PRELIMINARIES FOR THE VAMPYRE
PUBLISHED in the April 1819 issue of the New Monthly Magazine (old series: 11/63, 193-6), the three sections that make up these 'Preliminaries' appeared immediately before The Vampyre and under the heading "'Original Communications'". The brief opening editorial statement is by the New Monthly sub-editor Alaric Watts, except that the last sentence belongs to the magazine's owner Henry Colburn. The "'Extract of a Letter from Geneva'" has been attributed to a number of writers. W. M. Rossetti ascribes it to Madame Gatelier, and is partially endorsed by Rieger. Byron thought it belonged to Polidori, and the case for Polidori's authorship has been made again by Grudin. But, as Macdonald points out, Polidori's protests to Colburn at the time of publication, and the fact that he crossed out the "'Extract'" in his own copy of The Vampyre, suggest he is not responsible. Macdonald proposes the minor and somewhat unscrupulous hack writer John Mitford, whose Private Life of Lord Byron appeared in 1828( The Diary of Dr John William Polidori, ed. W. M. Rossetti ( London, 1911), 13; James Rieger, "'Dr. Polidori and the Genesis of Frankenstein'" in Studies in English Literature, 3 ( 1963), 461; Byron's Letters and Journals, ed. L. A. Marchand ( 12 vols.; London, 1973- 82), vi. 125-7; Peter D. Grudin, The Demon Lover ( New York, 1987), 74-7; Macdonald, Poor Polidori, 184, 276).
The final section on the history of the vampire probably belongs to either Mitford or Watts; the 'ED.' signature indicates Watts.
(We received several private letters in the course of last autumn from a friend travelling on the Continent, and among others the following, which we give to the public on account of its containing anecdotes of an Individual, concerning whom the most trifling circumstances, if they tend to mark even the minor features of his mind, cannot fail of being considered important and valuable by those who know how to appreciate his erratic but transcendent genius. The tale which accompanied the letter we have also much pleasure in presenting to our readers.--Ed.)