Varney, an early vampire story

Book/Illustration/Image

Description

English

This famous penny blood, Varney the Vampyre, is comparatively well written, with an original plot. The first edition of 1845-46 ran to 868 pages; in this version of the early 1850s the text is shortened to 470 pages, but some of the most powerful original illustrations have been re-used. During the peak period of penny blood publishing in the 1840s Edward Lloyd's artists experimented with the layout of their front pages, using irregular shaped blocks to create a more sophisticated design.

Predating Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897) by nearly half a decade, Varney is one of the earlier examples of the vampire in literature.

Full title
Varney the Vampyre; or, the Feast of blood. A romance
Published
estimated 1854 , London
Format
Book / Illustration / Image
Creator
James Malcolm Rymer
Held by
British Library
Usage Terms
Free from known copyright restrictions
Shelfmark
12624.e.6.

Related articles

Penny dreadfuls

Article by
Judith Flanders
Themes: 
Crime and crime fiction, Reading and print culture, Popular culture

The penny dreadful was a 19th-century publishing phenomenon. Judith Flanders explains what made these cheap, sensational, highly illustrated stories so popular with the Victorian public.

The Victorian supernatural

Article by
Roger Luckhurst
Theme: 
The Gothic

Roger Luckhurst challenges the idea of the 19th century as one of secularisation, exploring the popularity of mesmerism, spiritualism and 'true' ghost stories in the period.

The origins of the Gothic

Article by
John Mullan
Themes: 
The Gothic, The novel 1780-1832

Professor John Mullan examines the origins of the Gothic, explaining how the genre became one of the most popular of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and the subsequent integration of Gothic elements into mainstream Victorian fiction.

Related collection items