When Aubrey, a young Englishman, meets a mysterious man from London high society, Lord Ruthven, they become unlikely friends. Shortly after, Aubrey decides to accompany the noble on a trip to Rome. However, when a moral disagreement arises between the two, Aubrey decides to leave Ruthven in Rome, and goes off on his own. Arriving in Greece, Aubrey meets Ianthe, and the two share an immediate connection. After sharing stories and an evening together, Aubrey and Ianthe part ways for the night. However, after a devastating turn of events, Aubrey and Ruthven reunite, and Aubrey, ready to leave Greece behind, is happy to travel with the older man once again. But as they continue their travels, Aubrey slowly begins to notice Ruthven's odd behavior. After even more consideration, Aubrey realizes a shocking pattern--nearly everyone that Ruthven comes in close contact to meets an untimely end. Afraid of his newly acquired knowledge, Aubrey attempts to distance himself from the suspicious man, though he is forced to reconsider his efforts when Ruthven expresses intent to marry Aubrey's sister.
First published under Lord Byron's name, The Vampyre rose to immediate commercial success. However, though he was inspired by a discarded piece of Lord Bryon's work, both authors have since admitted that John William Polidori was the true writer of The Vampyre. Considered to be the first work of vampire fiction, The Vampyre had an immense role in shaping vampires as literary figures, influencing the canonical rules of vampires that many still follow today. First published in 1819, Polidori's The Vampyre remains to be a thrilling and spooky read centuries later, and has since inspired both film and theater adaptations. With mystery and eerie suspense, Polidori's work is an extraordinary example of 19th century gothic horror.
This edition of The Vampyre by John William Polidori features a striking new cover design and is printed in a font that is both modern and readable. With these accommodations, The Vampyre caters to a contemporary audience while preserving the original innovation of John William Polidori's work.
From 1804 Polidori was a pupil at the recently formed Ampleforth College. In 1810 he proceeded to the University of Edinburgh, where he wrote a thesis on sleepwalking and received his degree as a doctor of medicine on 1st August 1815. He was 19.
In 1816, Dr. Polidori was given the job of Byron's personal physician and accompanied him on a trip through Europe. The publisher John Murray offered Polidori £500 to keep a diary of their travels. At the Villa Diodati, Byron's rented villa at Lake Geneva in Switzerland, the pair met with Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Mary's stepsister, Claire Clairmont.
One night in June, after the company had read aloud from a French collection of German horror tales, Byron suggested they each write a ghost story. There were to be two outstanding works from that evening; 'Frankenstein' by Mary Shelley and Polidori's 'The Vampyre' which would be the first published modern vampire story in English.
Dismissed by Byron, Polidori traveled in Italy and then returned to England. His story, 'The Vampyre', was published in the April 1819 issue of New Monthly Magazine without his permission. Much to the annoyance of both Polidori and Byron it was the latter who was credited as author.
Polidori also had published 'Ximenes, The Wreath & Other Poems' in 1819 and his long theological and sacred poem 'The Fall of the Angels' in 1821 as well as two plays, essays and his diary.
Despite his youth Polidori was increasingly worn down by gambling debts and depression.
John William Polidori died on 24th August 1821 at the age of only 25 in London. Although his death was recorded as death by natural causes, strong evidence asserts that it was suicide by means of cyanide.
The Vampyre; a Tale by John William Polidori
Two newcomers start attending London's high society parties. The first is Lord Ruthven. He is terribly pale but beautiful, and people find him interesting for his intense gaze and strange appearance. The other man is Aubrey, a handsome and cheerful man. He always manages to find the best in everyone he meets. Despite their differences, they decide to go on the journey together to explore Europe.
When they travel through Rome, Lord Ruthven gambles and gives his money to the poor with vices, rather than to the needy. He is also trying to seduce an innocent young woman, although Aubrey tries to stop him. Aubrey leaves Ruthven and travels to Greece where he meets Ianthe, a beautiful Greek girl. He loves her and she tells him the legend of a vampire.
One day, while Aubrey is riding his horse, he hears a scream and finds Ianthe's corpse. Her throat was ripped open, and all who see her corpse believe that it was the work of a vampire. Aubrey begins to have nightmares and pleads for mercy from the vampires and Ruthven.
Aubrey meets Ruthven on his travels, as he does not link Ianthe's death to his arrival. When attacked by bandits, Ruthven receives a fatal wound and, on her deathbed, demands that Aubrey take an oath with her: she will not mention her death for a year and a day.
When Aubrey returns to London, he meets Ruthven, surprisingly cured, who begins to seduce Aubrey's sister. They agree to marry, much to Aubrey's dismay, so much so that he falls ill and dies. Aubrey's sister also dies the night of the wedding.
In John William Polidori's ''The Vampyre, '' two men decide to travel together in Europe. On their journey, one of the men notices that his companion has troubling habits including one which is deadly.
This the vampyre story was published in 1819 decades before Dracula and Carmilla and all those other classic vampire stories that you will know you know that old story about how Mary Shelley wrote.
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