|One of a set of 50 trading cards published by|
Acid Rain Studios in 1992 titled: Vampires
Throughout History (from Giovannini's book)
Lord Ruthven certainly attracted the intention of not only polite society, but the public in general in the 19th century. Initially no doubt aided by the attribution of the tale to the notorious Lord Byron, the vampiric Lord and his effect on particularly women eventually took on a strange life of its own: in print, on the stage and set to music.
Much has been written about Polidori's tale, the sensation that it created and its role in developing the aristocratic vampire into Count Dracula, but I cannot recall seeing a work solely created to the subject of Lord Ruthven, until I picked up Fabio Giovannini's Lord Ruthwen il Vampiro in Italy. Ruthwen, and not Ruthven, it says, because the major part of the book consists of a translation of Charles Nodier's Lord Ruthwen ou Les Vampires published in 1820 and attributed to 'C.B.' (Cyprien Bérard). Giovannini has, however, also included a translation of Polidori's original tale, but what attracted to me the book was the 'Ruthweniana': the information about Lord Ruthwen/Ruthven's adventures in various guises and media, not only in 19th century, but also in films and comics of more recent years. And I certainly was unaware of the 'true' Lord Ruthvens: Patrick Ruthven (c. 1520-1566) and William Ruthven (d. 1541-1584), cf. also Clan Ruthven.
Giavonnini also includes bibliographic information about Polidori's The Vampyre and a colourful series of portraits of thirty of Lord Ruthwen's descendants from Sir Francis Varney and Count Dracula to Edward Cullen and Count Domingo Vrolok. Lord Ruthwen il Vampiro then no doubt will appeal both to those seeking vampire thrills and for the afficionados of the genre. Required, of course, that one can fully understand and enjoy the Italian tongue.
For Nodier's novel in French, check Google books or Florent Montaclair's Le vampire dans la littérature romantique francaise 1820-1868: Textes et documents (2010). English translations of Nodier and other relevant texts should be available in Frank J. Morlock's Lord Ruthven the Vampire (2004).