№15 2023

УДК / UDK: 821.111(73).0


Author: Vassili E. Molodiakov
About the author:

Vassili E. Molodiakov, PhD, LLD, professor, Takushoku University, 3-4-14 Kohinata, Bunkyo City, Tokyo 112-8585, Japan.


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The novel by George Sylvester Viereck (1884–1962) The House of the Vampire (1907) has become one of the most striking phenomena of American decadent literature and continues to attract the attention of literary scholars. Despite the contradictory and sometimes abusive reviews of contemporaries, the book aroused interest and proved to be commercially successful. The ambitious author decided to exploit the success and remake the novel into a play. Viereck had already tried his hand at writing plays, but his collection A Game at Love and Other Plays (1906) “were not, at least, written with an eye to the stage” (author’s preface). Success on the Broadway stage required the help of a professional playwright Edgar Allan Woolf (1881–1943), Viereck’s friend. The play entitled Vampire was staged in January, 1909 under both names, although the dramatization belonged entirely to Woolf. Adapting the novel to the stage and focusing on commercial success with the public, Woolf changed some details of the plot and the names of the characters and also added a happy-end. “My collaborator in the dramatization introduced a number of distinctly human features not contained in the novel,” Viereck wrote. The script was never published and no performance copy seems to have survived, so it has to be judged only from newspaper summaries and reviews. The article for the first time publishes an opinion about this play and Viereck's novel, given by the fiction writer and editor Ethel May Kelley (1878–1955) in a private letter of March, 1909 (the original is in the author's collection).

Keywords: early 20th century American literature, drama, theater, stage adaptation, Modernism, Decadence, George Sylvester Viereck, Edgar Allan Woolf.
For citation:

Molodiakov, Vassili. “‘I Think it is a Rotten Play’: New Document on George S. Viereck’s Play Vampire and Novel The House of the Vampire.” Literature of the Americas, no. 15 (2023): 8–15.  


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Molodiakov 2020 — Molodiakov, Vassili E. “Vampire as Superman. George Sylvester Viereck’s Decadent Novel The House of the Vampire in the USA and Germany.  Viereck, G.S. “Foreword to the German Edition of The Houe of Vampire”, translated by R. Zaitsev. Literatura dvukh Amerik [Literature of the Americas], no. 8 (2020): 8–25. (In Russ.)

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