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The Vampyre

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This classic vampire story has inspired generations of authors, from Bram Stoker to Charlaine Harris.

A young English gentleman of means, Aubrey is immediately intrigued by Lord Ruthven, the mysterious newcomer among society’s elite. His unknown origin and curious behavior tantalizes Aubrey’s imagination. But the young man soon discovers a sinister character hidden behind his new friend’s glamorous facade.
When the two are set upon by bandits while traveling together in Europe, Ruthven is fatally injured. Before drawing his last breath, he makes the odd request that Aubrey keep his death and crimes secret for a year and a day. But when Ruthven resurfaces in London—making overtures toward Aubrey’s sister—Aubrey realizes this immortal fiend is a vampyre.
John William Polidori’s The Vampyre is both a classic tale of gothic horror and the progenitor of the modern romantic vampire myth that has been fodder for artists ranging from Anne Rice to Alan Ball to Francis Ford Coppola. Originally published in 1819, many decades before Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and misattributed to Polidori’s friend Lord Byron, The Vampyre has kept readers up at night for nearly two hundred years.

72 pages, Paperback

First published April 1, 1819

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About the author

John William Polidori

274 books135 followers
John William Polidori was an Italian English physician and writer, known for his associations with the Romantic movement and credited by some as the creator of the vampire genre of fantasy fiction.

Polidori was the oldest son of Gaetano Polidori, an Italian political émigré scholar, and Anna Maria Pierce, a governess. He had three brothers and four sisters.

He was one of the earliest pupils at recently established Ampleforth College from 1804, and in 1810 went up to the University of Edinburgh, where he wrote a thesis on sleepwalking and received his degree as a doctor of medicine on 1 August 1815 at the age of 19.

In 1816 Dr. Polidori entered Lord Byron's service as his personal physician, and accompanied Byron on a trip through Europe. At the Villa Diodati, a house Byron rented by Lake Geneva in Switzerland, the pair met with Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, and her husband-to-be, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and their companion (Mary's stepsister) Claire Clairmont.

One night in June, after the company had read aloud from the Tales of the Dead, a collection of horror tales, Byron suggested that they each write a ghost story. Mary Shelley worked on a tale that would later evolve into Frankenstein. Byron wrote (and quickly abandoned) a fragment of a story, which Polidori used later as the basis for his own tale, The Vampyre, the first vampire story published in English.

Rather than use the crude, bestial vampire of folklore as a basis for his story, Polidori based his character on Byron. Polidori named the character "Lord Ruthven" as a joke. The name was originally used in Lady Caroline Lamb's novel Glenarvon, in which a thinly-disguised Byron figure was also named Lord Ruthven.

Polidori's Lord Ruthven was not only the first vampire in English fiction, but was also the first fictional vampire in the form we recognize today—an aristocratic fiend who preys among high society.

Dismissed by Byron, Polidori travelled in Italy and then returned to England. His story, "The Vampyre", was published in the April 1819 issue of New Monthly Magazine without his permission. Whilst in London he lived and died in Great Pulteney Street (Soho). Much to both his and Byron's chagrin, "The Vampyre" was released as a new work by Byron. Byron even released his own Fragment of a Novel in an attempt to clear up the mess, but, for better or worse, "The Vampyre" continued to be attributed to him.

His long, Byron-influenced theological poem The Fall of the Angels, was published anonymously in 1821.

He died in August 1821, weighed down by depression and gambling debts. Despite strong evidence that he committed suicide by means of prussic acid, the coroner gave a verdict of death by natural causes.

His sister Frances Polidori married exiled Italian scholar Gabriele Rossetti, and so John is the uncle of Maria Francesca Rossetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Michael Rossetti and Christina Rossetti, though they were born after his death.

His sister Charlotte made a transcription of his Diaries, but censored "peccant passages" and destroyed the original. Based only on the transcripton, The Diary of John Polidori was edited by William Michael Rossetti and first published in 1911 by Elkin Mathews (London). A reprint of this book, The diary of Dr. John William Polidori, 1816, relating to Byron, Shelley, etc was published by Folcroft Library Editions (Folcroft, Pa.) in 1975. Another reprint by the same title was printed by Norwood Editions (Norwood, Pa.) in 1978.

A number of films have depicted John Polidori and the genesis of the Frankenstein and "Vampyre" stories in 1816: Gothic directed by Ken Russell (1986), Haunted Summer directed by Ivan Passer (1988) and Remando al viento (English title: Rowing with the Wind) directed by Gonzalo Suárez (1988). He also appears as a minor and unsympathetic character in the Tim Powers horror novel The Stress o

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,290 reviews
Profile Image for s.penkevich.
969 reviews6,869 followers
September 19, 2023
I’ve always been amused that Lord Byron was such an epic icon of debauchery and being a total shit that the modern interpretation of vampires was more or less created in his image. Legends of vampires have been around for centuries, going back even to cultures of Mesopotamians and the Romans where there were stories of creatures that drained the blood of sleeping victims, but The Vampyre by John William Polidori is credited as the combining them into the first modern vampire tale and published in New Monthly Magazine in 1819. It was originally attributed to Lord Byron—Polidori’s The Vampyre did in fact borrow a lot from Byron’s unfinished vampire story Fragment of a Novel—which adds an extra layer of humor seeing as the vampire in the story is quite literally based on him in several ways and Byron himself is referenced in the opening. A fun little story, The Vampyre brought about the idea of these undead creatures as seductive aristocrats as we watch the narrator, Aubrey, slowly realize the wealthy gentleman he has accompanied across Europe may be preying on women more than just sexually. A bit dense and told at a remove, this is still a cool piece of horror history and at only a handful of pages, well worth the read.

The creation of the story is nearly as exciting a tale as the vampire story itself. During the summer of 1816, Byron, Polidori, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley and her sister Claire all stayed together in Geneva. Due to non-stop rain, the group decided to entertain themselves by each writing a ghost story (which is also the origin of Shelley’s Frankenstein), which they figured would pair well with the copious amounts of wine and laudanum they were consuming. Byron began his Fragment of a Novel, which was never completed and Polidori crafted The Vampyre were much inspired by Byron’s tale. Though one will also notice that the opening of the story very much aligns with Polidori’s own experience: Aubrey accompanies Lord Ruthven around Europe much the way Polidori followed Byron around as his personal physician, both Polidori and Aubrey finding their companion to initially be very seductive and charming but slowly revealing themselves in immorality and debauchery. Ruthven brings the downfall of young wealthy persons they encounter and brings women to vice and ruin. Those who except money or aid from Ruthven meet bad ends, and there is a theme of disillusionment running through the story as well as a theme of unstoppable destruction with no concern who will be harmed in its path. Which is not far off from Byron and what happened to Polidori after being his friend.

In fact, Ruthven is very intentionally written to call Byron to mind. The name is borrowed from the novel Glenarvon by Caroline Lamb, who was a former lover of Byron’s and her character Clarence de Ruthven was written as a blatant and unflattering portrait of Byron (there are notes that Polidori has intended to change the name to Strongmore but he took his own life with prussic acid before that could happen). The brilliance of all this is (beyond that dunking on Lord Byron is always a great time, I mean I wrote a whole review about it) that the image of a vampire was transformed into a criticism of aristocracy as symbolism of the wealthy as draining the life blood of society. This became a good metaphor that even Karl Marx would draw upon writing that capital was vampiric.

There is some wonderful characterization going on in the story, with Ruthven constantly being described as death-like, such as his ‘dead grey eyes’ on a face that is described as having a ‘deathly hue.’ Yet despite this, he is able to woo any man or woman he desires (not unlike Byron) and ‘his character was dreadfully vicious, for that the possession of irresistible powers of seduction, rendered his licentious habits more dangerous to society.’ We see in this the modern mold for vampires and the next two major vampire stories, Carmilla and Dracula, would follow suit with their vampire presented as a wealthy aristocrat preying on women.

This is a short and fun read, though admittedly a bit dry. It is told at a remove from the action and the emotion doesn’t quite pop the way something like Carmilla does, though it is still an engaging story with a body count. It is almost Halloween, so check out the first vampire tale and enjoy!

Profile Image for Anne.
4,063 reviews69.5k followers
September 9, 2023
The Vampyre!
Whilst Dracula drones on and on and on and on like a paranormal travelogue, this one just gets right to the point. This makes it vastly easier for a peasant like myself to get through.
Also, published in 1819 this version of the modern vampire is considered one of the first in English literature, so you're able to say you're reading a classic.


Alright, there's a lot of history behind this one. And it's almost as interesting as the story itself. The idea for it was cooked up on that famous night when all of those poetical artsy-fartsy folks got together and had the writing contest that gave the world monsters like Frankenstein.
Byron apparently came up with the idea for a vampire story but abandoned it, and Polidori (his physician) decided to run with the idea and created this.
Very cool.


As for me?
It might not surprise you to know I was first introduced to Lord Ruthven via Marvel comics (Vampire Tales (1973-1975) #1, if you're interested), and that is actually what got me interested in reading Polidori's book.


The gist of this blessedly short tale is that there's this Lord Ruthven dude roaming free in the upper echelons of English society.
He doesn't smile.
Or something like that. Basically, he acts like nothing interests him and everyone falls all over themselves to invite him to their parties.
There are rumors that he's up to no good with the ladies, as well.


So there's this young man, a nice kid, named Aubrey. His parents are dead and he has good guardians who have taken very great care of him and his little sister (she becomes important later), but now he wants to roam around a bit and do his tour. And guess who he wants to tour with.
He has fallen under the spell of this douchebag and wants to know more about him because he's so cool and aloof.


Naturally, shit goes sideways.

Alright. So, this next part is something that makes ZERO sense now, but I've run across it time and time again in classics. The hero gives his word about something and then can't break it.
Like, to the detriment of himself or others.
In this case, Aubrey swears he won't say anything bad about Ruthven for one year.
Due to those somewhat spoilery circumstances, Aubrey doesn't see the harm in his promise.


Alright, I knew how this was going to turn out from the get-go.
I read the comic, remember?
But even if I hadn't, I think most readers today would see how failure to speak up was going to come back and bite Aubrey in the ass.

Get past all of that and you've got one hell of a fun classic.


In the audiobook version I read, there was the inclusion of some letters by (it never says who) an apologist and fan of Byron who apparently is traveling around to places he has been and picking up the local stories about him. All of them are along the lines of, He was a great chap! Bought our daughter a piano! Tips well!, kind of stuff. I have no feelings about Lord Byron one way or another as I have yet to read anything he wrote, and that's mostly because I don't enjoy reading poetry.
Which probably tells a lot of you all you need to know about me.


I said all of that to say this, I wouldn't recommend this particular audiobook because of that. I was confused for the entirety of the reading and had to go search out another reading of the story (on YouTube of all places) to decipher what the actual story was. The letters blended into this one and I couldn't tell at first if they were part of the original story Polidori wrote or what? In the end, I don't know what they were doing there (other than the story's connection to Byron) because all I wanted was The Vampyre story.
If anyone knows the answer, please feel free to chime in because I already know I'm a dumbass and might be missing something that's fairly obvious to someone else.


But I do think this is an excellent book and I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to bone up on their vampyre lore. I mean, this is short.
I appreciate that, sir.

Audiobook version
B7 Media
read by Gary Turner
English 1h 29m
Part 7 of the Victorian Horror series
Profile Image for Julie .
4,080 reviews59k followers
December 11, 2021
Vampyre by John William Polidori is a 2017 Open Road Media publication. (Originally published in 1819)

I’ve been meaning to read this short story for years. Every fall when I find myself in the mood for a good scary story, I pause to consider this book, then I see the ratings and reviews, and give it a pass. This year, I decided that, because it was written even before Bram Stroker’s vampire masterpiece, I really should check it out. It is such a short story that it would take no time to read it, and then I could decide for myself if the ratings were justified or not.

Honestly, I don’t see why people have judged this book so harshly. It’s subtle, for sure, and it doesn’t have much going on, as far as bloody graphics go.

Still, when one thinks back to the time period the book was written in, and the many rumors that circulated about the ‘undead’, I think the atmosphere was probably unsettling to readers of that time, and it effectively captured a sinister sense of foreboding in an extremely sparse amount of time and space.

I think some modern readers are so jaded and desensitized they have trouble sensing atmospheric nuance. Personally, I thought the book, short as it was, had a few chilling moments- they just weren't dripping in blood and gore...

I'll skip the lecture on how an atmosphere is harder to create because I'm sure it would just fall on deaf ears.


The story is too brief to cover more than just the basics of vampire lore- but it does set the stage for the classic tales of the undead that came later, and it is quite apparent these later stories 'borrowed' from this tale- and as such, it deserves its place in history.

Not only that, but the story is also part of the writing challenge between Bryon, Shelley and Polidori- a challenge that produced Shelley’s Frankenstein- so there is that.

The story is fairly simple, not groundbreaking like Shelley's work, by any means, but certainly not as bad as everyone made it sound.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Kay .
2,041 reviews770 followers
October 17, 2022
This is a short story published in 1819. I thought the background of this story is fascinating. In 1816, three friends spent the summer at Lake Geneva and decided to write ghost stories because the weather was cold and gloomy from volcanic eruption (The year without summer). As a result, we have The Vampyre and Frankenstein. 🙌

This is free to read: gutenberg.org, archive.org, Amazon
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,119 reviews44.8k followers
October 31, 2017
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.
Profile Image for Justin Tate.
Author 7 books971 followers
May 30, 2021
"The Vampyre" is a very short work, scarcely more than 20 pages, but contains a novel's worth of intrigue and horror. The dark atmosphere, taste for female blood, and demonic powers of the titular monster are just a few of the signature qualities that Bram Stoker stole and perfected. The short length does leave much to the imagination, which is possibly what makes it so terrifying.

The vampyre, Lord Ruthven, is expertly introduced in the first pages. We learn that anyone near him feels strange sensations that are both unnerving and compelling. Women who get too close soon act like harlots, even if they're married. His laugh is outwardly pleasant, but inwardly frightening. What we don't know is the full extent of his powers, his origins, or what precisely motivates him. Marks on his victims, such as bites on the neck and breast, suggest a taste for blood--but it's not stated as explicitly as that. By the end we are almost certain that such monstrosities exist, but are equally uncertain about how to spot one or prevent certain death when you do.

Prior to Dracula, vampires were largely urban legends whose existence spread in the oral tradition. Rules around their powers and limitations were not established and varied drastically depending on the storyteller. Polidori seems to intentionally play with that lore, offering enough plausible details to spark the imagination, without going so far as to establish any steadfast vampiric rules.

Horror scholars and vampire enthusiasts would be amiss to not be familiar with this classic. Hard to believe that it was published 80 years before Dracula and was not the only literary masterwork to be drafted while a group of writers, bored on a rainy day, challenged each other to write ghost stories to pass the time. Those in attendance included Mary Shelley, Percy Shelley, Lord Byron and John Polidori. Mary Shelley would begin Frankenstein during the contest while Lord Byron wrote a draft of this story, which Polidori adapted and ultimately published.

Frankenstein and a story that inspired Dracula both originated on the same night?? Literary history doesn’t get much better than that.

It appears "The Vampyre" is commonly anthologized and also available as a stand-alone. Given it’s in the public domain, I’m sure it’s also easy to read for free online. If anybody has read this or decides to give it a try, please leave a comment! I’m obsessed and would love to chat more about it.
Profile Image for Fernando.
685 reviews1,127 followers
March 6, 2020
Bram Stoker no fue el primero en escribir sobre vampiros. Drácula tiene sus antecesores. Y el padre de todos ellos se llamó lord Ruthven, ya que increíblemente alguien como John Polidori, que no provenía del mundo de las letras sino que era médico, pertrechó esta historia escalofriante en 1819 y que surge como un desafío de su paciente, Lord Byron, el poeta más emblemático del romanticismo inglés junto con Percy Bysshe Shelley y la que sería su esposa, Mary Shelley (Goodwin por entonces) durante un encuentro en un castillo durante el verano de 1816 en Diodati, Ginebra.
El porte maléfico e hipnótico de lord Ruthven sería un modelo a seguir por varios autores, incluidos el máximo referente del romanticismo alemán, E.T.A. Hoffmann con su cuento “Vampirismo” en 1821 y por Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu con “Carmilla”, publicada en 1872 con la aparición de la primera mujer vampiro de esta eterna y oscura saga de chupadores de sangre.
Fue recién en 1897 cuando Bram Stoker publica “Drácula”, que se erigiría como el mejor vampiro de todos los tiempos.
Volviendo a “El vampiro”, de Polidori, uno reconoce que el autor supo disponer de la tensión necesaria para contarnos la historia de la relación entre el oscuro lord Ruthven y el joven Aubrey.
El final es como todo el cuento: intenso. En este relato también aparece por primera vez el término “vampiro”.
Hay que remontarse muchos siglos atrás para encontrarnos con estos seres sobrenaturales pero es a partir de Polidori que la palabra se “moderniza” para transformarse en un término habitual entre los lectores.
Excelente cuento el de Polidori por ser el puntapié inicial de todo lo que conoceríamos después en este género.
Profile Image for Steven Serpens.
47 reviews32 followers
October 1, 2023
CALIFICACIÓN REAL: 3.5 estrellas

Un relato bastante corto, lo que para algunos podría traducirse a pequeñez, pero que aun así marca un hito de proporciones abismales para la literatura: la creación de la primera historia vampírica en occidente, tal como la conocemos hoy en día. La cual suele corresponderse con la clásica y sombría figura del distinguido ser de alto abolengo y sediento de sangre.

Considerando que estamos ante el planteamiento de una trama fundacional -por así decirlo-, la historia que aquí se presenta es bastante interesante e innovadora, por obvias razones. Y si bien tengo claro que El vampiro es una obra imprescindible para quienes disfrutamos del horror y todas estas temáticas y vertientes afines, no la recomiendo para el todo mundo. Digo esto, porque, aunque ostente una trama realmente atrapante y con un ritmo que fluye rápidamente, como lectura no es precisamente así de ágil ni ligera, ya que se le notan un poco los años encima, y comprendo perfectamente de que esto puede avasallar fácilmente a más de alguno; en mi caso, la disfruté plenamente.
Su planteamiento se centra principalmente en dos personajes: Aubrey, nuestro protagonista quien logra establecer una cercanía o amistad con lord Ruthven, el otro personaje, quien además, es el misterioso y enigmático ser que le da el título esta historia. Éste individuo suele en las personas con las que se relaciona, y así es como le dará trama a este breve cuento.

Los mejores momentos de El vampiro son durante la noche en los bosques griegos, anterior y posterior al desenlace de Ianthe; y la recta final, cuando ya queda muy poco plazo para la fecha límite del juramento. En esta última parte, se logra transmitir a la vez que también nos hace ‘’empatizar’’ de cierto modo con la frustración e impotencia del protagonista, a pesar de la simplicidad y poca profundidad que él carece como personaje principal. Inclusive, el mismísimo lord Ruthven también sufre de tal carencia, pero en su caso, esto puede ayudar y reforzar el crearle un aura más misteriosa a su figura.
Cuando se tiene a un personaje con cierta ambigüedad, eso es algo que puede convertirse en un arma de doble filo, tanto para bien como para mal. En este caso, me parece correcto, aunque dudo que su simplicidad haya sido concebida con tal propósito e intención.

Por otra parte, destaco muy gratamente que en esta obra se tengan en cuenta las costumbres de aquellas épocas de antaño. Representa muy bien su contexto histórico y la sociedad de aquel entonces, concordante con la historia y las situaciones presentadas.
Me gusta también el cómo se le empiezan a dar pinceladas al mito vampírico: que tras la ‘’muerte’’ de uno de estos seres, la identidad del afectado deba permanecer sin que nadie se entere del suceso por un año y un día; que su cuerpo tenga que ser dejado en algún sitio de gran altura antes de que el primer rayo de la luna toque dicho lugar, etc. Estos son esbozos de cosas que se desarrollarán de forma más efectiva y notoria en décadas posteriores a este relato, pero que tienen sus bases a partir de lo presentado aquí.
Otra cosa que llamó mi atención es cómo se le atribuye algo del folclore vampírico a los griegos, cuando ellos son afines a otros tipos de cosmovisiones y criaturas.
De igual forma tengo que mencionar que, en cierta parte, se menciona a la zona italiana de Otranto. ¿Será esta una señal para que me apresure en leer El castillo de Otranto, de Horace Walpole? Puede ser.

No obstante, tengo algunos reparos que agregar. Primeramente, debo confesar que nunca he sido simpatizante de los finales felices, clichés o cosas así; pero el final de esta historia a eso. Aunque no lo menciono a modo de destacárselo, sino que por todo lo contrario, ya que no tiene propósito de que sea así. ¿Esperar un año completo para casarse con alguien solo para que la prometida se convierta en tu alimento? Bueno, en la realidad esto sí ocurría de cierta manera, y quizás podría ser una especie de alegoría a cuando los hombres esperaban bastante tiempo con sus prometidas hasta llegar a la luna de miel y por fin desflorar a sus esposas; pero ¿era necesaria la boda para la trama? Este macabro accionar podía haberse dado en cualquier momento o con otra mujer, como acostumbraba hacer lord Ruthven. No tiene sentido para la trama, más que por alguna intención de fastidiar y/o acabar con los Aubrey, si es que no se tiene en cuenta lo anterior. No hay una coherencia que sea muy lógica o práctica para esto.
Tampoco hay que olvidar que este vampiro es una supuesta representación del poeta lord Byron. Puede que el autor Polidori se haya visto interesado en alguna mujer y Byron hiciese de las suyas con ella y/o la haya lastimado. Muy probablemente ese es el significado real o la metáfora de toda esta lectura.
Asimismo durante algunos pasajes específicos de la historia, se hace énfasis en una peculiar daga, de la cual hasta su vaina encuentran; pero esta no es usada para nada. Yo pensé que podía tratarse de algún arma ceremonial importante o que haya sido forjada para ser usada en contra del vampiro o algo así, pero no. Es un elemento totalmente innecesario y muy desperdiciado, ya que daba para cuestiones realmente interesantes. Aun así, espero que dicha daga haya estado forjada en plata... wait a moment. Pero qué aberración acabo de decir, si la plata es el talón de Aquiles para los licántropos, no el de los vampiros...

En conclusión, hay que tener muy claro y en cuenta de que nos encontramos ante una de las obras más importantes para el horror, la cual, además, presenta una muy buena y atrapante historia. Mi calificación es de 3.5 estrellas. Y como anteriormente mencioné, puede que El vampiro no sea disfrutable para todos, debido a su antigüedad; pero nos brinda muy buenas ambientaciones y lugares, junto con una trama que está bastante bien hecha y contada; salvo por los reparos personales que tengo, pero que se le perdonan.
No soy muy afín a las temáticas vampíricas, pero algún día terminaré lo iniciado acá, con Carmilla, de Sheridan Le Fanu; y Drácula, de Bram Stoker.
Profile Image for Beverly.
835 reviews314 followers
December 18, 2022
The first novel about a vampire in English literature, The Vampire is short and repetitive. The protagonist is a bit of a twit too, because he doesn't realize what's happening to all the young, beautiful girls that he knows until it's too late.

Polidori was the first to write of the bloodsuckers so I gave him a star for that alone. More interesting than this story is the tale of its genesis in the year without a summer in Lord Byron's vacation villa.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,157 followers
July 16, 2019
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.

Profile Image for Sarah.
368 reviews93 followers
October 18, 2022
I’m so curious about vampires lately. Yes, it’s Halloween, and yes I’m a research junkie, learning the evolution of a persistent lore.

But I think it's something deeper: a principle I need to re-learn.

Vampires nuzzle in close, pierce protective boundaries, sap vitality with a slurp and a moan before vanishing into the night. They leave you empty, dry.

I’ve been a vampire, at times.
I’ve also been a vampire magnet.

My career is a vampire if I forget to lock it up at night.
My faith is a vampire if I fail to exercise critical thought.

It’s so healthy to give with your whole heart, and to receive in like manner.

But these last few days - and this story in particular - have reminded me how quickly love can turn to vampirism. I have nothing substantial to give unless I jealously defend my difference. Separateness. Yours and mine. Always, even if we share the same God, parents, values, bed.

Interconnection requires differentiation, distinctions (nooks and protrusions) others can adhere to, or push away from, to form a grander, pointillized picture.

Blood. Life. Dysfunction. Health.

It's all here in these old stories.

Note: I read The Vampyre at night, after long days hiking Yellowstone and Mesa Verde NPs. The creepy, post-apocalyptic feel of Yellowstone in particular (a geyser-spouting, fumarole-fogging geothermal wonderland) was the perfect backdrop to this creepy tale.

A lot of the language is old - alternately dense and flowery, and it’s sometimes out to prove intelligence at the cost of sensory delight. But it’s a solid, suspenseful story; a firm foundation for the profusion of vampire tales springing from its bedrock.

If nothing else, it serves as a reminder to sheathe those teeth, and carry a big wooden stake, on those needy nights when vampires are lurking in shadows.

Book/Song Pairing: Hunger (Florence + The Machine)

Profile Image for Charles  van Buren.
1,769 reviews196 followers
October 27, 2022
Review of free Kindle edition
A Public Domain Book
Publication date: May 12, 2012
Language: English
ASIN: B0082U0CS0
65 pages

Long misattributed to Lord Byron this story was actually written by his then friend and personal physician, John Polidori. It was wriiten during the same time frame as Mary Wollstonecraft's FRANKENSTEIN. Both were written as a result of Byron's suggestion that each of the group at his Swiss villa write a ghost story. He himself wrote a story fragment then gave up on it. Polidori used the fragment to write THE VAMPYRE, A TALE.

THE VAMPYRE was the first vampire tale written in English and the first to use the now familiar trope of the aristocratic creature of the night. It is considered to be the progenitor of the modern romantic vampire story. It was first published in 1819 without Polidori's permission and misattributed to Lord Byron, The story never achieved the success of FRANKENSTEIN for good reason - it just isn't as good. Neither as entertainment nor as a delving into philosophy and theology. However, fans of vampire stories should probably read it as it is the story which started the whole thing.
Profile Image for Victorian Spirit.
221 reviews721 followers
February 28, 2021
Se dice que Polidori descargó en el relato todo el odio y desamor que sentía por Byron, al utilizarlo como modelo para el vampiro de la historia.

El gran aporte de Polidori a la temática de vampiros fue convertir a este ser en un personaje reconocido, de la aristocracia, hecho que influyó de manera determinante en la fijación del mito años después por parte de Le Fanu, Dumas o Stoker y su ‘Drácula’).

Me gustó que, pese a lo breve que es, plantea una historia muy interesante con un villano bastante desasosegante (mucho más si se analiza desde el punto de vista de las vivencias de Polidori con Byron). Además, su final es muy efectivo, a pesar de que sea previsible. Me parece una lectura perfecta para una tarde en la que apetezca algo oscuro y terrorífico.

RESEÑA COMPLETA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBp4s...
Profile Image for Axl Oswaldo.
332 reviews166 followers
July 18, 2022
The Vampyre by John Polidori is one of those stories I wanted to read probably since I read Frankenstein about two years ago. For some reason I never gave it a go until now, and I must confess it was by no means the reading experience I was expecting.
I do understand its importance, though. I can tell it was one of the first gothic stories ever written, and the first vampire story in English literature; however, we shouldn't read this book with the idea we currently have about vampires because the experience might be really different, perhaps disappointing after all, and yet I believe The Vampyre might somehow live up to anyone's expectations. Unfortunately, I'm not a part of those people who very much enjoyed reading this book, and even when I read it twice in a row—once I finished it the first time I was like "what did I just read?," and the second time it was more like "well, I liked it a little bit more this time, but I'm still missing something"—I couldn't feel anything but disappointment.

Please don't get me wrong, I still believe this is a good story, however, I am almost sure the problem was not only me, but also the book; for instance, when it comes to gothic literature I was used to reading powerful, compelling stories, such as The Monk or Frankenstein, whereas The Vampyre was somewhat simple, probably a story without a real purpose or direction. Now, Polidori's narrative was beautiful and easy to read to a certain point, and that actually reminded me of my previous experience reading, for example, The Monk—the best gothic novel I've read so far—since made me feel interested both in the plot and in the characters, but again, the story of Lord Ruthven as the first literary vampire didn't say anything new to me.

Perhaps the main problem for me was the fact that the story is too short and everything is happening too fast, therefore I couldn't see a deep development of the characters, and also the plot was boring at times. Having said that, there were two things I truly loved: the atmosphere and the ending. The atmosphere was the typical one you can find in a really good gothic novel, a gloomy, dark, ominous atmosphere that is constantly making you feel 'terrified' (it's not like watching a good horror movie, that's a different thing); as for the ending, it was, in my view, the best part of the book, since we have indeed a pure, typical gothic ending—the only moment I couldn't put the book down—that tells you what's going on with every character, leaving the reader almost without any questions beyond what has happened.

All in all, The Vampyre is a 3-star book for me, as I did like some parts of the story but I also didn't like some other things that nonetheless might be interesting for other readers. I hope you guys enjoy it more than I did, and just in case: this is absolutely not a bad story, but it is a story that, subjectivity speaking, didn't give me almost anything new.

But why attempt to describe charms which all feel, but none can appreciate? -- It was innocence, youth, and beauty, unaffected by crowded drawing-rooms and stifling balls.
Profile Image for Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣.
651 reviews407 followers
December 19, 2016

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.
Profile Image for Peter.
2,795 reviews500 followers
November 8, 2018
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!
Profile Image for Louie the Mustache Matos.
1,012 reviews75 followers
September 28, 2022
The Vampyre is a classic, gothic horror, short story originally published in 1819 written by John William Polidori based on a tale told by Lord Byron on that historic weekend with Percy and Mary Shelley that gave birth to several monster mythologies. Here, the main character, Aubrey, meets Lord Ruthven in London and becomes fast friends with him. They decide to travel Europe together, but when Lord Ruthven seduces the underage daughter of a mutual friend, Aubrey is scandalized and decides to continue his travels without Lord Ruthven. When Aubrey arrives in Greece, he falls in love with Ianthe who educates him about the folkloric elements on which the vampire legends are based. When Lord Ruthven arrives in Greece, horrific things begin to happen. There is more, but I will not communicate any further story beats. The book is short so there really is not much more to tell, other than what makes this tale significant is that it gathers much of the vampire lore into a cohesive plot that would be emulated many times into the present. Classic because it satisfies all three criteria: longevity, paradigm shift, and exceptionalism.
Profile Image for Annie.
49 reviews310 followers
November 2, 2015

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.

June 14, 2012
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.
Profile Image for Huda Aweys.
Author 5 books1,328 followers
March 29, 2015
اول محاولة جادة للكتابة في مايدعى بأدب (مصاصي الدماء) و التى تلاها فيما بعد رواية (دراكيولا) المشهورة عام 1897 و التى كان من الملاحظ انها سارت على نفس القواعد التى سبق و ان ارستها هذه المحاولة لهذا النوع من الأدب الرائج فى عصرنا الحالى و اللى من آخر ابداعاته المشهورة سلسلة
تاريخ مهم جدا اتقابل فيه (بيرسي بيش شيلى) و عروسته (مارى شيلي) مبدعة (فرانكنشتاين) ، مع شاعر انجلترا المشهور لورد (بيرون) و طبيبه
((جون بوليدورى))
مبدع هذه القصة .. في جنيف ، و اتفقوا على ان يقوم كل منهم بكتاية قصة تتحدث عن أمر خارق للطبيعة
الكاتبان المشهوران في ذلك الحين بيرسي بيش و لورد بيرون عجزوا عن استكمال التحدى الحميمي اللى اتفقوا عليه مع الكاتبين الهاويين مارى شيلي و بوليدوري ، بينما خط كل من مارى و بوليدورى رائعته المشهورة
((مصاص الدماء))

من الجدير بالذكر أنه قد توفي بوليدورى كاتب هذه القصة و عمره 26 عاما مثقلا بالديون و الاكتئاب
و لم تكتب له الشهرة او لقصته الا بعد وفاته
Profile Image for Anne.
446 reviews79 followers
October 14, 2021
The Vampyre; a Tale is an 1819 horror short story. I was only interested in reading this book because of its association with Frankenstein. This work was written by John William Polidori during a contest in which Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, and also Lord Byron and Percy Shelley participated.

I count Frankenstein as a great book. Where The Vampyre; a Tale was confusing, overly detailed, with awkward writing. Nothing about the 20-page story engaged my attention.

The audio book narrated by Gary Turner was good, but nothing special. Unfortunately, I could not tell by the contents list there were three other parts on the audio besides the story.

After checking an eBook copy, I found the first part is Extract of a Letter from Geneva (a boring and rambling 29 minutes on the audio); the second part is an Introduction ( this seemed to be a hodgepodge of vampire facts) that span three pages; third is the tale, The Vampyre; and finally is Extract of a Letter, Containing an Account of Lord Byron’s Residence in the Island of Mitylene (another boring rambling 11 minutes on the audio). I list the parts for you in the hope, if you still want to listen to the audio of The Vampyre; a Tale, you may wisely skip to the tale that starts around the 22% mark.

The Wiki says The Vampyre; a Tale “is often viewed as the progenitor of the romantic vampire genre of fantasy fiction.” While I enjoy reading books that are early influencers of genres, I would not have missed anything had I skipped this one. As far as early vampire books go, I would recommend Carmilla over this one.

Profile Image for Alberto Delgado.
597 reviews107 followers
November 26, 2020
Hasta hace unos días no tenía conocimiento de la existencia de este relato que descubrí gracias a un video del canal Victorian Spirit. La primera sorpresa es que el autor que era el medico de Byron lo escribió en Villa Diodati en el mismo momento en el que Mary Shelley daba vida a su Frankenstein con esas casualidades que tiene a veces el destino. Este pequeño relato dio vida al mito del vampiro aristocrático que luego perfeccionaron autores posteriores con el mas famoso de todos en el Drácula de Bram Stoker y me ha sorprendido que Dumas se inspiró en este personaje creado por Polidori para su Conde de Montecristo. La verdad es que su corta longitud hace que la historia no esté muy desarrollada pero el argumento es fantástico y hubiera dado para un novela de mayor envergadura. Para todos los amantes de las historias de terror y en particular de las historias vampíricas indispensable el leerlo.
Profile Image for Sr3yas.
223 reviews1,003 followers
February 5, 2017
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"
Profile Image for Werner.
Author 3 books601 followers
April 13, 2014
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.)
Profile Image for Lau .
659 reviews127 followers
December 22, 2018
Me gustó y me atrapó muy rápido. Es interesante, aunque sólo sea por haber sido el gran precursor de las historias de vampiros romantizados.
Me hubiera gustado aún más que fuera más extenso, ya que por momentos lo sentí apresurado. La historia podría haber sido del largo de un libro grande porque todos los personajes son interesantes. Quizás eso fue lo que pensó Bram Stoker.
En la introducción dice que el personaje del vampiro fue inspirado en Lord Byron, según al menos la visión de Polidori. Hermoso como un martillazo en un dedo.
Profile Image for Olivia-Savannah.
792 reviews493 followers
May 3, 2020
I found this story to be fairly pointless and pretty boring. The main character is incredibly weak and useless, and the ending is very abrupt.

I credit this because it brought on vampires (and I tend to love everything vampires.)

This short story though, was a disappointment.

I read this for university.
Profile Image for Peter.
777 reviews120 followers
April 2, 2016
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!
Profile Image for Sam Quixote.
4,544 reviews12.9k followers
July 31, 2011
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.
Profile Image for Mary-Lisa Russo.
Author 7 books74 followers
November 4, 2022
I appreciate this short, gothic story written in 1819 by John William Polidori. I find; however, that it did not thrill me like Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's "Carmilla." (I could barely contain my excitement writing that review). The latter is still juicy and vivid in my mind, much like other great reads such as "The Picture of Dorian Gray."

My mind wandered a bit while reading "The Vampyre." It just did not hook me in. I am even hesitant to write that as I did so expect it to entrance me like "Carmilla" did. The writing is strong, but a sizzling air of suspense did not come through for me. It does not mean it would not be fully appreciated by another reader. I knocked off one star for the above-noted. It is still a classic worth reading.
Profile Image for Plateresca.
352 reviews73 followers
September 10, 2019
My mom read this story to me when I was little, and I lost my sleep for nights as a result. I dreamt she married a vampyre, of course, although in my dreams I was not sure whether it was my stern and distant father or somebody else.
(I am happy to remark that it takes more to make my own daughter lose sleep, e. g., a foreign cat accidentally locked in our garage and protesting about it. Also, I am myself as of now unmarried to any vampire, although I've certainly known more than one energy vampires in my life, and am so not looking forward to seeing one of them this week.)

I now understand (I think) what locked my attention then: the theme of the inability to express oneself, to be heard and understood. In the story, when one learns the old legend, one just doesn't believe it; and then, when one is actually faced with... the legend, one can't speak about it. As a child, one feels so helpless at communication most of the time, doesn't one? (Or probably I feel thus even now more than I care to admit). So I probably sympathised greatly with this failure to explain anything properly.

Of course, the vampyre bit in itself seems a bit naive now, after the things Gary Oldman did as Dracula and the writings of Anne Rice, but we probably wouldn't have known vampires as we do nowadays if not for Polidori, and for that I am grateful :)
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