“And you, their best beloved one, are now to me, flesh of my flesh; blood of my blood; kin of my kin; my bountiful wine-press for awhile; and shall later on be my companion and my helper.” Bram Stoker, Dracula
In 1897, Bram Stoker wrote the quintessential gothic romance, a vampire novel. Dracula is a love story…with blood, violence, and unspeakable gore, but also a love story of eternal commitment and companionship. This however was not the first vampire novel. The first was written nearly eighty years earlier…
Imagine, the year 1816, four very young writers on summer holiday on the shores of Lake Geneva, Switzerland. The weather turns to rain and gloom, limiting their pursuits. One of them, Lord Byron, puts forth a challenge to write a ghost story. One of the stories written on that summer holiday was penned by then eighteen-year old Mary Shelley: Frankenstein. Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron, two great romantic poets must have written something that summer, but that is neither here nor there. The fourth writer there was twenty three year old John William Polidori, and his contribution sparked a genre that still holds mass appeal almost two hundred years later: romantic vampire fantasy fiction, with his story “Vampyre.”
Polidori would be dead within two years, a suicide due to depression brought on by gambling debt.
Lord Byron was a beautiful man, a poet, a womanizer, and the inspiration for Vampyre by Polidori. With Byron as the prototype, it’s no wonder vampire novels have the common theme of love, romance, and a dark side.
Two books written on the subject are:
“The Monsters, Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein,” by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler (2009)
“The Young Romantics,” by Daisy Hay (2010)
Both books chronicle the lives of those present in Switzerland on that holiday, and the subsequent untimely deaths of nearly all.
June 21, 2016, One Word Daily Prompt: Companion~ <a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/companion/”>Companion</a>