The Vampyre by John Polidori

The story has its beginings in the summer of 1816 when Lord Byron and his young physician John Polidori were staying at theVilla Diodati by Lake Geneva and were visited by Percy Shelley and his wife, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, and her sister Claire Clairmont. Kept indoors by the "incessant rain" of that "wet, ungenial summer", over three days in June, the five turned to telling fantastical tales, and then writing their own. Fueled by ghost stories such as the Fantasmagoriana, William Beckford's Vathek and quantities of laudanum, Mary Shelley, in collaboration with Percy Bysshe Shelley, produced what would become Frankenstein. Polidori was inspired by a fragmentary story of Byron's, Fragment of a Novel (1816), also known as "A Fragment" and "The Burial: A Fragment", and in "two or three idle mornings" produced "The Vampyre
Vampyre Cover
Original Vampyre Wrappers.
Polidori's story was published on 1 April 1819 in the NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE as "The Vampyre; a Tale by Lord Byron." When "The Vampyre" was being set in type by J. Gillet in March 1819 for the magazine appearance, editor Henry Colburn made arrangements to publish the story in book form.
Colburn Cancel Page
John Colburn's title page.
Shortly before the commission of his ill-advised deception by attributing Polidori's tale to Byron and the possibe threat by Lord Byron to shoot him, on 1 April Colburn turned over the sheets of the book as set up by Gillet to another London publisher, Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, in time for them to enter it at Stationer's Hall on 27 March. Colburn, who still held his own copies with his cancelation page, tore out the title page with his name on it but left the rest of the book intact.
Torn Cancel Page
As you can see, the cancelaion page has been removed. This copy of Vampyre is most likely a Colburn edition and was bound into a collection of stories Colburn later published.
For the first of the Sherwood, Neely, and Jones Vampyre issues, the title leaves were printed attributing the story to "The Right Honourable Lord Byron" with Polidori's name omitted. This fabrication was quickly suppressed and a second issue was produced with Byron's name omitted and no attribution of authorship on the title page. A single copy of the first state of the book with the Colburn imprint and the attribution "Related by Lord Byron to Dr. Polidori" has survived; two copies of the second are recorded; a single copy of Sherwood, Neely, and Jones's first issue is known; this second issue is more common and was the one widely distributed for review. "Generally recognized as the first vampire story in English literature, Polidori's novella is the forerunner of the sophisticated vampirism of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's 'Carmilla,' Bram Stoker's DRACULA, and in the twentieth century.
Neely Cancel Page
Sherwood Neely Cancel Page
Aubrey, a young Englishman, meets Lord Ruthven, a man of mysterious origins who has entered London society. Aubrey accompanies Ruthven to Rome, but leaves him after Ruthven seduces the daughter of a mutual acquaintance. Aubrey travels to Greece, where he becomes attracted to Ianthe, an innkeeper's daughter. Ianthe tells Aubrey about the legends of the vampire. Ruthven arrives at the scene and shortly thereafter Ianthe is killed by a vampire. Aubrey does not connect Ruthven with the murder and rejoins him in his travels. The pair is attacked by bandits and Ruthven is mortally wounded. Before he dies, Ruthven makes Aubrey swear an oath that he will not mention his death or anything else he knows about Ruthven for a year and a day. Looking back, Aubrey realizes that everyone whom Ruthven met ended up suffering. Aubrey returns to London and is amazed when Ruthven appears shortly thereafter, alive and well. Ruthven reminds Aubrey of his oath to keep his death a secret. Ruthven then begins to seduce Aubrey's sister while Aubrey, helpless to protect his sister, has a nervous breakdown. Ruthven and Aubrey's sister are engaged to marry on the day the oath ends. Just before he dies, Aubrey writes a letter to his sister revealing Ruthven's history, but it does not arrive in time. Ruthven marries Aubrey's sister. On the wedding night, she is discovered dead, drained of her blood and Ruthven has vanished.
Copyright 2014 Ruthven's Attic