The deformed transformed; or, from bloodsucker to Byronic hero - Polidori and the literary vampire
in Open Graves, Open Minds
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This chapter shows the evolution of the Byronic vampire as it mutated from its folkloric roots, as documented in the ethnography of the likes of Joseph Pitton de Tournefort, into a powerful literary figure. It also shows that, as this archetype evolved, it did so through an interplay with the actual persona of Byron. Byron's twentieth- and twenty-first-century successors rejoice in their vampiric Otherness, reaffirming themselves against that which they are now not, the deformed transformed. Byron himself had little to do with the vampire's humanisation; yet his physician and rival John Polidori would appropriate his aura of melancholic broodiness and reputation of nocturnal lover and destroyer in The Vampyre. Transgressing all social and ethical boundaries, the Byronic hero is always an outcast, living in perpetual exile on the fringes of society, on the run from persecution and persecuting others in turn.

Open Graves, Open Minds

Representations of Vampires and the Undead from the Enlightenment to the Present Day

Editors: Sam George and Bill Hughes


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