The title of a collection of popular stories in two volumes
dealing mainly with apparitions and specters that was published
in Paris in 1812. The contents were translated from the
original German by Jean Baptiste Eyriès. Lord Byron read
these stories aloud to Percy Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft (later
Mrs. Shelley), Claire Clairmont, and John William Polidori in
the summer of 1816 at the Villa Diodati by Lake Geneva in
Switzerland. Subsequently, Byron proposed that each member
of the company, amid their ingestions of laudanum, attempt to
write a ghost story. As a result Mary Wollstonecraft began her
novel Frankenstein. Several years later Polidori expanded the
story begun by Byron and turned it into the first modern vampire
story, published as The Vampyr in 1819. These stories generated
a whole genre of gothic literature with special reference
to vampire themes.