THE VAMPYRE by John William Polidori

The Vampyre. (1819) John William Polidori. This is the first published modern vampire story, it was written by John William Polidori (1795–1821), English writer and physician, although it was originally attributed to Lord Byron, later both Byron and Polidori affirmed that the story is Polidori’s. It was published in The New Monthly Magazine (a British monthly magazine). The story of how it was written is most interesting: in the summer of 1816, Lord Byron and his young physician John Polidori were staying at the Villa Diodati (Switzerland) by Lake Geneva and were visited by Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley and Claire Clairmont. In June the five turned to telling horror tales, and decided to have a competition to see who could write the best horror story. Mary Shelley, in collaboration with Percy Bysshe Shelley, produced what would become Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. Polidori was inspired by a fragmentary story of Byron’s, Fragment of a Novel (1816) (aka “A Fragment” and “The Burial: A Fragment”) and wrote The Vampyre. It has been long suggested that Polidori made the character Lord Ruthven (the vampire) as a satire of Lord Byron, whom he resented. So, here is the start of modern vampires, a mix of folk legends and a satire of Lord Byron by his physician, John Polidori, and all came from the same night that gave birth to Frankenstein.

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