it. This is a masterpiece of a short-story its written in a way that you can feel the adrenaline of finding that something horrific has been in society but being powerless to stop it. This the genuine real reaction of someone actually finding out that a vampire is real and has the potential to harm someone dear to them(and anyone if we are being honest). Being cur This was an amazing read. I really liked the narration it made me read this quicker than I anticipated; I just wanted to read more of it. This is a masterpiece of a short-story its written in a way that you can feel the adrenaline of finding that something horrific has been in society but being powerless to stop it. This the genuine real reaction of someone actually finding out that a vampire is real and has the potential to harm someone dear to them(and anyone if we are being honest). Being curious and yet horrified and apprehensive. I wish it was a longer story.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Alexandre

    Vampyre with a Y, I do not like you. Author seems too distracted by words to build a compelling writing. The sentences are stuck, they don't flow, they don't have life. Paragraphs are too long, pace is not very good for such a short novella. I was surprised, since this is a classic.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rick Slane

    One of the earliest published vampire stories, first told to Byron and Shelley's gang in Switzerland.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Shawn Birss

    In the Summerless cold of 1816, John Polidori accompanied the poet Lord Byron on a journey through Europe, as his personal physician, and as a recorder of his travels, at Byron's request. A religious man, and of far lesser means than the distinguished Byron, it was thus that he found himself among the esteemed company of Mary Shelley (as she would be named after her marriage), her husband-to-be, and her sister, as hosted by Lord Byron in his Summer retreat in Geneva. Forced inside by the horribl In the Summerless cold of 1816, John Polidori accompanied the poet Lord Byron on a journey through Europe, as his personal physician, and as a recorder of his travels, at Byron's request. A religious man, and of far lesser means than the distinguished Byron, it was thus that he found himself among the esteemed company of Mary Shelley (as she would be named after her marriage), her husband-to-be, and her sister, as hosted by Lord Byron in his Summer retreat in Geneva. Forced inside by the horrible weather, the group amused themselves with readings from popular horror magazines, when they weren't taking opioids and enjoying one another's bodies. Unsatisfied by the stories, Byron declared in disgust that there was more talent in his house at that moment than in any of these horror stories. He challenged all present to each write a chilling tale to compete with the trash they had been reading. I assume that he then took a bump of Laudanum and tried to initiate a sex party before passing out. Probably the least among them, and the only one a guest by virtue of being an employee, Polidori still took the challenge seriously. As Mary (soon to be) Shelley began the work that would become Frankenstein (possibly with some inspiration from Polidori, who initiated conversation with her about whether or not humans were more than just machines), and her fiancé began writing a ghost story, Polidori's employer started and quickly abandoned a novel that had no other name but "fragment". Finding this unfinished work, and perhaps with a hint of judgment for the proceedings in this summer house of hedonism, Polidori reworked it, and finished it, casting Byron in the role that would become the first modern vampire. Yes, this story was the first to give vampires most of what we assume of their mythology today. This was the first to cast them among the aristocracy, and to make them at all appealing. It was this book, by Polidori, that first entertained the lustful and hedonistic tendencies of these creatures of the night. It isn't hard to imagine how Polidori must have felt about his companions over these long, unnaturally cold months, reading between the lines of this novel. Some historians suggest that Polidori may also have felt some jealousy for the female attention received by Byron. In the lusty, murderous villain of this book, Polidori may have taken opportunity to exorcise his feelings. Polidori never intended for The Vampyre to be published. It was found by a publisher among Lord Byron's things, and published without either of their knowledge. Adding to this insult, the story was misattributed to Lord Byron, adding to its popularity. Though Polidori did eventually receive some credit, and £30, he was never able to launch a truly successful career from the fame the novella received. He did publish other short stories, and many essays on science and medicine, but remained the same working class man he was when attending the party that would spawn the legend of Frankenstein, and see the birth of an entire new myth of undead monster, still thriving two hundred years later. For lovers of vampire fiction, I would absolutely recommend this novella. It is far better than Dracula, which I find tedious and laborious. To read this book, predating Dracula by nearly a century, and to find it more timeless and affecting than many vampire books even more recently published than either is a pleasure. It was unfortunately short, and horrifyingly judgmental and sexist in its sexual ethics. But it was from this book that we can see Rice's assertion that vampires are a hero of the outsider, of sexual minorities, of passionate loners. The vampire is intelligent, powerful, creative, and irresistible. And he is obviously hated and feared even by his own creator, Polidori himself. Perfect. I love the story, and I love the story of the story that I was able to enjoy in Franklin Charles Bishop's introduction. Give this one a read. ☠ From the introduction and first entry of the Ebook edition of 'The Vampyre' and Other Writings Fyfield Books, 2014 Introduction by Franklin Charles Bishop Acquired on the Hoopla library app Four Stars January 23-24, 2018 ☠

  28. 4 out of 5

    FoodxHugs

    Rather silly and predictable story but interesting for being an early precursor to Dracula. Our young, gullible hero Aubrey meets the seductive, mysterious rake Lord Ruthven (probably modelled on Polidori's mate Lord Byron) and soon finds himself entangled in deep shit. Unfortunately for him, Lord Ruthven doesn't appreciate nosy parkers ruining his fun, especially when it comes to dallying with hot babes. Aubrey's curiosity comes back to bite him (or his loved ones, specifically). This was a shor Rather silly and predictable story but interesting for being an early precursor to Dracula. Our young, gullible hero Aubrey meets the seductive, mysterious rake Lord Ruthven (probably modelled on Polidori's mate Lord Byron) and soon finds himself entangled in deep shit. Unfortunately for him, Lord Ruthven doesn't appreciate nosy parkers ruining his fun, especially when it comes to dallying with hot babes. Aubrey's curiosity comes back to bite him (or his loved ones, specifically). This was a short story, fun and quick. Nothing mind-blowing. Just a nice diversion on a Sunday afternoon. Lord R's a sexy vampire and doesn't he know it! ;)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Elise

    Man did Mary Shelley win that writing contest or what.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lelouch

    I like how the bad guy wins. There's a scene where the protagonist destroys a portrait of evil, which reminds me of Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray (written ~70 years after). I listened to an audio version on youtube where the narrator had a new jersey(?) accent, which made this unintentionally funny. Standing on its own, the book isn't so great. If it was written in our modern era, it would be a total flop. But knowing it inspired the "romantic vampire" trope gives it more significance. (Pe I like how the bad guy wins. There's a scene where the protagonist destroys a portrait of evil, which reminds me of Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray (written ~70 years after). I listened to an audio version on youtube where the narrator had a new jersey(?) accent, which made this unintentionally funny. Standing on its own, the book isn't so great. If it was written in our modern era, it would be a total flop. But knowing it inspired the "romantic vampire" trope gives it more significance. (Personally, I wanna strangle the author for starting this. vampires are MONSTERS, not love interests.)

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