First appearance of the vampire in English literature

Description

Published in 1801, Robert Southey’s epic poem Thalaba the Destroyer arguably features the first vampire in English literature. The vampire takes the form of Thalaba’s bride, Oneiza, who dies on their wedding day. Oneiza returns,

Her very lineaments, and such as death

Had changed them, livid cheeks, and lips of blue.

But in her eyes there dwelt

Brightness more terrible

Than all the loathsomeness of death.

The scene is accompanied by an extensive and detailed footnote in which Southey recounts the vampire tales of continental Europe.

Full title:
Thalaba the Destroyer. (A metrical romance.).
Published:
1801, London
Format:
Book
Creator:
Robert Southey
Held by:
British Library
Shelfmark:
992.f.17.

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