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The Vampyre: A Tale

3.31  ·  Rating details ·  7,191 ratings  ·  779 reviews
This classic vampire story has inspired generations of authors, from Bram Stoker to Charlaine Harris.

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
Paperback, Large Print, 72 pages
Published January 2nd 2006 by Echo Library (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 pro…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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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.
Sean Barrs
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
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

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
Charles  van Buren
The progenitor of the modern vampire

Review of free Kindle edition
A Public Domain Book
Publication date: May 12, 2012
Language: English
ASIN: B0082U0CS0
65 pages

Long misattributed to Lord Byron this story was actually written by his then friend and personal physician, John Polidori. It was wriiten during the same time frame as Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin's FRANKENSTEIN. Both were written as a result of Byron's suggestion that each of the group at his Swiss villa write a ghost story. He himself wrote a
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 03, 2015 rated it liked it

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!
May 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
I found this story to be fairly pointless and pretty boring. The main character is incredibly weak and useless, and the ending is very abrupt.

I credit this because it brought on vampires (and I tend to love everything vampires.)

This short story though, was a disappointment.

I read this for university.
Mar 07, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Perry Lake
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: vampires, horror
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. ...more
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
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
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
Madly Jane
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
Sep 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
My mom read this story to me when I was little, and I lost my sleep for nights as a result. I dreamt she married a vampyre, of course, although in my dreams I was not sure whether it was my stern and distant father or somebody else.
(I am happy to remark that it takes more to make my own daughter lose sleep, e. g., a foreign cat accidentally locked in our garage and protesting about it. Also, I am myself as of now unmarried to any vampire, although I've certainly known more than one energy vampi
Sam Quixote
Jul 31, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
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
Aug 08, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sure, it's fun to see Lord Byron being portrayed as a bloodthirsty 'vampyre' but apart from that this tale was utter trash and had nothing to offer. ...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
This had the potential to be absolutely incredible but it had no room to breathe. My edition came in at 25 pages—barely a short story but it wanted to tell a novel’s plot. If everything had been fleshed out, the relationships could have developed and thus, the action and the horror would have been more impactful. Still, it’s difficult to be so hard on it, knowing that this launched the modern vampire genre as a whole. Also knowing how hard Polidori struggled to get his name attached to the work ...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
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
Rachel Bea
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.
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. ...more
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. ...more
Nov 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
10 ways lord byron can suck the life out of you
Francesca Calarco
Dec 06, 2020 rated it liked it
In the early 1800s a group of wealthy friends infamously spent a summer together in Geneva that led to a writing contest of sorts. Unequivocally, Mary Shelley won this contest with Frankenstein: The 1818 Text, one of the most influential horror and sci-fi novels of all time. This is more-or-less the first legacy that overshadows John William Polidori’s The Vampyre; A Tale. The second and third would be the future and more influential vampire stories of Carmilla and Dracula.

Admittedly, the origin
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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

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