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The Penguin Book of Vampire Stories

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  889 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
The Penguin Book of Vampire Stories is the definitive collection of short tales of those deadly bloodsuckers. Editor Alan Ryan includes a wide range of talents here, from Bram Stoker to Robert Bloch to Tanith Lee.

"Fragment of a Novel" by George Gordon, Lord Byron
"The Vampyre" by John Polidori
"Varney the Vampyre, or, the Feast of Blood" [excerpt] by James Malcolm
Paperback, 640 pages
Published October 3rd 1989 by Penguin Books (first published 1987)
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Community Reviews

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Jul 14, 2009 Werner rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of supernatural fiction, esp. vampire fiction
May 27, 2009
Until I recently invented my "being-read-intermittently" shelf, I didn't know what to do with this book; it's the one in which I've been reading, both last year and this year, on those isolated occasions when I spend an afternoon in the public library at Harrisonburg, VA. For a long while I listed it as "currently-reading," and then deleted it for some time; but neither of those options felt really satisfactory. I'm glad I stumbled onto this approach!

Editor Ryan (who also contributes
Riju Ganguly
Aug 27, 2011 Riju Ganguly rated it really liked it
This collection is a rarity in several sense, namely: -

1) Unlike similar heavy-named anthologies, this collection actually concentrates on packing a large no. of very good stories (including classics as well as almost unknown stories), from different authors who are very-very famous in their own fields, and thus creates an intense competition among themselves in the mind of the reader by having their differently styled (& themed) works placed side-by-side.
2) Most of the stories are very good
Allan Krummenacker
May 14, 2013 Allan Krummenacker rated it it was amazing
THE PENGUIN BOOK OF VAMPIRE STORIES is one of the best anthologies I've ever found. Part of the reason is that it covers authors who've touched on this subject as far back as 1816 and goes up to 1984. There are a number of familiar names in this book like Clark Ashton Smith, Sheridan Le Fanu, Tanith Lee, and August Derleth to name just a few. But what fascinates me the most is seeing how the vampire legend is explored. We meet the legendary "Varney The Vampire", the seductive and dangerous "Carm ...more
Sep 30, 2007 Shaindel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves vampires
I first got this book in high school, where I would read it in in-school suspension. (Admit it, you can't read in class, so in-school suspension is where the real learning takes place.) It is one of the best collections of vampire stories ever compiled--two centuries of vampire tales, as the subtitle says. It includes favorites like "Varney the Vampire," the classic "Carmilla," and "The Girl with the Hungry Eyes." A necessity for the library of any fan of vampire fiction (or vampires themselves ...more
May 01, 2015 M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really nice collection of a wide range of vampire fiction from almost two centuries, from the earliest vampire stories up through the mid-1980s. I've read all of the earliest stuff elsewhere, so I skipped over it, but I have to say this book does a fairly good job of touching on the most significant 19th century works. It's especially nice to see it reprint Carmilla. However, for anyone interested in 19th century vampires, the Dracula's Guest anthology is a much better choice. Still, ...more
Jun 14, 2013 j_ay marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Fragment of a Novel ****o
The Vampyre ***oo
Varney the Vampyre, or, Feast of Blood (excerpt)
The Mysterious Stranger
Good Lady Ducayne
Dracula's Guest ***oo
Luella Miller
For the Blood is Life
The Transfer
The Room in the Tower ****o
An Episode of Cathedral History
A Rendezvous in Averoigne
Revelations in Black
School for the Unspeakable
The Drifting Snow
Over the River
The Girl with the Hungry Eyes ***oo
The Mindworm
Drink My Blood *****
Place of Meeting *****
The Living Dead
Pages From a Young Gir
Dec 12, 2015 Barb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What can I say? I'm a sucker for a good vampire story, and this anthology has some of the best I've read. Arranged in chronological order by the date they appeared, these stories date back to the very first, classic bloodsucker stories to be published in the early 19th century, up to late 20th century offerings from current authors.

The lore evolves as time goes by, with the monsters becoming something more than stylized leaches. Some of the characters are not really vampires in the sense that i
Sep 10, 2014 Suna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has been subjected to cosmetic surgery: Its cover is now wrapped in plain yet tasteful brown packaging paper, because it simply doesn't deserve to present this lurid cheese fest as its first impression. Max Schreck would be turning in his grave if he knew he was orange.

Andrew Shaffer
Jun 24, 2015 Andrew Shaffer rated it it was amazing
With stories dating from 1816 (Lord Byron's "Fragment of a Novel") to 1984 (Tanith Lee's "Bite-Me-Not..."), this anthology has everything a vampire lover could want. Not only are the stories all top-notch, but the introductory notes for each story by Alan Ryan are fascinating glimpses into the ever-changing mythos of vampire lore. There are too many highlights to mention, but the sublime thrills of "The Drifting Snow" by August Derleth and "Drink My Blood" by horror master Richard Matheson are g ...more
Dec 14, 2010 Cornerofmadness rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Yet another questionably assembled anthology. Yet another women's lit assignment. Fortunately it has inspired me to read Dracula because Stoker has a short story in here and, day-um, the man is a goldmine of aesthetic language.

Alright, so I didn't get to read all of the stories, but I gotta say from what I've seen this compilation is not too shabby. In addition to the one I mentioned in my preliminary interpretation, the short story "Unicorn Tapestries" (since adapted into a novel, Vampir
I read the first few stories, and the one by Tanith Lee near the end. They were decent, but not particularly engaging (probably because they're all such *old* stories, and have a style that I'm pretty glad has fallen out of favor). I'd be okay with reading these old-and-dusty stories if they were interspersed with young-and-fresh ones. But they're not. So I doubt I'll muster the motivation to finish this.


*Like in the sense that it's nifty to see
Abby Starkel
This book was not for me. I don't particularly like the books that have lots of small stories in them. I did enjoy some of the stories in this book, but, for the most part, I didn't really enjoy the book. It was kind of difficult to understand, and didn't really keep my attention well.
Apr 26, 2014 Tlingit rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Vampire Aficionados
Shelves: horror, adult, classic
I don't know why I bought this book. I was getting very tired of Vampire stories. This book isn't just Vampire stories it is full of classic vampire stories. Usually I find old stories quaint in a "cute" way. So I'd been avoiding this book for a few years.
I'm actually enjoying it. It's not going to make me seek out more classic vampire stories though. It does give me respect for the originals. The vamps are getting way too much press time in my opinion, leading to soap opera plot lines and repe
Timothy Boyd
An OK selection of short stories on Vampires. Nothing really stands out from any of the stories. Recommended if you are into Vampires
Lucy Gray
Jun 17, 2015 Lucy Gray rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed the evolution of the vampire in this collection of stories. Particularly impressed with science fiction ones.
Jamie McLendon
Oct 21, 2008 Jamie McLendon rated it really liked it
Put the silly cover out of your mind, if you can. My copy, purchased in the wee beginnings of the 90s, was plucked from a remainder stack at an Intimate Bookshop in Charlotte, and featured an Edward Gorey illustration.

The book is assembled like a Norton anthology, starting with a penny-dreadful ("Varney the Vampyre, or the Feast of Blood") and winding up in the mid-70s. There are some really good stories within; my particular favorite is "Over the River" by P. Schuyler Miller. Though the earlier
Tasmina Tazeen
Dec 06, 2014 Tasmina Tazeen rated it it was amazing
A must have collection for all vampire or horror story lovers, written by the masters.
Jun 11, 2015 Ladiibbug marked it as to-read
6/2015 rec'd from Yvensong :-)
Mar 24, 2009 Amy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: kim, greta
the particular horror of the vampire is represented well in this collection of vampire stories. it organizes the stories in historical order which allows one to see the progression of the vampire and vampire themes. when finished one is a vampire connoiseur: an expert in vampire psychology, methods, and history. includes original, traditional and modern tales. the stories are well chosen and compliment each other nicely
Jean-Francois Boivin
Aug.23, 2012 - I read "Shambleau" by C.L. Moore. It's about a Han Solo-type character, Northwest Smith, meeting a Medusa in a Martian setting which he first thinks is a new species of humanoid. It is a good story (Moore's first published story, and better than her Jirel of Joiry stuff), but it's a very strange choice for an anthology titled "Vampires"...
Paulette Folmer
Sep 04, 2015 Paulette Folmer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful, short, classic vampire tales, each with its own appeal. Some authors I recognize, others I don't, but all enjoyable stories.
Jennifer Garlen
Oct 16, 2012 Jennifer Garlen rated it really liked it
I used this as a textbook for a graduate course on Gothic literature, and it worked wonderfully well. There are lots of gruesome little tales included, and the book does a good job conveying the diverse range of narratives that fall under the "vampire" heading. Very good for students, and entertaining for casual readers, too!
Jan 10, 2013 Suzanne rated it really liked it
This is the best collection of vampire stories I've read with some tales that you will not soon forget, I promise. They're organized by date written, and I suggest reading it straight through, because it's great fun to see how the genre changes and evolves. Some excellent writers are featured in this compilation.
A. E. S.
May 07, 2013 A. E. S. rated it really liked it
Shelves: vampire-lore
An excellent addition to anyone's subconscious cave of bloodsucking bats. Forget Twilight and start on your vampire lore with this. Tons of stories in one tiny little package! One my favorites from this collection was "Carmilla".
Nov 08, 2012 Arushi rated it liked it
Shelves: paranormal, classics
I read this book a long time ago and a recent conversation reminded me of it. It is a good compilation of all the early stories on vampires, and some of the stories were actually kind of scary from what I remember.
Jan 22, 2011 Kristine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This collection contains some of the best vampire short fiction that I've ever read. There's something for everyone who likes vampires of some kind of legends from somewhere.
Jun 13, 2012 Marvin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very nice primer on vampire fiction from "The Vampyre" by John Polidori (1819) to "Bite Me Not or, Fleur De Flue" by Tanith Lee (1984). A must for any vampire aficionado.
Mar 18, 2009 Jason rated it really liked it
So far the Tanith Lee story "Bite-Me-Not" was most excellent...currently reading the novella, "The Unicorn Tapestry," by Suzy McKee Charnas.
Leah M
Jan 10, 2013 Leah M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
really enjoyed this book, i love all books from that time period of the 1700's and 1800's.and their version of vampire's of that time.fantastic read.
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