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The Vampyre; a Tale

3.30  ·  Rating details ·  5,260 ratings  ·  519 reviews
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 Eu ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published April 1st 1819)
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Dolina Jorgovana Absolutely not Aubrey. The story does focus on his feelings and things he encouters along the way, but it is a third-person narration focused on a…moreAbsolutely not Aubrey. The story does focus on his feelings and things he encouters along the way, but it is a third-person narration focused on a protagonist.(less)

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3.30  · 
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 ·  5,260 ratings  ·  519 reviews

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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
Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
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
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

 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 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!
Perry Lake
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, vampires
I read this many years ago. While there could be more background into the mysterious Lord Ruthven, the story is written in the style of its time and is still effective today. This is considered the earliest vampire tale in the English language (there's some debate over that, however) and it was extremely influential on later works such as Varney, Carmilla, and, of course, Dracula.
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
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
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
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
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
This is another piece I respect more than I enjoyed - The Vampyre; A Tale is, after all, the first account of vampires in English prose. So it seems we have John William Polidori to blame thank for the likes of Edward Cullen.

Before anyone criticises Polidori's writing (which I've seen described as 'clunky') can we just remember that he was a doctor by profession, not a writer. And not just any doctor either; he was Lord Byron’s personal physician... and travelling companion throughout his sex to
Sam Quixote
Jul 31, 2011 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
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
So I am waiting for several holds to come in and rather than just grab something from a library shelf, went playing on Gutenberg yesterday. I have a slew of gothic novels to keep me busy. :)

The first was this, the original English vampire story; originating from a contest between Byron, Shelly, a physician and two others (as noted by many others, but certainly interesting, the same contest was the impetus for Frankenstein) in 1819. The Gutenberg version that I read contained the original Byron s
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
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 momen ...more
"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
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.
Sep 15, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
This is one of the first published stories relating to vampyre's.
Aug 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Andrew by: Perry Lake
Shelves: ebooks
Since the first time I read Dracula, I have heard of this short gothic story as the first example of the modern figure of the vampire. I has been written by Polidori in the famous summer spent near Geneva, where Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein.

In this case, the vampire is an English nobleman, Lord Ruthven, apparently devoted to a dissolute life, but actually interested to feeding on the women of the London upper class. Opposed to him, there is another noble, the young Aubrey, initially naive and
Emily Dones
Apr 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vampires
This was an amazing read. I really liked the narration it made me read this quicker than I anticipated; I just wanted to read more of it. This is a masterpiece of a short-story its written in a way that you can feel the adrenaline of finding that something horrific has been in society but being powerless to stop it. This the genuine real reaction of someone actually finding out that a vampire is real and has the potential to harm someone dear to them(and anyone if we are being honest). Being cur ...more
strange that this counts as a book as its a pretty short tale. anyway, it took me a while to get used to this language and style of writing! but once i got into the rhythm and was able to focus on the story, I was wrapped in it and also think it's quite creepy. definitely a good read for fans of horror (and obviously if you're into vampire lore this is a must read).

please excuse any typos as I typed this on the app.
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.
Shawn Birss
In the Summerless cold of 1816, John Polidori accompanied the poet Lord Byron on a journey through Europe, as his personal physician, and as a recorder of his travels, at Byron's request. A religious man, and of far lesser means than the distinguished Byron, it was thus that he found himself among the esteemed company of Mary Shelley (as she would be named after her marriage), her husband-to-be, and her sister, as hosted by Lord Byron in his Summer retreat in Geneva. Forced inside by the horribl ...more
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

Rather silly and predictable story but interesting for being an early precursor to Dracula.

Our young, gullible hero Aubrey meets the seductive, mysterious rake Lord Ruthven (probably modelled on Polidori's mate Lord Byron) and soon finds himself entangled in deep shit. Unfortunately for him, Lord Ruthven doesn't appreciate nosy parkers ruining his fun, especially when it comes to dallying with hot babes.

Aubrey's curiosity comes back to bite him (or his loved ones, specifically).

This was a shor
May 31, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Man did Mary Shelley win that writing contest or what.
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-vampire
I like how the bad guy wins. There's a scene where the protagonist destroys a portrait of evil, which reminds me of Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray (written ~70 years after). I listened to an audio version on youtube where the narrator had a new jersey(?) accent, which made this unintentionally funny.

Standing on its own, the book isn't so great. If it was written in our modern era, it would be a total flop. But knowing it inspired the "romantic vampire" trope gives it more significance. (Pe
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
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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
“his character was dreadfully vicious, for that the possession of irresistible powers of seduction, rendered his licentious habits more dangerous to society.” 10 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.” 4 likes
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