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Uncle Silas: A Tale of Bartram-Haugh

by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,3073412,416 (3.94)244
Silas Rutvyn is something of a riddle. To some, including his niece, he is something of a ghost. There are, however, no simple answers. As Le Fanu gradually unfolds the layers of this story, we are irresistibly drawn into his world. From the writer of such works as" Through a Glass Darkly, " and "The House by the Churchyard, " this eerie and chilling tale is one of the finest examples of his art.… (more)

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» See also 244 mentions

English (33)  Swedish (1)  All languages (34)
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
Inquietante novela gótica, arquetípica de las llamadas "ghosts stories". Aunque la trama, a día de hoy, resulta un poco predecible y las descripciones son muy típicas del género (sombríos corredores, fantasmas, ruidos en la noche, niebla, tormenta, casa desolada, cementerios...), en su época tuvo que ser todo un fenómeno de la literatura de terror. Destaca la espeluznante Madame de la Rougière, así como también el retrato psicológico de los personajes principales. Los últimos capítulos están narrados con maestría, creando un ambiente sórdido, macabro, de angustia contenida.

LO MEJOR: El ambiente lúgubre del caserón del tío Silas, la angustia y el terrible destino que acecha a la protagonista. El lector siente en todo momento que el cerco se va estrechando en torno a la joven heredera, lee entre líneas los planes macabros de Silas contra su sobrina, creando un aura de suspense hasta el final. Lo que más asusta es que Maud no se da cuenta de nada hasta que ya es demasiado tarde para salvar su vida.

LO PEOR: La protagonista se pasa gran parte de la novela llorando o escondiéndose por los rincones. Le falta espíritu e iniciativa. Su ingenuidad e inocencia desesperan al lector, que tiene muy claro desde el principio la maldad de Silas. El final podría haber sido mejor, ya que Maud se salva de una muerte segura por pura casualidad. ( )
  Munsa79 | Nov 18, 2022 |
I really enjoyed this ancient book; it has real moments of terror in it, and keeps you guessing until the very end. ( )
  burritapal | Oct 23, 2022 |
Dripping with Gothic menace poor rich girl Maud Ruthyn braves every attempt to separate her from her life and her inheritance. Even the good guys are mostly super creepy making things even more interesting.

Le Fanu's best novel, Green Tea and Carmilla are his best works however. ( )
  Gumbywan | Jun 24, 2022 |
Hoariest tale I’ve read in quite a while. It takes forever to even introduce the titular uncle, and the hints of the supernatural turn out to be damp squibs. It does however have one hell of an antagonist in the galumphing brandy-snorting manipulative yet somehow pathetic French governess Madame de la Rougierre. ( )
1 vote yarb | May 24, 2022 |
Uncle Silas by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu 1864

I enjoyed Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s novel, "Uncle Silas". It is not unlike a Dickens novel with people finding themselves in difficult times and encountering people of ill intent. This book is narrated by the main character, Maud Ruthyn, a young lady from a wealthy background living in a big house. Her mother at this character’s birth, and her father has become socially reclusive, and cannot communicate with his daughter very well.

There is, of course, an uncle, Uncle Silas, about whom there are many strange tales. She has never met this uncle and her father forbids discussion of his brother. There is a painting of Uncle Silas in the hall in Maud’s family home. She finds the person in the painting handsome and over the years she has thought a lot about what he is like. She eventually hears of a scandal and rumours that distanced Uncle Silas from Society, and the only person who defends Silas is her father, Austin Ruthyn.

The novel is written as an account authored by Maud telling of her life and the troubles that affected her life and caused her misfortune and terror.

This was a very enjoyable read. It moves along at a good pace, introduces intriguing characters, sets enough options and hints to keep the reader guessing about how the story will develop and where it will lead.

Would I read another story by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu?
Most definitely.

Would you recommend this book to other people?

What sort of person would I recommend it to?
Anyone interested in mysteries with a Gothic or Dickensian feel to them.

Did this book inspire me to do anything in particular?
I am inspired to read more of Le Fanu’s work. ( )
  pgmcc | Jan 22, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Le Fanu, Joseph Sheridanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bowen, ElizabethIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Longford, ChristineEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sage, VictorIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stewart, Charles WIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Varma, Devendra P.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This Tale
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It was winter - that is, about the second week of November - and great gusts were rattling at the windows, and wailing and thundering among our tall trees and ivied chimneys - a very dark night, and a cheerful fire blazing, a pleasant mixture of good round coal and spluttering dry wood, in a genuine old fireplace, in a sombre old room.
One of the terrible dislocations of our habits of mind respecting the dead is that our earthly future is robbed of them, and we thrown exclusively upon retrospect. From the long look forward they are removed, and every plan, imagination, and hope henceforth a silent and empty perspective. But in the past they are all they ever were.
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Wikipedia in English


Silas Rutvyn is something of a riddle. To some, including his niece, he is something of a ghost. There are, however, no simple answers. As Le Fanu gradually unfolds the layers of this story, we are irresistibly drawn into his world. From the writer of such works as" Through a Glass Darkly, " and "The House by the Churchyard, " this eerie and chilling tale is one of the finest examples of his art.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary
Menace, mystery,
dread – Victorian Gothic
high melodrama.

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Average: (3.94)
1.5 1
2 7
2.5 3
3 45
3.5 18
4 92
4.5 17
5 52

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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