Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Carmilla” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  23,109 Ratings  ·  1,566 Reviews
Carmilla (Illustrated) contains 16 beautiful artworks by Babette van den Berg.

Carmilla is a Gothic novella by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu first published in 1872. It tells the story of a young woman's susceptibility to the attentions of a female vampire named Carmilla. Carmilla predates Bram Stoker's Dracula by 25 years. Although Carmilla is a lesser known and far shorter Got
Paperback, 106 pages
Published March 14th 2012 by Bizarro Press (first published 1872)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Carmilla, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

raleigh maeve Yes! Vervegirl TV's web series on Youtube is what influenced me to read this short book. While the show is very loosely based off the original story,…moreYes! Vervegirl TV's web series on Youtube is what influenced me to read this short book. While the show is very loosely based off the original story, I enjoyed both. Be forewarned, however, that the end of this book is NOT anything remotely like the show's happy ending. If you choose to read it, even if you've seen that delightful show, try to come in with as few assumptions and expectations as possible. It's a haunting story, and my mind is still reeling from it. (less)
Glenn Goettel Rambling, verbose and the ending is an utter failure. That said, this protagonist first-person of an isolated woman, frightened and confused by a…moreRambling, verbose and the ending is an utter failure. That said, this protagonist first-person of an isolated woman, frightened and confused by a same-sex attraction, is further proof- were any needed- that Victorians were quite adept at channeling their sexuality into romance, particularly gothic with a paranormal edge.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Bloody relevant to read!


But to die as lovers may - to die together, so that they may live together.

This is a very important book in historic sense, in the genre of vampire reading, due that it was published 25 years before than Dracula.

Also, it presented lesbian situations, easily one of the first open mentions of the topic in literature.

So, it was a pioneer book in two subjects: Vampires and Lesbian literature.

Some may wonder how it was possible to publish a b
In many ways the antithesis of Dracula, and if Stoker's novel disappointed me with its clean-cut, heterosexual male-influenced dichotomies, than le Fanu's novella is the flipside of the coin: female-centric, homoerotic, ambiguous and enigmatic (and all in about a quarter of the length!). Here the vampire is not the withered, evil "Other" but the beautiful, sensuous stranger that is readily welcomed into home and heart, becoming the double for the protagonist, leading to a very different sense of ...more
May 05, 2015 Ariel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
PRETTY AVERAGE. I don't feel like I particularly learned anything. It was a very monotone and non-climactic. Very /quaint/. And the giant plot twist was spoiled for me (i mean, it'd be spoiled for anyone living in 2015 because it's SO OBVIOUS) but I really feel that that spoilers shouldn't have the power to ruin a story, but I really feel that all this book had was that one spoiler.

I still see merit in it, don't get me wrong. I read it for school and after intense studying I can see value in it,
With Dracula, The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, some of the most famously recognized horror stories of the nineteenth century have been created, yet only few people seem to know this little story which may have been the ultimate inspiration for Bram Stoker to write his popular novel Dracula. Carmilla is an early vampire story, laying the foundation of a genre which would see many other vampire tales in the upcoming years, until the development recently c ...more
Nick Pageant
Best vampire story ever written. Anyone who disagrees with me? It's on!

Mar 22, 2008 Werner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any fan of vampire fiction, or of supernatural fiction in general
Note, Oct. 1, 2012: I just modified this review slightly to incorporate a changed perspective I came to as a result of a discussion in one of my groups.

This book is one of the best treatments of the vampire theme I have read (admittedly, I haven't read very many --even counting the ones I didn't like enough to finish!). While the author's diction is Victorian, the book is a short, quick read (unlike the massive tomes that some 19th-century novels are), so it shouldn't be daunting even for reader
"The amphibious existence of the vampire is sustained by daily renewed slumber in the grave. Its horrible lust for living blood supplies the vigor of its waking existence. The vampire is prone to be fascinated with an engrossing vehemence, resembling the passion of love, by particular persons… It will never desist until it has satiated its passion, and drained the very life of its coveted victim."

This description of a vampire is not anything new and surprising to anyone that has an interest in v
Aren't the books that we like the most, the harder to review?
Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu became one of my favourite book of all time, it spoke to my soul through words of darkness, each sentence was like sweet melancholic music echoing and engraving in me.
Sentences like “Girls are caterpillars while they live in the world, to be finally butterflies when the summer comes; but in the meantime there are grubs and larvae, don't you see - each with their peculiar propensities, necessit
Mar 11, 2015 Fernando rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Además de Edgar Allan Poe, se podía leer a Sheridan Le Fanu, que junto a Hugh Walpole o E.T.A. Hoffmann llevaron a la perfección al género gótico y el cuento fantástico o de terror.
Este autor posee grandes cuentos de fantasmas y terror, puesto que en eso consistía su especialidad. Fue un escritor admirado por los grandes del género.
Carmilla, junto con El Vampiro de John Polidori anticipa lo que iba a instaurar el libro Drácula de Bram Stoker: el género del vampirismo, tan vigente hoy en día.
Jan 24, 2016 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author takes advantage of the power of contrast. Many horror writers use contrast to throw a reader's mind off balance. Stephen King made Pennywise a joking freak of a clown, and Randal Flagg a humorous and diabolical psycho-demon. In this story, a small girl meets Carmilla, two petite and intimate little girls. The contrast twists the mind into suspended insanity when supernatural visitations come, and the small girl correlates to the events. His descriptions of vampires bring a terror seen ...more
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Jun 08, 2016 ᴥ Irena ᴥ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, classics

One of the reasons why I liked Carmilla so much is it's a very good vampire story. It would be even better if I didn't know that from the beginning. Nobody's fault. Everyone knows Carmilla is a vampire story.

It was first published 1872 and people usually expect those to be a bit harder to get through. Carmilla is definitely not like that. It almost reads like a contemporary story.

There are sixteen chapters but the story itself was sort of divided in two parts. One is told to us by Laura, ou
Apr 21, 2011 Meave rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poor Carmilla. I guess there are only so many isolated noblemen's daughters you can devour before they start talking.
Barry Pierce
I'm glad this was a novella. While the plot is interesting and the writing is just superb the entire concept of "oh she's a vampire, no wait, she's a lesbian vampire" gets tired quite quickly. However this is one of those works that you have to read just off of its sheer influence alone. The trope of the lesbian vampire was so important in early horror movies, B-movies and especially Giallo horror.

(Also I love the fact that two of the most pioneering and influential works of vampire fiction wer
May 22, 2016 Carmo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: terror, bib-p
Uma vampirice à moda antiga a fazer lembrar os contos de Bram Stoker, quando afinal, foi este quem se inspirou em Carmilla para escrever Drácula.
Os cenários são os apropriados para histórias de terror e o suspense é uma constante até ao final.
Com uns toques de erotismo e um lesbianismo mais que subtil, é capaz de ter chocado os mentecaptos da época.
Apr 11, 2009 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of The Turn of the Screw
An atmospheric delight, gems of beautiful images falling off the page in a simple, straightforward, and yet strangely enthralling sequence. Laced through beautifully with the Victorian obsessions of scientific inquiry and the grotesque- of its time, certainly, but beautifully explored for all that. No one does feverish obsession quite like the Victorians.

However, our lady narrator is dumber than Dumbo's inbred country cousin. Shame she fell victim to the narrator explains it all storytelling dev
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
Apr 08, 2009 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Vampire fiction fans
I read this story out of the A Taste for Blood Anthology. I was excited to finally read the story that is really the grandmother of the vampire tale. It preceded Dracula by Bram Stoker by more than twenty years.

Well I have to say that I have mixed feelings about Carmilla. In some moments, it was very eerie, if not downright frightening, but those moments didn't quite occur often enough for me. There were passages of description that became rather mind-numbingly boring. I have read enough classic
Nov 14, 2015 BrokenTune rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I had heard of Carmilla, one of the forerunners of Dracula, but I had not read it. So, when the chance to read a book for the "Gothic" square on a Halloween Bingo game came up, I jumped at Carmilla. And it does not come more Gothic than this...

"Over all this the schloss shows its many-windowed front; its towers, and its Gothic chapel. The forest opens in an irregular and very picturesque glade before its gate, and at the right a steep Gothic bridge carries the road over a stream that winds in de
The image of the vampire has been through a series of metamorohosis: the vampire Dracula trying to adapt to the Industrial Revolution, the story of vampirism that proclaims that only the Greeks of the Orthodox Church whose bodies are reanimated by the devil,etc. A lot of these are ofcourse conjectures and delusions. But once in a while, there comes this carefully constructed narrative, a story that thrills, a potion that excites and inspires a whole slew of other works. Perhaps, I have already h ...more
Nov 07, 2014 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I honestly don't know what to say about this book. It's at once hilarious and ridiculous but clever and full of interesting things to critique. And lesbian vampires. Never doubt the Victorian ability to bring innuendo to every situation.
Oct 19, 2015 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Good:
This influential little tale is moody and dark, and gives that sense of the otherworld common to many books written so long ago. The plot itself might seem cliche to those of us raised with vampires all over TV, but the reason it's been redone so often is that it is an excellent, tense mystery that hits you right in your scary gland. The rustic Austrian setting is beautiful and very well conveyed.

The Bad:
The language gets a bit florid, though it may have been viewed as colloquial by rea
Mar 18, 2013 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
[Spoiler at the end, read at your own risk.]

Seems like lately I never can keep track of how I found out about a particular book. The last thing I read was about Lincoln and flatboats so I'm pretty sure it wasn't that which led me to Carmilla.

Anyway, whatever it was, I'm glad it happened. Of course the first thing I heard is, "This is the book that influenced Stoker to write Dracula" and that alone of course was reason to read it. I felt kind of stupid for never having heard of it before - I just
Carmilla was one of two intense tales of strange longing and obsession from the 1870s that I read one week some years ago, not with any particular intention of pursuing such a read pairing. The other book was the S&M classic Venus in Furs. I liked the latter more; for me it had more overall gravitas, but this lesbian-flavored vampire tale is impressive and heartbreaking in its own right. It is short and can be read for free on the Project Gutenberg website.

In terms of conveying the idea of t
César Lasso
Sep 27, 2014 César Lasso rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read in Madrid, and finished past midnight... But we don't believe in vampyres in the city; at least, in the traditional sense, because we actually have paedophiles and corrupt politicians.

Predictable, since I devoured all the British Hammer films as a child and vampyrophilia has few surprises to shock me at a time when my hair goes whiter and whiter.

But if you live in a lonely place in the countryside, a place where you might shout without being heard, be careful with the carefully written twil
A Gothic horror novel featuring a beautiful lesbian vampire, understated as you would expect in a Victorian era novel. This short novel was well structured and very well written. I enjoyed it more than Dracula to be honest, and Carmilla was written two decades before Bram Stoker's classic.
Scarlet Cameo
Aug 26, 2015 Scarlet Cameo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rc-15
"El amor exige sacrificios, y en los sacrificios corre la sangre. Ahora deja que me abandone al sueño."

El mito inicial, aterradoramente bello, donde la extraña seducción, parecida a un amor apasionado, y la alimentación se conjuntan para envolvernos en las redes de esta vampireza. Carmilla es un personaje hermoso, condenada a la vida eterna, pero hechizante y cautivador, deja un rastro en el lector tan fuerte como lo dejo en Laura.

"Yo vivo en ti, y tú morirás en mí."

El cuento, nos muestra co
Oct 28, 2014 Vanessa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
This was a really great novella, an early depiction of vampirism that as far as I know predates the famous Dracula by Bram Stoker.

Le Fanu experiments with elements of lesbianism, horror, and gothic in this carefully crafted novella that is related from the point of view of Laura, a woman who as a young girl encountered an attractive and bewitching girl named Carmilla... although she is not all she seems.

If you like vampire fiction then I'd highly recommend this - it's a quick and captivating rea
Graeme Rodaughan
After reading this book, I am left frustrated and oddly underwhelmed.

The smartest character in the story is the antagonist (who is not that smart), who proceeds to charm and bamboozle an array of protagonists who are all very nice, and not the least given to suspicion of others.

There are multiple events where the fact that Carmilla is a vampire is hinted at with growing strength, upto and including the discovery of a perfect portrait painted in the dim past. Le Fanu doesn't quite get to the poin
May 29, 2015 Mateo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Esta historia es totalmente imprescindible para los amantes y seguidores de la literatura vampírica. Es sin duda alguna un clásico de esta corriente. Con una trama rompe esquemas, un suspenso muy bien logrado, un estilo poético, y una forma diferente y misteriosa de ver el vampirismo, Carmilla se quedó con un lugar muy importante en mi experiencia de lectura vampírica.

Silvéria Miranda
Esperava mais. Falta-lhe ação e, por vezes, não se sabe bem quem está a narrar a história...
Oct 25, 2015 Lily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, classics, 2015
"Girls are caterpillars while they live in the world, to be finally butterflies when the summer comes; but in the meantime they are grubs and larvae, don't you see - each with their peculiar propensities, necessities and structure."

This year, for the first time since I was in elementary school, I wanted to read something "spooky" during the fall. But I didn't feel emotionally up to the task of reading a full-fledged horror novel, so I instead picked up this little 1872 vampire story. It was just
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Vampyre and Other Tales of the Macabre
  • Varney the Vampire; or, The Feast of Blood
  • The Blood of the Vampire
  • Zofloya
  • Melmoth the Wanderer
  • Dracula's Guest: A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Vampire Stories
  • The Beetle
  • La Morte Amoureuse
  • The Penguin Book of Vampire Stories
  • The Willows
  • Hauntings and Other Fantastic Tales
  • Ghost Stories of an Antiquary
  • The Monk
  • The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories
  • The Hunger (Hunger, #1)
  • The Castle of Wolfenbach: A German Story
  • The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales
  • The Romance of the Forest
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. M.R. James described Le Fanu as "absolutely in the first rank as a writer of ghost stories". Three of his best-known works are Uncle Silas, Carm ...more
More about J. Sheridan Le Fanu...

Share This Book

“For some nights I slept profoundly; but still every morning I felt the same lassitude, and a languor weighed upon me all day. I felt myself a changed girl. A strange melancholy was stealing over me, a melancholy that I would not have interrupted. Dim thoughts of death began to open, and an idea that I was slowly sinking took gentle, and, somehow, not unwelcome possession of me. If it was sad, the tone of mind which this induced was also sweet. Whatever it might be, my soul acquiesced in it.” 174 likes
“You will think me cruel, very selfish, but love is always selfish; the more ardent the more selfish. How jealous I am you cannot know. You must come with me, loving me, to death; or else hate me, and still come with me, and hating me through death and after. There is no such word as indifference in my apathetic nature.” 173 likes
More quotes…