I'm not going to do a full write-up of Tim Powers' Hide Me Among the Graves, which belongs to the somewhat underpopulated category of Pre-Raphaelite Vampire Fiction. Suffice it to say that it's a sequel to The Stress of Her Regard, which I think I may have read in the early 90s, and unless you have the earlier book to hand, chunks of the storyline verge on the incomprehensible. (There's a lot of Our Vampires are Different.) So it's not fair for me to post anything more than mildly review-ish (although I will say that there was a little too much Frances Burney in the plot construction: if one character had just de-scrupled at the beginning, there would have been no need for the rest of the novel).
But, that being said, there were a couple of things that intrigued me. First, how Powers takes the "supernatural" nature of artistic inspiration and translates it into Gothic terms. The highest poetic achievements in this novel all occur under Powers' version of vampiric possession (or "protection"); to be purefied is also to be diminished. Thus, the shape of Swinburne's career turns out to derive, in part, from the loss of his "patron." When Swinburne asks what will happen if he manages to free himself, he is informed that will lose the ability to write like other tainted poets, such as "Byron and Shelley and Keats," but might be able to live up to "Tennyson and Ashbless [an imaginary poet]" (190-91). Implicitly, the shape of English literary history, at least when it comes to poetry, turns out to be the record of monstrosity: post-Romantic English poetry decays from its heights as it is purefied of its deadliest supernatural elements, reduced to merely human levels of greatness. (Poor Tennyson.) We can have the wildest flights of poetic imagination...or we can save our bodies and souls, one or the other. Sacrifices for art turn out to have cosmic implications.
Second, and along the same lines, a vampire novel in which the characters are battling against something that was at one point John Polidori is practically Harold Bloom in action. One of the problems faced by the Rossettis and others is that vampiric "attention" makes it impossible for them to love other people or have children; one's artistic lineage comes at the expense of the biological version. But Polidori's presence in a vampire novel very different from his own suggests that there are alternatives to being forever subordinated to an all-powerful "parent," literally and aesthetically. Powers squares his characters off against the father of the British vampire novel, offering up an entirely different vampire mythos in the process: the child-novel reworks, and thus vanquishes (but also perpetrates) the force of its artistic "paternity." The novel triumphs in the act of revising a mythos, rather than abandoning itself to suggestions from its precursors.