Pink XI and Vampire Fiction

This post was written by Dara.

As Eloise’s teaching partner points out in the prologue, Vampire fiction (intersections between fact and fiction aside) has been around long before the current fixation, or even Stoker’s Dracula, which most of us think of as the first of vampire fiction.

The vampire craze started in the 17th century with the vampire craze of the 1720s and 30s (which included the official exhumation of suspected vampires in Serbia). The first literary work on the subject is the short German poem The Vampire written in 1748, followed by several longer poems by German authors. The first vampires in English literature appeared in the later 1700s, most notably Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s epic poem Christabel, written after 1797 but not published until 1816, (I had to read this in undergrad-it is quite a read!) and Joseph Sherridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla (1876), which is markedly similar to Christabel.

vampire(Illustration from Carmilla by David Henry Friston)

Miss Gwen’s fictional Convent of Orsino, published in 1806, would have fit in here, beating the true first vampire novel by a good 13 years.

Most scholars attribute the real beginning of vampire novels to The Vampyre (written in 1819 by Polidori), in which Lord Byron is the model for the undead protagonist. The novel began as part of a ghost story competition designed to pass the time on a holiday at Lake Geneva with Polidori, Lord Byron, Percy Shelley and Mary Shelley. (Mary Shelley’s Frankenstien came out of this competitions as well.) There were several other little know novels and poems, most of which were adaptations of previous works to follow, and many appearances of vampires in the popular “penny dreadfuls” of the time, but the next great work is Stoker’s Dracula, which is usually seen as the definitive description of the vampire in popular fiction moving forward. Stoker portrays vampirism as a contagious disease, rather than a supernatural power as in previous works, and this categorization has stayed with the genre into modern works.

In the 1900s, cinema ushered vampires into the science fiction genre in addition to the gothic horror novels and plays of the past. Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend (1954) ushered in the depiction of vampires as creature of horror (rather than the gothic heroes romanticized in Dracula and the like). In 1975, Stephen King and Anne Rice bring vampires back into the literary eye with Salem’s Lot and the Vampire Chronicles, and the genre has been popular ever since.

An interesting side note to this topic is that Dark Shadows, the definitive vampire TV show of the 80s, was the impetus for Lauren deciding to end the Pink Carnation series. You can check out how the two connect in her interview on Romance University.


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11 thoughts on “Pink XI and Vampire Fiction

  1. Pingback: Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla and the History of Vampire Fiction | Inspiration in Creation

  2. I didn’t realize that I am legend was a vampire I thought they were more zombie like in the movie, have never read the book and the tidbit about the writing contest was cool! I just read the article linked about the end of the series and a) it was interesting and b) did anyone else catch that there are 2 more pink carnations stories Lauren wants to write?!

  3. Thank you so much for this article filled with such interesting information. I was not familiar with Polidori, but will definitely check out The Vampyre. I was interested to find out that authorship of the novel was originally attributed to Lord Byron, and that he denied it, insisting Polidori was the true author. In fact, because of the confusion, Byron published his ‘fragmented’ ghost story written at the competition you mentioned – another wonderful tidbit of information. I long ago wrote a paper on Byron, as he was my favorite Romantic poet. Will definitely have to go back through his works – at the time I had read epic poems “Childe Harold”, and “Don Juan”. Of course one of my favorite short poems of Byron’s remains “She Walks in Beauty”.

    Like Sheila, I date myself to being a great fan of the original Dark Shadows TV show that began in 1966 – glued to the TV every afternoon at 4:00. A remembrance of this show is winding its way through FB now. Lauren mentioned seeing it in the 80’s, which must have been either a revival or remake at the time, so you were probably correct in your post.

    Loved the link to Lauren’s interview at Romance University – so much good information from her, and yes, she did indicate that she has two more “Pink” stories in mind. I was particularly glad to read that Lauren decided to end the series herself (which may not really end), rather than being forced to end it by a publisher. I got a clear understanding of her thoughts from this interview and desire to bring closure to her fans, hence the Dark Shadows reference. Going in so many different directions must be extremely challenging for an author, even such a talented on as Lauren.

    Lastly, I wanted to mention some favorite vampire books I have read and enjoyed from current authors. Deanna Raybourn’s THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST was excellent – keeps the reader guessing throughout. Also, Syrie James has written two books in this vein: DRACULA, MY LOVE tells Stoker’s tale through the eyes of Mina Harker. She also has a wonderful novel, NOCTURNE, set in present day. Of course the TWILIGHT craze certainly brought vampires back into vogue, whether in a good or bad way. I read this series to keep track of what my 5th grade students were reading at the time.

    Again, thanks for such a great post – thanks for the memories!

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