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The Penguin Book of Vampire Stories

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  1,043 ratings  ·  56 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, 637 pages
Published October 3rd 1989 by Penguin Books (first published 1987)
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3.92  · 
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 ·  1,043 ratings  ·  56 reviews

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May 06, 2009 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
Allan Krummenacker
Nov 22, 2012 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
Riju Ganguly
Aug 27, 2011 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
John Adams
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
The Penguin Book of Vampire Stories by Alan Ryan

When a book title starts with 'The Penguin Book of...' you can be confident that that is a guarantee of quality and this book, edited by Alan Ryan, is no exception.

The book contains 32 stories in chronological order from Byron's 1816 Fragments of a Novel to Tanith Lee's 1984 Bite Me Not. All the classic vampire stories are here, including an extract from J M Rymer's 1845 tale Varney the Vampire, the first vampire novel in English.

Varney the Vampire
Sep 30, 2007 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
Oct 14, 2014 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
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed-books
This is an excellent tome of vampire styled stories spanning from 1816 to 1984. There is quite a bit of variety and new treatment of an ancient idea. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes horror.
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
Nov 20, 2017 rated it liked it
The Penguin Book of Vampire Stories, a 1987 anthology edited by Alan Ryan, is, like most story collections, a mixed bag. My tastes favor the Gothic and literal when it comes to vampire tales, and so I particularly enjoyed the front section of this chronologically arranged collection, most especially J. Sheridan Le Fanu's classic "Carmilla"; "Dracula's Guest" by Bram Stoker; "The Room in the Tower" by E.F. Benson; "Shambleau" by C.L. Moore; and " The Drifting Snow" by August Derleth. But in the b ...more
Jun 13, 2013 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
Apr 08, 2011 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.

Ethan Nahté
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although Vampires: Two Centuries of Great Vampire Stories had a large selection of stories I have read in other anthologies such as the books edited by Marvin Kaye, there were some stories I had never read before. Not only that, editor/author Alan Ryan includes some biographical and bibliographical information that leads to other vampire stories (and more) by some of the authors in the book.

The anthology includes, and begins, with the snippet of Lord Byron's story that he began in 1816, when he
Bailey Peyton
Aug 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic
I feel bad giving this anthology only three stars, but I wasn't feeling as many of the stories like I did with the Gothic Tales collection. I feel like this suffered the curse of niche fiction; there's a ton of stories, but after a while, you feel like you're reading a variation of the same one; please keep your stakes at bay! I did love the fact that this showed off a new kind of vampire in one of my favorite stories, "The Girl with the Hungry Eyes". Truth be told, that's kind of why I bought t ...more
The rockabilly werewolf from Mars .
Likely one of the best anthologies of its type. This is a vampire anthology, but don't expect any romantic shit; this one is 100% horror, and that's a good thing. In addition, the cover of my edition reproduces Edward Gorey's classic painting titled, I believe, Night Thing Carrying Infant Aloft. Forget the Mona Lisa, that cover is real art. This book contains stories by many of the great horror writers, including M. R. James, E. F. Benson, Ramsey Campbell, Charles L. Grant, Robert Aickman, Fritz ...more
Dec 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Dec 12, 2015 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
Mar 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Vampire Aficionados
Shelves: adult, horror, 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
Andrew Shaffer
Jun 24, 2015 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
Jamie McLendon
Oct 20, 2008 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
Samantha Sipper
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I've had this book on my bookshelf for many years and finally decided to read it. The introduction notes that these stories lay the foundation for the vampire character and help to create traditional vampire lore--the need for blood, fear of the sun, crosses, garlic, etc. As a huge fan of Dracula, I dove into these stories with relish and loved almost every one of them. Each story has a unique plot with its own special type of vampire. It's hard to pick a favorite from this wonderful collection. ...more
Sep 23, 2007 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
Jennifer Garlen
Oct 16, 2012 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 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.
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"...
Nov 08, 2012 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.
Victoria Ellis
Done with this for now, because I'm using some of the stories in my anthology for my dissertation. From what I red this was a decent anthology, perfect for anyone who likes Vampires, and chronicles the progression of the vampire in literature.
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.
A. E. S.
May 07, 2013 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".
Leah M
Dec 17, 2012 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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