Book of the Week: Varney The Vampire: Or “The Feast Of Blood” by Thomas Preskett Prest

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With Dracula, many romantic images are conceived in today’s readers minds. They attribute a good deal of the mythos to that particular novel, and for good reason…it was pretty popular, but did you know this one came pretty much half a century before, and was the true progenitor of many of the tropes we still use today in vampire stories?

There’s plenty of awesome ‘penny dreadfuls’ out there worth browsing through if you like yourself something a little campy, a little gory, and perhaps a little tasteless…but few so long, and rarely do they receive much attention today (‘The String of Pearls’ aside, which you may know by the name ‘Sweeney Todd’.)

Essentially it’s a soap opera. In fact, fans of Dark Shadows might even consider Varney awfully similar to Barnabas Collins in his journey, at times sympathetic, and other times absolutely despicable. Anyway, it’s a fun romp, and an important mile stone in Gothic literature, well worth the read (over perhaps several dozen sittings.)

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