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The Vampyre; A Tale

3.32  ·  Rating Details ·  3,575 Ratings  ·  318 Reviews
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John Polidori's The Vampyre; A Tale was a product of the same ghost-story competition that produced Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein".

Set in Italy, Greece, and London, The Vampyre is a reaction to the dominating presence of his employer Lord Byron, and transformed the figure of the vampire
Nook, 33 pages
Published November 27th 2010 by Spastic Cat Press (first published 1819)
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May 30, 2011 Stephen rated it really liked it
Before DRACULA...
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 d
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

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

Huda Aweys
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 بكتاي
 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
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
Apr 01, 2016 Peter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
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!
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
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 ...more
An enjoyable and quite scary story! A little dragging at times. It's the first written vampire story in the English language, preceding Dracula and Carmilla.
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
Sam Quixote
Jul 31, 2011 Sam Quixote rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Melinda Jane Harrison
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 ...more
Ana Rînceanu
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.
"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 ...more
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 ...more
Karla V. H.
A pesar de ser un relato muy corto que se lee "en una sentada" me emocionó y sorprendió mucho.

A pesar de que esta edición de planeta tiene algunos errores muy tontos de edición, descubrí cosas emocionantes sobre la figura de Polidori. La que más me emocionó fue saber que era tío de Dante Gabriel Rossetti, fundador de los prerrafaelitas, personaje que admiro un montón. Sin duda, este -tristemente- no reconocido autor era una figura muy interesante, me hubiera gustado que su trabajo como escritor
Sep 15, 2015 Kushnuma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
This is one of the first published stories relating to vampyre's.
Karl Drinkwater
Nowadays mainstream bookshops seem to have a whole section devoted to vampire novels, which usually seem to be some form of undead Mills & Boon. Like many classic monsters the vampire comes and goes in the night, waxing and waning in popularity. Where did the vampire fiction genre come from?

Many would say Bram Stoker's Dracula, published in 1897 (download the novel at the excellent Project Gutenberg site, as text or audio file). However, the first novella which established many of the vampir
Serena.. Sery-ously?
E' un racconto abbastanza breve, ma mi è piaciuto in gran parte per il finale che, lo ammetto, non mi aspettavo. EVVAI!
E forza con il team vampiro, a scapito degli umani cretini.. :D
Oltre a ciò, ho trovato - seppur dispersiva e non proprio facile - la scrittura di Polidori davvero ammirabile: poetica, raffinata con ben poco spazio al dialogo, che viene però sopperito da descrizioni vivide.
Forse è un po' confusionario e lascia al lettore molte domande, credo che se lo avesse trasformato in un rom
juan carlos
Sep 17, 2015 juan carlos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Lo que rescato de este libro, es como un mito se puede hacer realidad, y como la locura y el valor de proteger a una hermana, son claves importantes del terror. Polidori hace una gran relato y al mismo tiempo una genial sátira y homenaje a la época en la cual vivía.
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.
*~Lan Lan~*
This was quite an interesting read in the fact that it is one of the very first vampire tales told in English Literature, even before Stoker's masterpiece: Dracula.

(Source: from the classic film Nosferatu by Werner Herzog)

This was a tad dull and followed a lot of the story arcs of Frankenstein, with the obvious similarities with Aubry's character with Doctor Frankenstein's (primarily with the intense curiosity leading to hysteria and then (view spoiler)). But, what was inte
Siamese Mayhem
Jul 19, 2015 Siamese Mayhem rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who need a history lesson
The place where vampires all began, and it’s even really short! Some people moan that Twilight ruined vampires, that vampires used to be scary and now they’re too sexy to be scary, that the vampire genre is dead (but why is dead a bad thing?), etc. I’m here to tell you that they are all WRONG. Nothing has changed in the last 200 years. Sociopathic undead hotties have always preyed on susceptible teenage girls with a bit more charm than is good for anyone. And, yes, they have always been sexy.

And diabolical.

Oct 29, 2014 Antonia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 19th-century
This is the first vampire story in the English language (that I know of). The story of how this came to be is pretty well-known: Byron, Polidori, Mary and Percy Shelley (together with Mary's step sister Claire) were vacationing near Lake Geneva, and due to a combination of terrible weather and recreational drugs (i.e. laudanum) they decided to host a contest and come up with the best stories. Mary wrote what would later become "Frankenstein" and Polidori produced "The Vampyre". Nobody really car ...more
Sep 26, 2011 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Okay, short and sweet. The Vampyre came out of the same story competition as Frankenstein and it's really pretty interesting. It's really more of a short story than a novel, so it's scarce on a lot of details, but it's vision of the total depravity of the vampire is pretty great. Again, as in Dracula, there's more to this vampire than sucking blood or killing you. He wants to completely destroy you. I loved the fun details like the fact the Lord Ruthven, the vampire, loved giving money away to t ...more
Kathy Taylor
I read this to get the basis of which all vampire works came from. I usually like writing from the times of Mary Shelley and Lord Byron, but this work I didn't like so much.

It was so descriptive to the point of boredom. Took me forever to read this very short book. Worth the read for history's sake and history's sake alone.
Nov 25, 2015 Alexxy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-reads
What was this thing that I just read?!
A compilation of whatever cliche that is out there + a vampyre (I know it's the original vampire tale. I think that's why it was boring. Everything else had been written after that and I've read them. Two stars because this is the story that gave us the vampires that we love.)
Still, stupid book. Good thing it was short.
Es un relato que ya había leído hace muuucho tiempo, pero no lo tenía en físico, recientemente lo adquirí e hice una re-lectura y me volvió a encantar como lo hizo aquella vez.
Jessi Witt
All right, fine. Not as readable as Carmilla but at 60 years older that's not surprising. I understand its importance and the last line is HILARIOUS but this is a purely academic interest in my opinion.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The House of the Vampire
  • The Man Whom the Trees Loved
  • A Thin Ghost and Others
  • Varney the Vampire
  • Pigeons from Hell
  • The Haunted and the Haunters
  • The Monkey's Paw and Other Tales of Mystery and Macabre
  • The Ghost-seer
  • Hermann Lauscher
  • Dracula's Guest
  • Curious, If True: Strange Tales
  • Carmilla
  • La Morte Amoureuse
  • The Werewolf of Paris
  • The Door in the Wall and Other Stories
  • Vampyres: Lord Byron to Count Dracula
  • The Signalman
  • Tales of Men and Ghosts
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 recen
More about John William Polidori...

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“his character was dreadfully vicious, for that the possession of irresistible powers of seduction, rendered his licentious habits more dangerous to society.” 2 likes
“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.” 1 likes
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