Erin Horáková writes:

Byron was such a tool ppl invented vampire fiction to take the piss out of him...

Tony Lewis writes:

Polidori’s relationship with Byron soured for various reasons, and he was soon dismissed from his job. The doctor returned to his father’s native Italy, and there decided to get his own form of literary revenge on Lord Byron. .... Polidori’s Lord Ruthven was a vampire, but unlike the vampires of traditional folklore, this one was a suave aristocrat who preyed on the young women of the British upper class, destroying their lives with his evil. The character was, again, a thinly-veiled satire on Byron and his hijinks. To rub salt in the wound, Polidori plagiarized Byron’s ghost story and created a novel called The Vampyre.

Kim Newman writes:

Polidori, who was making the point that his friend Byron sometimes acted like a callous, blood-sucking monster, dressed up the fiend in smart clothes, gave him a title (there was a real Lord Ruthven at the time, but he didn’t sue) and set him loose as a predator in high society.

My question is: Is there evidence to suggest that Vampire Fiction was invented to satirise Lord Byron?


It is the universally accepted opinion that Lord Ruthven character in "The Vampyre" is based on Byron, but the author himself never confirmed this. The story itself was apparently written in 1816, when Byron, his physician Polidori and Mary Percy Shelley with friends stayed at Villa Diodati in Geneva [1]. It was Byron's challenge of writing a ghost story that initiated the writing of both "The Vampyre" and "Frankenstein". Byron himself created the unfinished story known as "Fragment", which Polidori then used to create his own novel - apparently with Byron's knowledge. The story was then written down for the Countess of Breuss, who lived nearby, and from whom the publisher acquired the manuscript later [2].

In 1819 the story was published by Henry Colburn in the New Monthly Magazine - under Byron's name (it seems it was published without first contacting the author). Byron denied his authorship, so later editions removed his name from the front page, although still did not credit Polidori [3].

Thus, the evidence is that by the time Polidori and Byron's relationship indeed soured, the novel was already written, so it is unlikely that it was intended to be a satirize of Byron, and we have no evidence to suggest otherwise. And second - if anything, the "Vampire Fiction" was invented by Byron himself, as it was he who wrote the original fragment which was the basis for Polidori's work.

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