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Macdonald, D.L. 1955-

Macdonald, D.L. 1955-

(David Lorne Macdonald)


Born 1955. Education: University of Toronto, B.A., Ph.D.; London University, M.A.


Office—Department of English, University of Calgary, Social Sciences Tower, 11th Fl., 2500 University Dr., Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4, Canada.


University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, professor of English.


Canada Research fellow.


Poor Polidori: A Critical Biography of the Author of "The Vampyre," University of Toronto Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1991.

(Editor and author of introduction, with Kathleen Scherf) John William Polidori, The Vampire and Ernestus Berchtold; or, The Modern Oedipus: Collected Fiction of John William Polidori, University of Toronto Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1993.

(Editor, with Kathleen Scherf) Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus, Broadview Press (Peterborough, Ontario, Canada), 1994, 2nd edition, 1999.

(Editor, with Kathleen Scherf) Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Men: In a Letter to the Right Honourable Edmund Burke: Occasioned by His Reflections on the Revolution in France; and A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: With Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects, Broadview Press (Peterborough, Ontario, Canada), 1997.

Monk Lewis: A Critical Biography, University of Toronto Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2000.

(Editor, with Helen M. Buss and Anne McWhir) Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley: Writing Lives, Wilfrid Laurier University Press (Waterloo, Canada), 2001.

(Editor, with Kathleen Scherf) M.G. Lewis, The Monk: A Romance, Broadview Press (Peterborough, Ontario, Canada), 2004.

Also coeditor, The Writer and Human Rights, and Flaws in the Pattern: Human Rights in Literature. Contributor to journals, including Literature and Psychology, European Romantic Review, and English Studies in Canada.


English professor D.L. Macdonald has shown particular interest in the literature of the so-called revolutionary period of the years between 1770 and 1832, especially regarding the coinciding rise of gothic fiction. His interest in the appearance of the vampire and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's monster resulted in books about Shelley and John William Polidori, and he has also written a biography of M.G. Lewis, the author of popular gothic dramas and romantic tragedies.

With the mention of vampires in literature, many people may first think of Bram Stoker as the originator of the myth of blood-sucking creatures, but in Poor Polidori: A Critical Biography of the Author of "The Vampyre," Macdonald writes about an often forgotten literary figure. John Polidori was a physician, as well as Lord Byron's personal doctor, who actually came up with the story of the vampire in his 1819 novel, The Vampyre. Brian Hurwitz pointed out in a British Medical Journal review that "Poor Polidori is the first full length biography to appear of this hitherto little known doctor." In addition to biographical information, Macdonald includes extracts from Polidori's writings, the author's personal letters, and quotes from his thesis and other professional works. "Though some of these works may strike the modern reader as meandering and somewhat impenetrable," commented Hurwitz, "Macdonald skillfully reawakens their literary and biographical value."

Critics were also pleased with Macdonald's 2004 title, Monk Lewis: A Critical Biography, the first such biography on Lewis to be released since 1961. A popular writer in his day, Lewis was well known for such works as The Monk and Journal of a West Indian Proprietor. Macdonald explores the various aspects of the author's life, such as his homosexuality, his love-hate feelings toward the established elite classes, and his relationship with his wealthy, slave-owning parents. Lewis consequently displays some contradictions in his life, such as his desire to earn his own money through his writing, followed by his embrace of wealth when he inherited his father's estate. Albion reviewer Jonathan David Gross praised the "meticulously researched book" as "an excellent biography," adding: "This biography unearths a wealth of works by M.G. Lewis that have not been discussed elsewhere. Readers of gothic fiction and drama will welcome this sensible and informative volume." While Robert P. Irvine, writing in Studies in Romanticism, felt that all the issues surrounding Lewis's life and works are not covered here, the critic added that this "critical biography [is] already packed with information [and] … is a most useful addition to the literature on a fascinating figure."



Albion, spring, 2002, Jonathan David Gross, review of Monk Lewis: A Critical Biography, p. 116.

British Medical Journal, May 2, 1992, Brian Hurwitz, review of Poor Polidori: A Critical Biography of the Author of "The Vampyre."

Studies in Romanticism, summer, 2003, Robert P. Irvine, review of Monk Lewis, p. 286.


University of Calgary English Department Web site, (October 2, 2006), brief biographical and career information on D.L. Macdonald.

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