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The Vampyre: 1819 (Revolution and Romanticism, 1789-1834) Hardcover – October, 2001


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About the Author

John William Polidori was born on September 7, 1795, in London, England, the oldest of eight children. One of the first students at Ampleforth College in 1804, he graduated from the University of Edinburgh as a doctor of medicine at the age of 19. In 1816, he became the personal physician of Lord Byron, accompanying him on a European tour. There, they met Mary and Percy Shelley, and read aloud from “Tales of the Dead.” It was then, that each of them decided to write a ghost story, Mary writing “Frankenstein,” and Polidori writing “The Vampyre.” In 1819, the story was published without his permission and mistakenly attributed to Lord Byron. Polidori dies on August 24, 1821, at the age of 25, in London, England. It was a possible suicide, although the verdict was natural causes. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Revolution and Romanticism, 1789-1834
  • Hardcover: 84 pages
  • Publisher: Woodstock Books (October 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1854772554
  • ISBN-13: 978-1854772558
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,176,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Wild on November 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
Probably more legend surrounds the writing of this novella than the actual story itself. Polidori never received more than a few pounds, but the Vampire was translated into over seven languages and adapted for a play on the continent. Goethe cheekily says that it was the best thing Byron ever wrote!

However much this might be based on Byron's fragment, Polidori wrote it at the behest of a patroness after leaving Byron's service. Polidori had been teased and ostracised by Byron and the Shelleys. He himself was volatile and had probably had enough of being called Pollydolly.

The Vampire was published without poor Polly's permission, and under Byron's name. It sold like hotcakes. The mixture of melodrama and intrigue delighted the public and began our modern obsession with vampires which just won't die. Yes, there's the cliche of the innocent woman, Ianthe, getting seduced by the mysterious stranger, and her relation's slow unravelling of the danger. But it was Polidori's modelling of the Vampire on his ex-employer that has given this book longevity and made it a genre setter.

The Vampire is written quite well - the prose may be over-flowery but Mary Shelley's Frankenstein suffers from the same. The unravelling of the story as Lord Ruthven (pronounced Riven) takes the protganists further into his confidences, and the amusing ending, make it worth a read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
"The Vampyre" has a pretty impressive pedigree -- it was first dreamed up on the same legendary night as Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" and the title character is based on Lord Byron (who actually got credited for the story). In fact, the history of Dr. John Polidori's short story is more fascinating than the story itself, a brief purple-prosed tale of innocence destroyed and a sinister aristocratic vampire.

A very naive, romantic young man named Aubrey becomes acquainted with a mysterious aristocrat named Lord Ruthven, and decides to go on a tour of Europe with him. But he soon discovers that Ruthven isn't the idealized romantic figure he thought -- he's cruel, depraved and has a corrupting influence on everyone he gets involved with.

Aubrey soon abandons Ruthven and flees to Greece, where he falls in love with a beautiful peasant girl -- only to have her die from a vampiric attack, followed by Ruthven being killed by bandits. Even more shocking, Ruthven reappears in London -- alive and well -- when Aubrey returns, and he has some spectacularly sinister plans in mind for Aubrey's sister.

The main character may be a vampire, but Polidori's story is less of a horror story and more of a study of innocence's destruction. Not only does Ruthven apparently wreck the morals of everyone he becomes close to (although we're never told how), but even the pure-hearted Aubrey turns into a glassy-eyed crazy wreck because of Ruthven.

Writingwise, I hope Polidori was a better doctor than he was a writer. His writing isn't BAD, but he tends to ramble in a purple, prim, distant style -- it feels like the entire story is a summary of someone else's novel, and he skims over the most interesting stuff like Ruthven's actual cruelty or his wooing of Aubrey's sister.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jedi Zombie on June 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
Well i must say that this book was given to me when i was like 8 yrs old, i read the book and have been hooked ever since on horror books especially vampire books and it's more than 10 yrs later and i still read this book! I give it 5 stars because this is a great book for young readers that want to start reading horror or vampire books..
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T. Hilburn on July 2, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was very fortunate to stumble upon this book due to Amazon's recommendations. Although, a short read, the novel does not leave you without an anticipatory hunger for what is to happen next.
The foundation runs along the same lines as Dracula, with the lurid and ominously surreptitious vampire, whom reveals his true self to only one person; which in turn drives this person into madness.
The conclusion left me with the chills. I enjoyed it very much!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Koppel on August 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
Many years ago a group of friends got together and tried to scare each other with scary stories. Among the group were Lord Byron, The poet Shelly and his wife Mary, and Byron's physician John Polidori. Mary Shelly's tale, Frankenstein: A Modern Prometheus, has lived on as has The Vampyre by John Polidori. The Vampyre was the first major English vampire story. Fleshcreepers attempts to bring this classic tale to a younger audience.

The story opens as a young man of means encounters a dead woman one night. The scene haunts him as he seems to get drawn into other dark scenes. He becomes fascinated by a the Lord Ruthven, an aristocrat of mysterious nature. He even goes so far as to go on a tour of Europe with him. But soon the young man begins to suspect that not is all as it seems with the Lord. His suspicions and their resolution make up the rest of the story.

This is an entertaining tale, and while intended for younger readers, is far from genteel. The adaptation does a good job of building the terror and horror and inevitable conclusion. A pretty spooky little book.
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Format: Paperback
A young man Aubrey is coming of age and tags along with Lord Ruthven, his friend and mentor, across Europe. Aubrey is enamored with Lord Ruthven sophisticated ways until his guardians point out that Lord Ruthven is depraved. Now he sees Ruthven in a new light an disides to strike out on his own.

While in Greece he is informed of vampires. Not really believing in them he realizes that their description matches Lord Ruthven.

He is in for a shocker however I will not go through the whole story as you will be fascinated to read it as it unfolded.

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I came to this book through the back door. After watching a movie "The Vampire's Ghost" (1945) I found the main character Webb Fallon loosely based on Lord Ruthven. So I had to read the book
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