Written in the summer 1816 just after Lord Byron had sacked him as his physician and travelling companion during his 1816 Grand Tour, Polidori’s story launched a vampire craze in England and in the continent. It was the first work to recast the vampire mythology by elevating the figure of the undead to the dignity of high social rank and to establish the association between vampirism and sexuality. Most importantly, Polidori succeeded in endowing his tale with subtle psychological implications. I would like to show that vampirism was essentially for Polidori a metaphor for the representation of inner conflicts regarding himself and the tempestuous relationship he had with Lord Byron. The story can be read as both the dramatization of Polidori’s ambivalent feeling towards his employer (mixed feeling of admiration, hatred and envy) and the illustration of his own uncertain subjectivity. A psychic conflict which the entangled case of The Vampyre’s publication perfectly illustrates. Starting from this assumption and drawing also from Polidori’s diary, The Vampyre can be read both as an acting out of feelings of revenge and indictment towards Byron, as well as a sort of confessional self-portraiture showing Polidori’s subordinate position and difficulty in achieving the separation-individuation which is at the base of the sense of self. While Lord Ruthven, clearly modelled on Lord Byron, is portrayed a master of seduction, a cynic aristocrat, a triumphant rebel defiant of socio-moral codes, Aubrey is viewed in contrast as vulnerable and passive, as virtuous and doomed as Ruthven’s hapless female victims. The Vampyre thus is not restricted to an anatomy of envy, but it is the illustration of Dr Polidori’s own narcissistic wounds. As such the figure of the vampire became a metaphor for acting out private fantasies such as identification and projection, as well as fear of failure and self-destructive drives.
|Titolo:||“A star in the halo of the moon, invisible”: Polidori, Byron and the Torments of Envy|
|Autori interni:||VANON, Michela|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2014|
|Rivista:||RIVISTA DI LETTERATURE MODERNE E COMPARATE|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||2.1 Articolo su rivista |
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