The Vampyre is a short fictional novel written by John William Polidori. Similarly, to Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, it is considered the forebear of the fantastical and romantic genre. It is the first book with and about vampires, and thus inspired several other works for famous fiction, such as Dracula by Bram Stoker.
The Vampire was written at the Geneva Convention, where Percy Shelley, Mary Godwin (future Shelley) and Lord Byron were together. Polidori was hired as a Lord Byron’s personal physician. He wrote the book when Lord Byron got bored of his own inventions, which is why Polidori borrowed his idea. It was then erroneously published under Byron’s name.
The story centers around a vampire, Ruthven and his close companion Aubrey. When they leave for a Europe tour, Aubrey doesn’t understand why and how everyone around Lord Ruthven tends to get hurt. In the end, he realizes what Ruthven is, but by that time it is too late. Audrey’s sister and the last parts of his family die at the hand of Ruthven, and as Audrey doesn’t manage to take the emotional blow, he dies alongside her.
Polidori was an English physician and writer, who committed suicide in August 1821 at the age of 25. He was deeply in debt and depression, though he managed to build himself a legacy that he will be remembered for.