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Download The House of the Vampire epub

by George Sylvester Viereck

Originally published in 1907, "The House of the Vampire" is notable as one of the first psychic vampire stories, as well as the first known gay (actually, bisexual) vampire story.
Download The House of the Vampire epub
ISBN: 1434401324
ISBN13: 978-1434401328
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Genre Fiction
Author: George Sylvester Viereck
Language: English
Publisher: Wildside Press (July 2, 2009)
Pages: 74 pages
ePUB size: 1937 kb
FB2 size: 1420 kb
Rating: 4.9
Votes: 550
Other Formats: docx azw lrf mobi

The archaic and flowery style of this book would be considered hopelessly overwritten today. But after awhile I cane to enjoy it, seeing this book as a fascinating look into the formal, stilted world of upper-class 1907. Some have argued that this is "gay" fiction. Well? There is no actual gay sex, but there is a lot of affection, adoration and love for one male towards another.
It also took awhile for the storyline to develop, but once it became obvious what was happening, I was drawn right in. I actually read this a second time, whereupon I better appreciated the hints that were dropped early on, and the skill with which Viereck portrayed the mind-raping Reginald.
I re-read it because I was so interested in the psychology of the author. G.S. Viereck seemed to be a collector of great men. He befriended Nikola Tesla, went around interviewing other notables including Freud, Einstein and Hitler. In fact Viereck admired Hitler and called him a "genius". And finally he was jailed for spreading Nazi propaganda.
Knowing this about the author made me want to re-read this book, to see just how much of 'Reginald Clarke' was autobiographical, at least as "wishful thinking" on Viereck's part.
Judging by the ending, I am tempted to say "it is a definite possibility".
This isn't a book about your traditional bloodsucking vampire, but rather a mental vampire. Ernest, a young writer, moves in with Reginald Clarke, a successful writer. Reginald has a habit of taking young creative types under his wing and Ernest thinks he can benefit from Clarke's genius and patronage (or, as the book's purple prose states: "He needed the voice of loving kindness to call him back from the valley of haunting shadows, where his poet's soul was want to linger overlong; in his hours of weakness the light caress of a comrade renewed his strength and rekindled in his hand the flaming sword of song."). But is there more to Clarke's generous offer than meets the eye? Quickly Ernest begins to struggle with his writing and the new works that Clarke presents seem strangely familiar to him. Clarke's ex-wife (the excellently named Ethel Brandenbourg) attempts to intervene to save Ernest before it is too late.

This isn't a gay novel, but it isn't hard to see how people have gotten that impression. In addition to the "light caress of a comrade" that Ernest craves, you've got men claiming their hearts beat "as one" with another man and grown men holding hands as they take a ferry ride. The heterosexual elements come across as window dressing on what is essentially a homosocial - if not homosexual - novel. The author does have this to say about the potential relationship between a man and a woman: "Tenderness between man and woman is like a match in a powder-magazine. The least provocation, and an amorous explosion will ensue, tumbling down the card-houses of platonic affection. If he yielded to the impulse of the moment, the wine of springtide would set their blood afire, and from the flames within us there is no escape." But essentially, there is nothing specifically female about Ethel - she could easily be read as a man.

This novel, despite the slightly overheated (and dated) style is an enjoyable read. Take away some of the stylistic elements and you've got a scary story that seems strangely modern. Anybody can take your blood, the author seems to be telling us. What would you do against an opponent who threatened to take away everything that makes you who you are . . . and says he is doing it for the good of humanity?
The vampire in this 1907 novel is of the psychic variety, a successful and remarkably arrogant author named Reginald Clarke, who steals the best thoughts from the most talented souls around him by a kind of mind invasion technique. He makes women blush and men swoon, especially young Ernest Fielding, his current victim. Poor Ernest finds that this man whom he worships has somehow extracted from his very soul a masterpiece of literature, which he passes as his own. While the narrator asserts that "all genuine art is autobiography", this doesn't stop this psychic leech from exploiting the talents of those around him, leaving them empty, wasted shells. Ernest joins with his new lover, Ethel Brandenbourg, in a brave attempt to rescue what is rightly his from Clarke, but he will have to contend with Clarke's almost superhuman force of personality and well-developed sense of contempt for lesser mortals. Despite the turn of the century philosophizing on the nature of creativity, and a genuinely chilling denoument, I'd have to rank this entertaining novel as only a touch above middling.