A splendidly quick-paced and well-structured plot that revolves around a vampire, lots of twists and turns and an ending that is surprising, to say the least - this is what Sylvester Viereck's The House of the Vampire offers the reader.
The principal character of the book, Reginald Clarke is not the usual kind of vampire and his adventures are not usual either. Even though there is some blood-sucking involved - even the strangest vampire must eat - this vampire has much higher aspirations that drawing blood: he is looking for a way to extract artistic talent out of his victims and become a literary genius, depriving his victims not of the fluid that runs in their veins, but of their mental capacities.
Reginald pretends to be a patron of young literary talents, his current victim being a man called Ernest. Reginald makes Ernest a generous offer, then soon after the young man accepts, he starts having difficulties putting his ideas to paper, while at the same time, Reginald starts to produce writing that resembles Ernest's style and approach. Reginald's former wife tries to intervene and save the young man, but the reader will not find out whether she is successful until the very end of the story.
First published in 1907, The House of the Vampire is considered to be an extraordinary novel and the first ever story to feature a psychic vampire. The story was written by Viereck at the age of 23, just a year after he graduated from the College of the City of New York. He was already an appreciated young poet when he decided to extend his focus and his scope to writing narratives, plays and essays as well, making him an even more complex and even more controversial literary figure of the first few decades of the 20th century.
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