The Borgo Cast - The Intersections of Dracula

Episode 1

Varney the Vampire Volume 1

Dustin Sells published on

And we are back! This week I review Varney the Vampire Volume 1. 

We are continuing with a quick review of the English literature developments of the vampire narrative leading to Stoker's masterpiece. This week we cover the serialized Penny Dreadful, Varney the Vampire Volume 1. This version, though all of them are in the public domain is a three volume version of the series. It is broken into volumes because the entire run of the story is in fact, 800 pages + long. It's massive! 

Here's a brief summary from Wikipedia:

Varney the Vampire; or, the Feast of Blood is a Victorian era serialized gothic horror story variously attributed to James Malcolm Rymer and Thomas Peckett [or Preskett] Prest. It first appeared in 1845–1847 as a series of weekly cheap pamphlets of the kind then known as "penny dreadfuls". The author was paid by the typeset line so when the story was published in book form in 1847, it was of epic length: the original edition ran to 876 double-columned pages and 232 chapters. Altogether it totals nearly 667,000 words.

Despite its inconsistencies, Varney the Vampire is more or less a cohesive whole. It is the tale of the vampire Sir Francis Varney, and introduced many of the tropes present in vampire fiction recognizable to modern audiences. It was the first story to refer to sharpened teeth for a vampire, noting “With a plunge he seizes her neck in his fang-like teeth.”

In my review we summarize the plot of the first volume, examine the characters and finally evaluate the novel's place in vampire lore.

I conclude by asking you dear listener, if you want more Varney in the future. I am certainly game to do more, but this particular book, likely due to it's length, does not get a lot of attention.

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