The Vampyre and Other Tales of the Macabre

ISBN : 9780199552412

John Polidori; Robert Morrison; Chris Baldick
320 Pages
129 x 195 mm
Pub date
Sep 2008
Oxford World's Classics
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  • A unique selection of Gothic tales

`Upon her neck and breast was blood, and upon her throat were the marks of teeth having opened the vein: - to this the men pointed, crying, simultaneously struck with horror, "a Vampyre, a Vampyre!"'

John Polidori's classic tale of the vampyre was a product of the same ghost-story competition that produced Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Set in Italy, Greece, and London, Polidori's tales is a reaction to the dominating presence of his employer Lord Byron, and transformed the figure of the vampire from the bestial ghoul of earlier mythologies into the glamorous aristocrat whose violence and sexual allure make him literally a 'lady-killer'. Polidori's tale introduced the vampire into English fiction, and launched a vampire craze that has never subsided. 

`The Vampyre' was first published in 1819 in the London New Monthly Magazine. The present volume selects thirteen other tales of the macabre first published in the leading London and Dublin magazines between 1819 and 1838, including Edward Bulwer's chilling account of the doppelganger, Letitia Landon's elegant reworking of the Gothic romance, William Carleton's terrifying description of an actual lynching, and James Hogg's ghoulish exploitation of the cholera epidemic of 1831-2. 


Note on the Text
Select Bibliography

Chronology of the Magazines
The Vampyre, John Polidori
Sir Guy Eveling's Dream, Horace Smith
Confessions of a Reformed Ribbonman, William Carleton
Edward Bulwer
The Master of Logan, Allan Cunningham
The Victim, Anonymous
Some Terrible Letters from Scotland, James Hogg
The Curse, Anonymous
Life in Death, Anonymous
My Hobby - Rather, N. P.Willis
The Red Man, Catherine Gore
Post-Mortem Recollections of a Medical Lecturer, Charles Lever
The Bride of Lindorf, Letitia E. Landon
Passage in the Secret History of an Irish Countess, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
Appendix A: Preliminaries for `The Vampyre'
Appendix B: John Polidori, Note on the Vampyre
Appendix C: Lord Byron: `Augustus Darvell'
Biographical Notes, Explanatory Notes

About the author: 

John Polidori
Edited with an introduction and notes by Robert Morrison, Associate Professor of English, Acadia University, Canada, and Chris Baldick, Head of English, Goldsmith's College, University of London

I enjoyed the collection very much, and recommend it as a good mix of stories that are a little different from the norm. - FictionFan
Moving effortlessly from folklore to melodrama, the Introduction assesses the position that Polidori's story . . . We may not be ableto recover the experience of the origianl readers, but we can be grateful to the editors for bringing back to life tales that are not only of academic interest but which still exert their own nightmarish fascination - Studies in Hogg and his World

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