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Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan le Fanu
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Carmilla (original 1872; edition 2011)

by Joseph Sheridan le Fanu

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7163413,154 (3.66)134
Member:ChristinaDye
Title:Carmilla
Authors:Joseph Sheridan le Fanu
Info:CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2011), Paperback, 72 pages
Collections:E-books, Favorites
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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Carmilla: a Vampyre Tale by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (1872)

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Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
A rare Victorian read that is short, crisp, and genuinely creepy. ( )
  Birdo82 | Jul 26, 2014 |
Carmilla is such a short book that it's totally inexcusable for any vampire fan not to have picked it up at some point. It's also a worthwhile read for people that are interested in depictions of homoeroticism in 19th century literature.

Carmilla is the story of a young girl who comes to meet the titular character after she falls ill near her family's home and she is allowed to rest there until her family returns for her. Of course, Carmilla is a vampire -- and a peculiar one at that that seems to prefer to prey on a specific subset of people. She is a sympathetic character despite her monstrousness, and at times it's hard to tell whether Carmilla is simply manipulating Laura entirely or legitimately has feelings for her. The truth about Carmilla is revealed gradually over the course of the story, as Laura falls further under her spell, and the build up is exciting and a little terrifying as you can tell that Laura does not want to believe what she does about her new friend, however ambivalent her feelings are about her. There were a lot of questions left unanswered, such as the nature of the group of people that leave Carmilla at Laura's home and I would be curious to read more about them. There are some attempts at bridging a history between Carmilla-of-the-past and Carmilla-of-the-future, but it's left sadly underdeveloped due to the length of the book. I'm tempted to go searching for expansions that I feel SURE must have been written later on by other writers featuring this character because she's so enchanting, but on it's own, Carmilla is still a brilliant early vampire book that really set the stage for a lot of the attributes we consider synonymous with vampires in fiction today. ( )
  vombatiformes | Apr 16, 2014 |
Published in 1872, this is considered one of the first vampire tales, predating Stoker's Dracula. The simple, short story is deceptive - it's a chilling tale, suspenseful and well-written. The characters are well-told, in particular the beautiful Carmilla. Haunting! A perfect read of the gothic tale enthusiastic or the vampire lover. ( )
  empress8411 | Mar 3, 2014 |
Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

This is an old book,a classic. Published around 1872 and about 25 years before Bram Stoker's Dracula. This is a must read for all vampire lovers.

I would consider this to be quite mild compared to many of today's versions of the Genre but there are many elements that still come through to today.

One of these that shows up markedly in Camilla is the lustful sexual nature of vampirism. In this instance it is of particular note in that there are undertones of lesbianism within the writing. Although it is circumspect enough, understandable for the time it was written, that it could be construed as a relationship of very close friends. It could even be considered as a cautionary tale about such friendships leading to no good.

This also chronicles the nature of the vampire stalking its prey with a persistence and a predatory nature that borders on both excessive compulsion to strange desire. It plays into the hypnotic nature of the vampire to the intended victim and the almost helplessness of that victim to recognize the danger they are in.

We also see that little bit about poking fun at itself in that there is an added explanation that when the vampires are among society they look normal and health as opposed to pale cyanic.

In their casket and grave they are still somewhat lifelike faint breathing but are surrounded by a pool of blood.

To be killed, they are staked and beheaded.

The story takes place in Styria a state in Austria. Laura and her father live in a remote castle whose nearest neighbor is an abandoned village where the family of Karnstein once lived.

Laura begins her story by recounting a nightmare she had as a child where a strange but beautiful woman comes to her bed. It starts out as a delightful comforting experience until she feels two needles poke her near her breast.

Fast forward to a young adult and she shows us how isolated and lonely her home is. She is hopeful for a visit from their friend, General Spielsdorf's, niece, Bertha Rheinfeldt. Much to her horror and dismay a letter is received explaining Bertha's untimely death. All of this figures into the story.

As fortune might have it one day while enjoying the evening air and the moonlight. This scene sounds like its straight out of those old black and white movies we loved so much and stayed up late watching on tv. A mist like smoke over the low ground like a transparent veil. Only in the story Laura makes it sound beautiful instead of foreboding. A carriage, almost out of nowhere, arrives in a seeming hurry that causes it to have a near catastrophe.

From the carriage come a stately lady and her, purported, daughter. The lady has some immense secret emergency and she fears taking her injured and sickly daughter too far. This seems to play on Laura's father's sense of chivalry and he offers to take the girl into his home to have Laura's governess take care of her and to afford companionship for Laura.

It is not until later inside the castle home that Laura discovers the face of this woman matches the face in her dream. Despite the horror it gives her Laura is inexplicably drawn to this woman. They become fast friends though many times the liberty that Carmilla takes with that friendship cause Laura uneasy feelings.

Camilla seems to be afflicted with some sort of illness and always seems weak. She is paranoid and has to lock herself in her bedroom at night, alone. She doesn't rise until around noon. She often lapses into moods where she expresses a very deep affection for Laura.

When reports start coming in of some malady killing women in a nearby village and Laura begins to have dreams similar to the one she had so long ago. Laura begins to feel tired and desperate, thinking she may be suffering from the unexplained illness that is going around.

It is not until the General comes back to the area to visit that things begin to unfold and make sense. But, Laura is conflicted by here feelings for Carmilla when she hears what must be the truth.

There is an interesting, perhaps signature aspect in this story. The vampire seems to go by names that are anagrams of her original name. Millarca, Mircalla, and Carmilla.

Any aficionado of Vampires should read this book to delve into the root of the earliest published tales of this type of fiction.

If I have one disappointment from this; it's that there seem to be a group of people aiding this creature in getting ingratiated with their victims who are mentioned and noted in two different instances but we never know what their true role is in all of this.

J.L. Dobias ( )
  JLDobias | Nov 10, 2013 |
Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

This is an old book,a classic. Published around 1872 and about 25 years before Bram Stoker's Dracula. This is a must read for all vampire lovers.

I would consider this to be quite mild compared to many of today's versions of the Genre but there are many elements that still come through to today.

One of these that shows up markedly in Camilla is the lustful sexual nature of vampirism. In this instance it is of particular note in that there are undertones of lesbianism within the writing. Although it is circumspect enough, understandable for the time it was written, that it could be construed as a relationship of very close friends. It could even be considered as a cautionary tale about such friendships leading to no good.

This also chronicles the nature of the vampire stalking its prey with a persistence and a predatory nature that borders on both excessive compulsion to strange desire. It plays into the hypnotic nature of the vampire to the intended victim and the almost helplessness of that victim to recognize the danger they are in.

We also see that little bit about poking fun at itself in that there is an added explanation that when the vampires are among society they look normal and health as opposed to pale cyanic.

In their casket and grave they are still somewhat lifelike faint breathing but are surrounded by a pool of blood.

To be killed, they are staked and beheaded.

The story takes place in Styria a state in Austria. Laura and her father live in a remote castle whose nearest neighbor is an abandoned village where the family of Karnstein once lived.

Laura begins her story by recounting a nightmare she had as a child where a strange but beautiful woman comes to her bed. It starts out as a delightful comforting experience until she feels two needles poke her near her breast.

Fast forward to a young adult and she shows us how isolated and lonely her home is. She is hopeful for a visit from their friend, General Spielsdorf's, niece, Bertha Rheinfeldt. Much to her horror and dismay a letter is received explaining Bertha's untimely death. All of this figures into the story.

As fortune might have it one day while enjoying the evening air and the moonlight. This scene sounds like its straight out of those old black and white movies we loved so much and stayed up late watching on tv. A mist like smoke over the low ground like a transparent veil. Only in the story Laura makes it sound beautiful instead of foreboding. A carriage, almost out of nowhere, arrives in a seeming hurry that causes it to have a near catastrophe.

From the carriage come a stately lady and her, purported, daughter. The lady has some immense secret emergency and she fears taking her injured and sickly daughter too far. This seems to play on Laura's father's sense of chivalry and he offers to take the girl into his home to have Laura's governess take care of her and to afford companionship for Laura.

It is not until later inside the castle home that Laura discovers the face of this woman matches the face in her dream. Despite the horror it gives her Laura is inexplicably drawn to this woman. They become fast friends though many times the liberty that Carmilla takes with that friendship cause Laura uneasy feelings.

Camilla seems to be afflicted with some sort of illness and always seems weak. She is paranoid and has to lock herself in her bedroom at night, alone. She doesn't rise until around noon. She often lapses into moods where she expresses a very deep affection for Laura.

When reports start coming in of some malady killing women in a nearby village and Laura begins to have dreams similar to the one she had so long ago. Laura begins to feel tired and desperate, thinking she may be suffering from the unexplained illness that is going around.

It is not until the General comes back to the area to visit that things begin to unfold and make sense. But, Laura is conflicted by here feelings for Carmilla when she hears what must be the truth.

There is an interesting, perhaps signature aspect in this story. The vampire seems to go by names that are anagrams of her original name. Millarca, Mircalla, and Carmilla.

Any aficionado of Vampires should read this book to delve into the root of the earliest published tales of this type of fiction.

If I have one disappointment from this; it's that there seem to be a group of people aiding this creature in getting ingratiated with their victims who are mentioned and noted in two different instances but we never know what their true role is in all of this.

J.L. Dobias ( )
  JLDobias | Nov 10, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (60 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanuprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hännikäinen, TimoTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Codd, RolandCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Follows, MeganNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Prologue:Upon a paper attached to the Narrative which follows, Doctor Hesselius has written a rather elaborate note, which he accompanies with a reference to his Essay on the strange subject which the MS. illuminates.
In Styria, we, though by no means magnificent people, inhabit a castle, or schloss.
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Book description
Carmilla is the book that set the text for Dracula, that threw the light on our morbid fascination with the vampire legend. This is Carmilla, J. Sheridan LeFanu's classic novel of blood, terror -- and a love that dare not speak its name.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 856202225X, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:40 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Got a hankering for top-notch Gothic horror? Lose yourself in J. Sheridan Le Fanus Carmilla, a titillating tale that centers on a lady-loving vampire who terrorizes an unsuspecting family in nineteenth-century Austria. Experts of the genre say that this novel exerted a significant influence on Bram Stoker when he was preparing to write Dracula.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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