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Carmilla Paperback – May 27, 2012
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As a fan of the Carmilla Webseries on YouTube, I was extremely excited to read the book that started it all. Read morePublished 18 days ago by ...
this book is awesome.
if you don't like fun, you won't like it.
if you do like fun, you'll love it.
The book starts with an introduction in dense, florid 19th century prose that probably throws off half the people who try to read it. Read morePublished 28 days ago by Dinogirl7
If you enjoy Victorian age gothic horror, then this is a nice little gem. Along the same vein as Frankenstein and Dracula.Published 1 month ago by BJ
Reading this, I remembered that I read this story many years ago. It is still a very satisfying read. The style and language in which it is written helps to set the mood, I think. Read morePublished 1 month ago by a kindle reader
I'll admit to having some difficulties with the syntax of this story....it was written in 1872 after all. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Debra A Bryant
Similar in tone to The Turn of the Screw. Well developed characters and situations. Highly entertaining and contains a little extra vampire lore.Published 1 month ago by azuremouse
Not worth reading. I just scanned though most parts. Truly disappointing book. I'm glad it was free. Would have been a waste of money.Published 1 month ago by southern gal
I read this book because it was recommended as background material for the 3rd season of Penny Dreadful. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Rebecca Francis