THE VAMPYRE; A TALE. John William Polidori.
THE VAMPYRE; A TALE.
THE VAMPYRE; A TALE.

THE VAMPYRE; A TALE. London: Printed for Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, 1819. Octavo, pp. [i-vii] viii-xvi [xvii-xix] xx-xxv [xxvi] [27] 28-84 + 16-page publisher's catalogue at rear dated "November 2d, 1818," half title leaf present; has "extract," pages 73-84, original unprinted drab paper wrappers, all edges untrimmed. First edition, first printing. The fourth of five issues, the second with the Sherwood, Neely, and Jones imprint (title and half title leaves reset to remove Byron's name). Polidori's story was published in the 1 April 1819 number of the NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE as "The Vampyre; a Tale by Lord Byron." When "The Vampyre" was being set in type by J. Gillet in March 1819 for the magazine appearance, editor Henry Colburn made arrangements to publish the story in book form. Shortly before commission of his ill-advised deception on 1 April -- knowingly attributing Polidori's tale to Byron -- Colburn turned over the sheets of the book as set up by Gillet to another London publisher, Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, in time for them to enter it at Stationer's Hall on 27 March. Colburn retained his own title leaves but the rest of the book was left intact. For the first of the Sherwood, Neely, and Jones issues, title leaves were printed attributing the story to "The Right Honourable Lord Byron" with Polidori's name omitted. This fabrication was quickly suppressed and a second issue was produced with Byron's name omitted and no attribution of authorship on the title page. A single copy of the first state of the book with the Colburn imprint and the attribution "Related by Lord Byron to Dr. Polidori" has survived; two copies of the second are recorded (CLO; BL); a single copy of Sherwood, Neely, and Jones's first issue is known (BL); this second issue is more common and was the one widely distributed for review. "Generally recognized as the first vampire story in English literature, Polidori's novella is the forerunner of the sophisticated vampirism of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's 'Carmilla,' Bram Stoker's DRACULA, and in the twentieth century, Anne Rice's INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE." - Tymn (ed), Horror Literature 1-304. Ashley, Who's Who in Horror and Fantasy Fiction, pp. 147-48. Barron (ed), Horror Literature 1-79. Bleiler, The Guide to Supernatural Fiction 1323. Carter, The Vampire in Literature, pp. 23-5. Cox, The Transylvanian Library 1. Frost, The Monster with a Thousand Faces, pp. 38-9. Sullivan (ed), The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural, pp. 328-29. Summers, A Gothic Bibliography, pp. 542-43. Bleiler (1978), p. 159. Reginald 11798. Wolff 5577. Wise, II, pp. 71-2. Viets III. Contemporary owner's attribution to "Mrs. Shelley" on the title page. Spine panel professionally rebacked to style, very light foxing early and late, a very good or better copy overall. Enclosed in a custom cloth traycase. (#136814).

Price: $12,500.00

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