In 1816, John William Polidori travelled to Geneva as Lord Byron’s personal physician. There they met Mary Godwin (later Shelley) and her lover Percy Shelley and decided to while away a wet summer by writing ghost stories. The only two to complete their stories were Mary Shelley, who published Frankenstein in 1818, and Polidori, whose The Vampyre and Ernestus Berchtold were both published in 1819. The Vampyre, based on a discarded idea of Byron’s, is the first portrayal of the alluring vampire figure familiar to readers of Bram Stoker and Anne Rice. Ernestus Berchtold scandalously draws on the rumours of Byron’s affair with his half-sister for a Faustian updating of the myth of Oedipus, which it combines with an account of the struggle of Swiss patriots against the Napoleonic invasion. Along with Polidori’s work, this edition also includes stories read and written by the travellers in the Genevan summer of 1816 and contemporary responses to The Vampyre and Ernestus Berchtold.
The Vampyre was never published in a form with which the author was satisfied.The text's publishing history has been documented by Henry R. Viets. There is no record of the tale until its publication in the New Monthly Magazine; ...
Author: John William Polidori
Publisher: Broadview Press