Review: The Poet and The Vampyre by Andrew McConnell Stott

“The Curse of Byron and the Birth of Literature’s Greatest Monsters”


Byron in Arnaout Dress (1835) by Thomas Phillips (1770–1845)

LORD BYRON was considered by many to be “mad, bad, and dangerous to know!” He was an unapologetic sensualist who bedded men and women alike. Byron was a poet, a rogue, and an atheist with sexual appetites he proudly shared publicly. He also created rumours to inspire notoriety and fame—or perhaps infamy? This book reflects on a time in Byron’s life when he was highly creative but also indulgent to the point of extreme narcissism. Even self-destructive. He caused chaos in the lives of others as much as he inspired them. He adored the ardour of devotees but hated sycophants. It was often a fine line between the two and woe to those that crossed it.

The title of the book is slightly misleading, however. One might say it is “flowery and hyperbolic,” sounding more like something the publisher came up with for marketing purposes. It’s a great-sounding title, intriguing and dark, but this book is not a straightforward look at Byron in relation to Gothic themes like vampirism, monsters and curses. The title is more symbolic as Byron is both Poet and Vampyre at the same time, showcasing his literary prowess and his ability to take sustenance from his own celebrity, “feeding off” those around him creatively, sexually, romantically, and socially. 

Andrew McConnell Stott

Andrew McConnell Stott’s work is as fascinating as it is thorough in weaving together aggrieved letters and anecdotal evidence of a significant literary time into a narrative that educates as it captivates. Part historical fiction, part biography, The Poet and the Vampyre is a fun romp through the decadently creative time Byron, Shelley, Godwin, and Polidori had in Geneva, Switzerland. This was when Polidori wrote “The Vampyre,” a story where the main character closely resembles Byron and is historically known to have inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula. Of course, it must be said that the most significant contribution to literary history during this time was Mary Godwin’s (later Mary Shelley) creation of Frankenstein, considered by many as the birth of science fiction, despite its Gothic style and elements.

A final note, I particularly appreciated that while attention is given to all these 19th-century artists and influencers, Stott gives special attention to Polidori (often overshadowed by his larger-than-life contemporaries) and Claire Clairmont, Godwin’s step-sister. Clairmont is best known as Byron’s mistress, and the mother of his daughter Allegra, and she was pivotal in bringing Byron and Shelley together.

The Poet and The Vampire is available for purchase at and For more information about this author, go to Andrew McConnell Stott’s website and The Authors Guild page.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *