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John Polidori (1795–1821)

Author of The Vampyre

33+ Works 1,219 Members 38 Reviews 3 Favorited

About the Author

Works by John Polidori

The Vampyre (1819) 632 copies
Relatos de vampiros (1997) — Contributor — 9 copies
Fantasmagoriana {Byron, et al.} (1998) — Contributor — 6 copies
La noche de los monstruos (2012) 5 copies

Associated Works

The Penguin Book of Vampire Stories (1987) — Contributor — 887 copies
The Vampyre and Other Tales of the Macabre (1997) — Contributor — 419 copies
The Phantom of the Opera and Other Gothic Tales (2018) — Contributor — 181 copies
Vampyres: Lord Byron to Count Dracula (1991) — Contributor — 158 copies
Supernatural Horror Short Stories (2017) — Contributor — 77 copies
The Vampyre and Other Macabre Tales (2012) — Contributor — 74 copies
Mary Shelley Horror Stories (Romantic Fantasy) (2018) — Contributor — 71 copies
Children of the Night (2007) — Author — 66 copies
The Midnight People (1968) — Contributor — 38 copies
In the Shadow of Dracula (2011) — Contributor — 23 copies
The Vampyre: A Bedside Companion (1978) — Contributor — 11 copies
Classic Tales of Ghosts and Vampires (2004) — Contributor — 7 copies
Enter at Your Own Risk: Dark Muses, Spoken Silences (2013) — Contributor — 4 copies
Night's Black Agents: An Anthology of Vampire Fiction (2023) — Contributor — 2 copies


Common Knowledge

Legal name
Polidori, John William
Date of death
Country (for map)
England, UK
London, England, UK
Place of death
London, England, UK
Cause of death
Ampleforth College
University of Edinburgh
Rossetti, Christina (niece)
Rossetti, Dante Gabriel (nephew)
Rossetti, William Michael (nephew)
Rossetti, Maria Francesca (niece)
Rossetti, Gabriele (brother-in-law)
Byron, Lord (patient and friend) (show all 7)
Polidori, Gaetano (father)
Short biography
In 1816, Dr. John Polidori became the personal physician of Lord Byron and accompanied him on a trip through Europe. Polidori was present during the famous summer at the Villa Diodati on Lake Geneva in Switzerland when Byron, the Shelleys, and Claire Clairmont created ghost stories to amuse each other.



mahebelen | Aug 25, 2023 |
Originally read this as part of a Gothic novel class thirtysome year ago.

The Walpole story is an enjoyable piece of Romantic-period trash. Denizens of the titular Castle are disturbed by manifestations of a giant helmet, a giant leg, and so forth. A knight arrives with a giant sword to match. Characters are variouly revealed to be former nobility or the children of nobility, women enter convents since they don't have the right to vote, and so on.

Vathek chronicles the downfall of a Caliph, as he gets seduced from a life of simple material luxury to the pursuit of occult knowledge. All for the most part a bit silly, as Beckford's limited imagination did not allow him to conceive of truly horrific or diabolical acts. The downfall at the end, while rushed, is quite striking - though apparently Beckford stole the depiction from a preceding work.

Polidori, better known as "the other one" at the party-of-four that resulted in the writing of Frankenstein, contributes a vampire tale which will disappoint fans of the genre, but still has its interesting moments. There is perhaps some unintended humor in the naive rich boy who befriends a man noted for ruining the lives of naive rich boys, but what is unique in this story is the charming-yet-evil character of the vampyre himself. Lord Ruthven refuses charity to those in need, but grants it to those in seed, as it were: the drunkard or gambler or prostitute was certain of his generosity. Yet he spurned their company, preferring instead the innocent and naive, whose lives he took great delight in ruining - always by association, leading them astray rather than working directly to destroy them. The fact that Polidori does so little with this characterization (based, purportedly, on his association with Lord Byron) is not surprising, but one would expect it to crop up in the one or two vampire novels written in the centuries since.

Lord Byron's fragment ... goes nowhere and says nothing. It's clear "The Vampyre" stole a pivotal scene from this fragment, but it's not clear that Byron had in mind anything as ambitious as Polodori's tale.
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mkfs | 3 other reviews | Aug 13, 2022 |
Beautiful cover. Just one story. I can already tell this is a print-on-demand book (look for the little bar code on the back of the last blank page). It will usually even tell you what city, state, and exact date it was printed. I haven't had a lot of luck with p-o-ds since they are usually machine scanned and nobody ever proof reads them. They are usually rife with typos. We'll see. The back cover says, "Dodo Press specializes in the publication and distribution of rare and out-of-print books." which is code for "cheap public domain books." It even has a Dodo colophon that imitates the ubiquitous Penguin trademark. Hey, it was new and 50 cents.

As I feared, fraught with typos and punctuation errors. Corpse is almost always rendered as "corse," the as "tho," commas as ">." The scanner doesn't even have an algorithm to pick the most likely candidate letter. Each page has at least two and some 5 or 6 errors. I can tell from a receipt stuck between pages that the original owner paid almost $12 for this. These p-o-d books are just not worth it unless you get them really cheap, like under a dollar, or you have recourse to nothing else. Favorite error: "...to be present tit the nuptials.."

On to the story itself. Pretty dated story notable for being supposedly the first vampire story. Only story I have ever read that would benefit by being much longer, it reads at times like a synopsis. Ridiculous framing story added not by Polidori about Lord Byron being responsible for the story at the famous Shelly, Shelly, Byron meeting that was the genesis for the real Frankenstein. The names other than Byron's are all made up. For literary historical interest only.
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Gumbywan | 25 other reviews | Jun 24, 2022 |
Leggi la mia recensione sul BLOG !
louchobi | 25 other reviews | May 12, 2022 |


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