The Vampyre, and Other Tales of the Macabre

By Robert Morrison; Chris Baldick | Go to book overview

APPENDIX B
NOTE ON THE VAMPYRE

John Polidori

THIS note by John Polidori was published as part of the Introduction to his only full-length novel, Ernestus Berchtold, which appeared, like The Vampyre, in 1819. The note is appended to the opening sentence, which reads: 'The tale here presented to the public is the one I began at Coligny, when Frankenstein was planned, and when a noble author having determined to descend from his lofty range, gave up a few hours to a tale of terror, and wrote the fragment published at the end of Mazeppa.'

THE tale which lately appeared, and to which his lordship's name was wrongfully attached, was founded upon the groundwork upon which this fragment was to have been continued. Two friends were to travel from England into Greece; while there, one of them should die, but before his death, should obtain from his friend an oath of secrecy with regard to his decease. Some short time after, the remaining traveller returning to his native country, should be startled at perceiving his former companion moving about in society, and should be horrified at finding that he made love to his former friend's sister. Upon this foundation I built the Vampyre, at the request of a lady, who denied the possibility of such a ground-work forming the outline of a tale which should bear the slightest appearance of probability. In the course of three mornings, I produced that tale, and left it with her. From thence it appears to have fallen into the hands of some person, who sent it to the Editor in such a way, as to leave it so doubtful from his words, whether it was his lordship's or not, that I found some difficulty in vindicating it to myself. These circumstances were stated in a letter sent to the Morning Chronicle three days

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