Monday, May 6, 2013

The Vampyre

If you are interested in vampire fiction or just the history of literature overall, The Vampyre: A Tale by John Polidori, is a key piece. The Vampyre is a short story that came before all of the vampires you know today -- including Dracula -- and has made a name for itself in both the history of literature and vampire literature alike. 

The story isn't particularly heavy or descriptive; it gives you a point by point telling of what happens and you can figure out emotions and the likes on your own. Often times, I felt that the story was highlighting the important parts and lacking some creativity where it would do me, the reader, well to have a better picture of all that was going on.

Lord Ruthven is our vampire in charge and a handsome devil at that. He appears very approachable and the perfect gentleman. Outward appearances aside, Lord Ruthven is a devilish, manipulative character. He is interesting enough and deemed harmless by Aubrey, an Englishman who is the other lead character of this story, who accompanies Lord Ruthven to Rome.

While in Rome, Ruthven begins to seduce a friend of Aubrey's and the Englishman abandons the man and goes to Greece. While there, Aubrey falls for Ianthe who explains to him the legends of vampires in Greek culture. Shortly after this discussion, her body is found and she apparently has been killed by a vampire.

Somehow (stupidly) Aubrey doesn't think Ruthven killed the girl. He rejoins Ruthven and they continue traveling until they are attacked by bandits and Ruthven is seriously injured. He makes Aubrey swear never to discuss Ruthven's death or anything else for a year and a day then promptly dies.

Aubrey returns home and to his sister who seems very much to care for her brother. When Aubrey discovers Ruthven is there, alive and going by another name, he becomes ill as he witnesses Ruthven seducing his sister. He has a nervous breakdown and tries desperately to forewarn his sister of who Ruthven really is but to no avail. His sister marries Ruthven and Aubrey and his sister both die due to this vampire entering their lives but for different reasons.

The story is certainly creepy but, to me, reads as a medical journal and lacks the certain spark that fiction often has. It was a quick read however and much appreciated after I had read a couple of books that took me quite some time to get through.

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