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John William Polidori (1795 - 1821)

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  • JOHN WILLIAM POLIDORI was born in 1795 into a distinguished Anglo-Italian family. He was educated at Ampleforth College and the University of Edinburgh, where in 1815 he was awarded a degree of doctor of medicine, at the age of nineteen. In 1816 Polidori entered Lord Byron's service as his personal physician, accompanying him on his travels through Europe. It was while staying with Mary Wollstonecraft, Percy Shelley and Claire Clairmont at Byron's rented house by Lake Geneva, that Polidori began to write the famous work, The Vampyre. The novel was published in 1819, originally attributed to Byron. Polidori and Byron parted company later in 1816; for a time Polidori continued to travel through Europe alone, before returning to England in 1817. He settled in Norwich, where for some years he practised as a doctor and pursued his literary career, until a serious accident damaged his health and made it impossible for him to work. On 21 August 1821 he died at the family home in London after accidentally taking poison.
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