Behind The Oval Portrait: A Vampire Love Story
This novel draws from a wide variety of source material. In his scenes of seduction, the vampire Plutarch quotes verses from the French, Italian and German love songs of the Renaissance. The Latin verses quoted are taken from poems such as those that were popular among the upper classes of the mid-seventeenth century. Edgar Allan Poe’s The Oval Portrait is referred to in several instances; the text thereof has been distilled somewhat but the language has not been altered. The erotic poetry of Paul Verlaine is also quoted, as are Anton Chekhov and Salvador Dali. The character of Plutarch, as he appears in this novel, is to a large extent based on the character Des Esseintes from J.K. Huysman’s brilliant and shocking nineteenth-century novel A Rebours (Against Nature). Indeed, his bizarre book served as the fundamental inspiration for this novel. Finally, as to the historical Plutarch, he of course did live, born in A.D. 45 at Chaeronea in Boeotia. One of the great classical scholars, Plutarch adopted the philosophical standpoint of a Platonist. His historical works were written later in life–it is known that Shakespeare used Plutarch’s writings as source material for his own work. As for his personal habits as portrayed in this piece, I have clearly taken many liberties.
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