Gothic Horrors of the Private Realm and the Return to the Public in John Polidori’s The Vampyre

Ahmet Süner


This study of Polidori’s story, The Vampyre, written at the beginning of the 19th century aims at relocating the social relevance of both the story and Gothic literature in the contentious zone between the private and public sphere. The story vacillates between private and public realms, drawing its vampiric theme from such vacillations. It expresses the horrors of vampiric intimacy inherent in private life, which opposes the moral character of the public realm. The most dangerous sites of private life are represented as the realm of the imagination and that of intersubjective intimacy. The story also contains several prominent Romantic tropes, including nature and orientalism, all pointing to the intimate dangers of the private realm. Lord Ruthven, Polidori’s “vampire” is an explosive figure at the fraught intersection between a private life that demands secrecy for its private pleasures, and a public realm that demands exposure to regulate and control.


Private Life, Public, Gaze, Intimacy, Gothic, Romance, Vampire

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Moderna språk - Institutionen för moderna språk - Box 636 - SE-751 26 UPPSALA
ISSN: 2000-3560