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Carmilla Paperback – May 27, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

HGenerally acknowledged as a major influence on Bram Stoker's Dracula, this novel, originally published in 1872, is the very first vampire thriller. Le Fanu, often compared to Poe, was a Victorian writer whose tales of the occult have inspired horror writers for more than a century. Seemingly by happenstance, the mysterious and beautiful Carmilla comes to stay with the young and virtuous Laura. Laura, who has been living a lonely existence with her father in an isolated castle, finds herself enchanted with her exotic visitor. As the two become close friends, however, Laura dreams of nocturnal visitations and begins to lose her physical strength. Through much investigation, the gruesome truth about Carmilla and her family is revealed. Though the basic premise of the story, that of evil targeting pure innocence, is familiar to anyone who is vampire savvy, this haunting tale is surprisingly fresh, avoids clich? and builds well to its climax. Particularly interesting are the sexual overtones that develop between the two women. Follows's reading is flawless. In particular, her ability to capture Laura's na?vet? so convincingly will have listeners feeling almost as shocked as Laura as the unwholesome truth unravels. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu (28 August 1814 – 7 February 1873) was an Irish writer of Gothic tales and mystery novels. He was the leading ghost-story writer of the nineteenth century and was central to the development of the genre in the Victorian era. Three of his best known works are Uncle Silas, Carmilla and The House by the Churchyard. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 98 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 147754965X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1477549650
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 57 people found the following review helpful By K. Jump on February 5, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
J. Sheridan LeFanu's "Carmilla" stands as one of the richest, most literate and most enduring stories in the history of the vampire sub-genre. Many rate it higher than Bram Stoker's "Dracula," and while that estimation is at least debatable, there is no debate that "Carmilla" has exerted a mighty influence, consciously or not, on most vampire fiction to follow in its wake, "Dracula" not excepted. Indeed, Stoker's original early chapter in his masterpiece, later published independently as "Dracula's Guest," is particularly indebted to LeFanu's earlier work. As to which is better, let each reader decide for himself--and so enjoy them both!
The story is deceptively simple. A young girl, shaken up in a carriage accident, is left by her traveling mother in the care of the narrator's father. Laura, the young woman in whose voice we are told the tale, becomes fast friends with her new acquaintance, a friendship that is put to a powerful test when a strange malady begins infesting the idyllic Styrian countryside with nightmares, fever, and death.
LeFanu's style is unhurried, intelligent, and subtle, and the result is an eminently readable tale of mystery and the macabre that holds up remarkably well to repeated perusals. Though not as famous as "Dracula," and certainly written on a much smaller scale than Stoker's epic vampire opus, "Carmilla" is the more sustained and concentrated of the two. Many have traditionally argued that the novella, or short novel, is the ideal vehicle for a horror story, allowing for plenty of characterization and plot development without pushing the story itself beyond its dramtic limits.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Ingrid G. on May 23, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this short story in one sitting and could not put it down. Another hidden freebie I discovered by chance. Not gory like other vampire books, but simply leads us into life of a female vampire and her passion for the next victim. The love/obsession she has for her victim is delicately potrayed, but surely was controversial at the time this was written. Vampire lovers must read this, as it served as the inspiration of many other vampire works - such as the famous Dracula. This my second novel of this author in 24 hours - 100% free and good. I am impressed and will continue reading his other material. (review written from my Kindle2)
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Luxx Mishley on January 10, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I first came across J. Sheridan Le Fanu's 1872 novella as part of a graduate independent study of gothic literature. It quickly became a personal favorite, as well as an integral part of what will (hopefully) one day become my dissertation.

Carmilla tells the tale of a vampire (or oupire, as the peasants refer to them in the novella) who preys on young women; Carmilla becomes intimately attached to the daughter or ward of a wealthy family, and in her pursuit of love and friendship (and perhaps other things...) eventually drains her new found "friend" of her blood and her life. Predating Bram Stoker's classic tale by 25 years, and following the publication of Polidori's short story by 53 years, Le Fanu's tale is one of the first to popularize the figure of the vampire in 19th-century English prose, and has done much to help popularize the subject.

What I find particularly interesting about this work is the hybridization of traditional vampire legends (dating back to stories of Lilith herself) and the evolving contemporary vampire mythology of 19th-century England. Like traditional tales, Carmilla is represented as a young woman, and her victims often describe a sense of being strangled in their beds. However, the tale also presents elements of more contemporary ideas, such as a coffin full of blood and long needle-like fangs.

I won't go more in-depth for fear of turning a review into a chapter, but I can't praise Carmilla enough. It is a tale sure to delight anyone with interests in 19th-century prose, gothic literature, or vampires (or any combination thereof). LeFanu is a master of gothic tales, and Carmilla is a credit to his name and his craft.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Roule Duke on October 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
After seeing numerous films which all contain the Carmilla female vampire character, I was curious to check out the original material. As soon as I found out that the book actually predates Dracula I deiced it is a must read. As the phenomanly popular Dracula set ground rules for vampires which are so rarely deviated from in both literature and film, despite the fact that European vampyre lore varies dramticly in each region, I was curious to see how the vampire was portrayed before Bram Stoker.
Carmilla certainly is different. Both the vampire's appearnce and methods differ enormously from Count Dracula and his many spin offs. It is impossible to explain the story with out giving too much away as this is such a short story.
Carmilla is, I feel, influential in an interesting way. There are nowhere near as many direct film incarnations of Carmilla as there are of Dracula, 'Vampire Lovers' is a fairly direct adaptation of the novella (the Midnight Movies double feature disc Countess Dracula/Vampire Lovers has a special feature with actress Ingrid Pitt reading from Carmilla), the Carmilla character has a big part in 'Blood Spattered Bride' and also Carmilla makes a brief appearance in 'Twins of Evil'. However there is a heavy lesbian overtone present in Carmilla which while tame today was sure to be racy at the time of writing. It seems that this principle has being carried over into film just as faithfully as Bram Stoker's sunlight destroys vampires rule (in Carmilla vampires can walk around in the sun). Thus thanks to Carmilla, whenever there is a female vampire in any film she is automatically a lesbian! Some of my favourites are 'Vampyros Lesbos', 'Vampyres', 'Female Vampire', 'Shivers of the Vampire' and of course the previously mentioned Carmilla films.
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