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Varney the Vampire - cover

Varney the Vampire

James Malcolm Rymer, Thomas Peckett Prest

Publisher: Musaicum Books

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Summary

Varney the Vampire; or, the Feast of Blood is a Victorian era serialized gothic horror story variously attributed to James Malcolm Rymer and Thomas PeckettPrest. It first appeared in 1845–1847 as a series of weekly cheap pamphlets of the kind then known as "penny dreadfuls". The author was paid by the typeset line, so when the story was published in book form in 1847, it was of epic length: the original edition ran to 876 double-columned pages and 232 chapters. Altogether it totals nearly 667,000 words. It is the tale of the vampire Sir Francis Varney, and introduced many of the tropes present in vampire fiction recognizable to modern audiences. It was the first story to refer to sharpened teeth for a vampire, noting "With a plunge he seizes her neck in his fang-like teeth." While ostensibly set in the early eighteenth century, there are references to the Napoleonic Wars and other indicators that the story is contemporary to the time of its writing in the mid-nineteenth century. Varney's adventures also occur in various locations including London, Bath, Winchester, Naples and Venice. Scholars like A. AsbjørnJøn have noted that Varney was a major influence on later vampire fiction, including the renowned novel Dracula (1897) by Bram Stoker.

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