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4 Ratings: 4.0
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's sapphic 1872 vampire story.

   The vampire novella "Carmilla" set in Austria is one of Le Fanu's best tales and greatly influenced Bram Stoker, who published Dracula 25 years later. This is definitively a great book and a must for the lovers of horror tales.

Author: Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
Genre: Short Fiction, Victorian Eroticism, Gothic Horror, Vampires
Date Published: 1872
1 review about Carmilla

"I saw Carmilla standing...in one great stain of blood."

  • Jul 4, 2010
Even though author Joseph Sheridan Le Fenu is an esteemed Irish writer of the 19th century, I began this book with trepidation. I'm so accustomed to the dramatic, graphic, face-paced writing of the 20th century that I had my mind set against reading anything too lyrical, flowery or poetic. Certainly I expected to be entertained by any vampire tale, but never expected to be captivated...

How wrong I was! I was not only captivated, I was enchanted...as though Carmilla had placed a spell on me as she had on the main character Laura. (I shudder at the thought...)

Carmilla lures the sweet, innocent young girl with fancy speeches, kisses and loving endearments, but there are enough eerie, creepy scenes to please any lover of good horror. The interaction of Laura and the extremely sensual Carmilla is the main focus of this book, but it's left to an old family friend, General Spielsdorf, to expose Carmilla and effect a satisfactory outcome.

Le Fanu's prose is lush and haunting; subtle in places, emboldened in others. From Laura's first sight of the beautiful vampire Carmilla to her last--when she sees her true, bloodthirsty nature--I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.

It's a pity that this book never received the acclaim of Bram Stoker's "Dracula," especially since Stoker was strongly influenced by "Carmilla," writing his own vampire story twenty-five years later. But as in life, timing is everything, so therein possibly lies the answer.

At any rate, it is one of Le Fanu's best stories, a great book that should be in the library of everyone who loves horror. I truly enjoyed the short time I spent with the well-crafted Laura and Carmilla. Excellent writing...

Reviewed by Betty Dravis, July 4, 2010
Author of "Dream Reachers" (with Chase Von) and other books

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August 19, 2010
What a terrific review. I've loved this since I first read it when I was about 18. I read it as a companion piece to "Dracula" which I'd read many times before and had always known that Stoker was inspired by Le Fanu's combination of subtle eroticism and psychological terror. Have you seen any of the filmed adaptations?
August 19, 2010
Thanks for your kind words, Count. No, I haven't seen any film adaptation of this book, but of course I saw "Dracula" many times.
August 19, 2010
I've seen some films that were loosely inspired by it, as well as the Hammer horror film "The Vampire Lovers" which emphasized the eroticism and violence of the Le Fanu tale. Apparently, there was also a made-for-TV miniseries based on the novella that was very faithful and well-acted. I have not, unfortunately, seen that yet.
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