Poor Polidori, Grandad of the romantic vampire in literature

I’ve been obsessing over the idea of taking a writer’s reatreat for a while now: the instant I’ve a new project to work on, I suspect I might make the efforts towards locking myself away for a week to generate a story, but in the meantime — wading through the rewrite process (which is basically like sloshing through a pile of gooey crap at the same time every day) — I’m just daydreaming.

Since I work for a luxury vacation rentals company doing their website design, it ocurred to me a few weeks back that, “Wouldn’t it be cool if the Villa Diodati was for rent? I’d travel for that. I’d invite friends, even.”

It’s not in our portfolio, but it did get me doing a bit of idle research. The Villa Diodati is infamous in some horror circles because it’s the place where, in the summer of 1816, a few friends got together and challenged each other to write ghost stories. (Is is for rent, bee-tee-double-you: Privately. For something like, $30,000 a week.)

Two in particular came out of that retreat — one was Frankenstein, and the other is the lesser-known progenitor to the romantic vampire character in literature: John William Polidori’s The Vampyre.

I talk about the stories origins and influences, and Polidori’s rotten luck, at The Midnight Society.

Check out the article below. 🙂

Poor Polidori, Grandad of the romantic vampire in literature

Villa Diodati, Summer of Darkness

In the summer of 1816, a group of artists, poets, and friends gathered together at the Villa Diodati on Lake Geneva in Swizerland. Sounds quaint enough. So here’s the dirt, and I’m paraphrasing liberally from a couple of different sources: Mary Shelly’s step-sister, Claire Clairmont, had the idea: she was hooking up with Lord Byron and even though he wasn’t really feeling it, she decided to “surprise” him in Swizerland though he never really invited her along for the trip. With her, Claire brought Mary and her main squeeze, Percy, along for kicks. Percy Blysse Shelly and Lord Byron hit it off, but Lord Byron had a travelling companion too: his physician, but his physician thought he was just hanging out because Lord Byron liked his company rather than, you know, attending to Lord Byron’s health. Bit of a burn, thinking Lord Byron was cool with you, when in fact you weren’t part of the squad.

The physician in question was John William Polidori, and he was nineteen.

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