From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"The Vampyre" was first published on April 1, 1819, by Colburn in the New Monthly Magazine with the false attribution "A Tale by Lord Byron." The name of the work's protagonist, "Lord Ruthven", added to this assumption, for that name was originally used in Lady Caroline Lamb's novel Glenarvon, in which a thinly-disguised Byron figure was also named Lord Ruthven. Despite repeated denials by Byron and Polidori, the authorship often went unclarified.
The story was an immediate popular success, partly because of the Byron attribution and partly because it exploited the gothic horror predilections of the public. Polidori transformed the vampire from a character in folklore into the form we recognize today - an aristocratic fiend who preys among high society.