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“The Vampyre” is a short story written in 1819 by John Polidori and is one of the first, if not then the first, stories to incorporate vampirism into a coherent genre. The story follows a young Englishman named Aubrey who meets another wealthy man named Lord Ruthven. Many associate these two characters as a representation to Polidori’s real life, with Ruthven representing Lord Byron (who he studied under) and Aubrey representing himself. Byron was described as an arrogant person who mistreated those he was around. An analogy could even be made that he was like a “vampire” who sucked the life out of those he knew. Aubrey and Lord Ruthven then take a trip together across Europe. Lord Byron was notoriously known for being a “ladies” man, being associating with many different rumors of affairs. This could have been the inspiration for how Ruthven uses seduction as a method of killing in the story (Aubrey’s wife is an example). Lord Ruthven has an instance where he tries to seduce an innocent woman and Aubrey steps in to stop him.

The element of love, loneliness, and seduction is common in most vampire stories and most credit can probably be pointed back to Polidori’s “The Vampyre”. Short Russian folktales like “The vampire” represent a vampire as more of a horror monster. The story of Dracula takes the genre one step further by incorporating love as a major part of the conflict. There are not that many vampire stories since the arrival of Dracula that don’t incorporate love into their story. Whether this is just because “love” is a basic story telling element or because the vampire horror genre is best represented with that element in it, is up for debate. Recent adaptations of vampire stories like Buffy the Vampire slayer or Twilight are mostly targeted and teenage audiences. While the tones in these films and stories are much different than those of the 19th century, it makes sense as to why they are doing so well. Most stories that are “targeted” at the teenage age group almost always infuse it with “teen drama” and “love”. It adds a little more to what the directors can do with the story without straying too far from any “romantic” elements. While the story of Frankenstein did consist of themes about love and loneliness, it would humorous to have a movie or show about a group of teenage Frankenstein monsters having love affairs and drama. The seductive traits expressed in “The Vampyre” have almost developed a genre in its own. While Dracula took it to another level, the traits and common elements that are incorporated into most vampire stories can be traced back to Polidori’s Ruthen, inspired by Lord Byron.

References:

https://publicdomainreview.org/2014/10/16/the-poet-the-physician-and-the-birth-of-the-modern-vampire/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dracula

http://henryjenkins.org/2006/06/welcome_to_convergence_culture.html

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