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A Curious Invitation: The Bicentennial Vampyre Ball at the Century Club

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Time 21:00
Date 25/10/19
Price £15

Celebrate the 200th anniversary of the 1819 publication of John Polidori’s The Vampyre, and salute Lord Ruthven, the lover of solitude and silence in whom an evil power resided.

Dates and Times: Friday the 25th October and Saturday the 26th October 2019 - 21:00 to 03:00.

He of the dead grey eye, a face of deadly hue with a smile of malicious exultation upon his lips. He who stalked the drawing rooms of London, Rome and Athens and hurled his victims from the pinnacle of unsullied virtue down to the lowest abyss of infamy and degradation. He who mocked death and arose from the grave to continue to glut his thirst on the society ladies of 19th Century London.

Polidori’s blood-sucking creation went on to inspire a two-century pantheon of fictional nosferatus including Count Dracula, Graf Orlok, Countess Bathory, Irina von Karlstein, Louis de Pointe du Lac, Lestat de Lioncourt, Spike & Drusilla, Edward Cullen, Santanico Pandemonium and Count Duckula.

Dr John Polidori was Lord Byron’s personal physician and travelling companion. He was present, with Byron and the Shelleys, at the legendary evening at the Villa Diodati near Lake Geneva in June 1816 - the “year without a summer” - where the unseasonal weather lent itself to contemplation of the supernatural. The guests were invited to write ghost stories to pass the time, which led to the genesis of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Byron’s unfinished contribution to the evening - a fragment about a man who dies and comes back to life - was later worked up by Polidori into a short story - The Vampyre - which was published in 1819. The central character, Lord Ruthven, was based on Byron himself. The story was to inspire Bram Stoker’s Dracula and spawned an entire horror genre. Polidori, disillusioned and in debt, committed suicide two years later at the age of 25.

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