Lost in Media: John Polidori’s Vampyre as a Serial Figure in Romantic Popular Culture

  • Ralf Haekel


John Polidori’s novella The Vampyre (1819) is not only a literary but also a theatrical and media phenomenon. The phenomenal success of the story and especially its Byronic villain Lord Ruthven paved the way for Bram Stoker’s Dracula and countless remediations of the vampire in twentieth- and twenty-first-century popular culture. Tracing several modes of adaptation and remediation, this chapter argues that the Romantic stage adaptation created the vampire as a ‘serial figure’; a theoretical concept used to describe recurrent characters in modern media. With the help of a second concept applied in the analysis, the ‘theatregram’, I argue that the success of the medial figure should be described less as a reinterpretation of an original round character but rather as the succession and transformation of typical semantic traits from Romantic popular media culture to the present day.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ralf Haekel
    • 1
  1. 1.Leipzig UniversityLeipzigGermany

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