So romantic, so deadly. It’s hard to resist a tall, dark, brooding, black-clad, courtly, seductive, repulsive, violent vampire. Such exquisite terror and sweeping adventure! But at their core, the best vampire tales are also stories of loneliness and the desperate wish for a love to last all time.
The first literary vampire to rise up and bare his fangs is found in the 1748 poem The Vampire by Heinrich August Ossenfelder: And as softly thou art sleeping / To thee shall I come creeping / And thy life’s blood drain away.
In 1819, John William Polidori — a guest at the same party where Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein — gave us The Vampyre, and we were introduced to the now-ubiquitous vision of an aristocratic villain (with deathly pale skin and a fine black suit), hunting among society’s beautiful people.
Fast forward through time, and you’ll meet Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the Vampire Lestat in Anne Rice’s modern classics; Twilight’s Cullen family with sparkly heartthrob Edward; Joshua York in George R.R. Martin’s Fevre Dream; Steven King’s Kurt Barlow from Salem’s Lot; that cute little Swedish girl Eli from Let the Right One In, and so many more.
Our recommended books will introduce you to vampires from all swaths of society and cultures around the world. Perhaps a dab of holy water behind each ear?
Top image courtesy of Cederic X/Unsplash.
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