The Vampyre, a Tale

Cover image for


Author: John Polidori
Published: 1819
Language: English
Wordcount: 12,940 / 44 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 45.7
LoC Category: PT
Downloads: 8,796 5725

as put forth some learned dissertations, tending to prove it to be a classical, as well as barbarian error.

Many curious and interesting notices on this singularly horrible superstition might be added; though the present may suffice for the limits of a note, necessarily devoted to explanation, and which may now be concluded by merely remarking, that though the term Vampyre is the one in most general acceptation, there are several others synonimous with it, made use of in various parts of the world: as Vroucolocha, Vardoulacha, Goul, Broucoloka, &c.


IT happened that in the midst of the dissipations attendant upon a London winter, there appeared at the various parties of the leaders of the ton a nobleman, more remarkable for his singularities, than his rank. He gazed upon the mirth around him, as if he could not participate therein. Apparently, the


Average Rating of 4 from 2 reviews: ****
Lisa Carr

There are many, many typos in the story, some of which can't be deciphered. The story itself begins 20 percent of the way through the book, and ends 60 percent of the way. The rest is tedious nonsense.
The story itself is pretty good. A pretty and naive Englishman hooks up with the strange Lord Ruthven to travel through Europe. As he gets to know Ruthven, he discovers he is very generous to dissolute beggars, but stingy to the worthy poor. He also likes to corrupt innocent women.
The actual bloodsucking never gets exposed, it just happens.
Nicely plotted with a fitting ending.


During the snowy summer of 1816, the "Year Without A Summer," the world was locked in in a long cold volcanic winter responsible for the deaths of million, caused by the eruption of Tambora in 1815. In this terrible year, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley visited Lord Byron in Switzerland. After reading an anthology of German ghost stories, Byron challenged the Shelleys and his personal physician John William Polidori to each compose a story of their own. Of the four, only Polidori completed a story, though Mary conceived an idea, and this was the germ of Frankenstein.

It is worth noting that Byron managed to write a fragment based on the vampire legends he heard while traveling the Balkans. Polidori used this fragment to create the novel The Vampyre (1819), which is the origin of all subsequent vampire literature. Thus, the Frankenstein and vampire themes were created from that single circumstance.

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