John William Polidori was born in the Soho area of London in 1795. His father was Gaetano Polidori, an Italian writer and scholar who emigrated to London. His mother was an English governess named Anna Maria Pierce.
As a young boy Polidori went to study at the Catholic Ampleforth College. Later his father sent him to study medicine at the University of Edinburgh. He obtained his degree as a medical doctor at the age of nineteen, after writing his thesis on sleepwalking.
In 1816 Polidori began...