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Lord Byron is one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. In his epic poem The Giaour, Lord Byron lays the foundation for the modern vampire. Lord Byron plays an integral roll in bringing the vampire lore to English literature. At the time that Lord Byron wrote the first art of his Turkish Tales he was traveling through Europe in a Grand Tour. The Grand Tour was a popular endeavor for rich Englishmen to travel through Rome and Greece in an attempt to discover the lost cultures and enlightenments of the Greco-Roman era. This particularly important when understanding Lord Byron's linking of the slavic vampire lore with the Romantic Englsih literature of the early 19th century, because Lord Byron is writing this story of an outsider in the Turkish kingdom from Athens, Greece, two places with a rich history of conflict (the Persians and the ancient Greeks). The elements of this history is prevalent in the epic poem, as "Giaour" is a derogatory Turkish word for infidel or non-believer. From a theoretical standpoint, Lord Byron lays the foundations for the modern vampire in his cursing of The Giaour. As Jeffery Cohen wrote in his "Monster Culture: Seven These", the monster that Byron creates is the embodiment of the fantasy and desire, both of which the Giaour is guilty. Additionally, Cohen writes that the monster is of our own creation, again the Giaour is guilty of creating his own doom.

[1] Lord Byron Biography

[2] The Giaour synopsis

[3] Gardner's Art through the Ages (Text)


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