Wake Not the Dead

May 9, 2009 at 1:22 am (Classical Vampire Literature, Vampires around the World) (, )

“Wake Not the Dead” is a good warning, unfortunately or maybe
fortunately, one that we vampire authors have not heeded.

Wake Not The Dead was written by Johann Ludwig Tieck about 1800.
It is considered the first vampire story, although not the first English vampire story. That honor goes to John Polidori’s The Vampyre, because Wake Not The Dead wasn’t translated into English until 1823.  It can  be considered the first modern vampire romance. It is about a man who loves his dead wife so much he has a necromancer return her to life, only to discover she has become a vampire.

I read Leslie Ormandy’s updated version of the tale and was indeed impressed by the modern quality of the storyline. Walter so loved his first wife and mourns her passing that even his new wife and family cannot ease his pain. A necromancer brings her back to life, despite his warnings “Wake
Not the Dead.” She is even more beautiful than before, and it seems at first to be everything he hoped for. But this is not a romance but a horror story and a cautionary tale so over time things change.

Although Teick never actually calls her a vampire, she drinks blood, avoids sunlight, and seems to possess a power to hypnotize her victims. All the classic traits we associate with vampires.

I find it interesting at even this earliest stage, the vampire has become an erotic creature bound up with our deepest and darkest fantasies.

If you would like to read Leslie Ormandy’s updated version or the original English version, visit Simply Supernatural-Vampire.com

Tomorrow we’ll explore the first English vampire story.



  1. Galen Kindley said,

    Why is it do you think that Vampires so captivate such a large segment of readers—or movie goers? Twilight. Maybe that’s the subject for a futuer post.

    Whatever the cause, it looks like from your post today that it’s been that way for quite sometime.

    Interesting stuff. Thanks.

  2. Jina Bacarr said,

    I love your post…provocative but also filled with fun, juicy facts about vamps. I also feel the passion and love of a man for his wife in the story you referenced.

    Terrific stuff.



  3. Destineers said,

    Vampires intrigue me. It is a side of dark fantasy that I don’t explore more, though. I’ll check out your link, thanks!

    NA Sharpe

  4. enid wilson said,

    Interesting! So did the story end in tragedy?

    In Quest of Theta Magic

    • darkhourvampires said,

      I didn’t want to give the story away, but yes. Since it was a cautionary tale, you can imagine that he loses all that he really values. He must kill the vampire. But then he experiences divine retribution or maybe hellish retribution for “Waking the Dead.”

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