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3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  12,102 ratings  ·  716 reviews
"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 and has been adapted many times for cinema.
Published November 7th 2003 by Project Gutenberg (first published 1871)
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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
Dec 04, 2013 Werner rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
This is a very important book in a historic sense due that it was published 25 years before than Dracula. Also, it presented lesbian situations. So, it was a pioneer book in two subjects: Vampires and Lesbian literature. Some may wonder how it was possible to publish a book with lesbian issues in 1872. Joseph Sheridan Le Fanú was ingenious in that, since when he was asked about, he just replied that it wasn't a homosexual situation since Carmilla was a vampire and due that it was a creature with...more
Nick Pageant
Best vampire story ever written. Anyone who disagrees with me? It's on!

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
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...more
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...more
Apr 28, 2009 Kelly rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
So, this week I read two intense tales of strange longing and obsession from the 1870s: the S&M classic "Venus in Furs" and this lesbian-flavored vampire tale, which, you can read for free, and quickly as it is short, at Project Gutenberg ( I liked "Venus in Furs" more; for me it had more overall gravitas, but this vampire book is impressive and heartbreaking in its own right.

In terms of conveying the idea of the multi-generational lifespan of the vampire, this book is superio...more
I finally read this story after having enjoyed Le Fanu's ghost,weird stories for few years. His prose in this story was finer than in his other stories, the way he build the supernatural,creepy mood was near perfect. Carmilla,Laura,the schloss(palace), the gothic country side etc was really well done. The kind of horror story, vampire horror i rate highly when its well written. Carmilla i might have expected to be less freaky ruthless monster which is a nice surprise. I liked how naturally her b...more
[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...more
First published in 1872, Carmilla is a hugely influential vampire story told by a young girl called Laura, starved of the company of children her own age. After a coach crash not far from her castle home in Styria, her family agree to look after another young girl called Carmilla for a period of some months. Laura recognises the girl at once from a disturbing dream from years earlier. And Carmilla admits to having the same dream. In the nearby village the deaths begin.
The enduring literary emble...more
Dimentichiamoci la Meyer, la Rice, Buffy e tutti quelli che in questi anni ci stanno bombardando di vampiri e derivati.
Carmilla è la degna compagna di Dracula, è la vampira originale.
In un racconto di neanche 100 pagine Le Fanu è stato in grado di creare un mito indimenticabile. E se leggendo quelle pagine ora, nel 2009, ci rendiamo conto fin dalla prima pagina di come si svilupperà la storia, di come andrà a finire, ciò non toglie nulla all'essenza di questo "gioiello" della letteratura gotic...more
E.V.Franzmnn E.V.Franzmnn
Jul 03, 2014 E.V.Franzmnn E.V.Franzmnn rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: to all people that likes vampire stories, classical vampire stories
Why I always feel drawn towards evil? Why Can't I be a good girl that sees the wicked ways and wish for a happy ending where the bad people get what they deserve? Why must I feel for those who hurt and prey on the innocent with no regret what so ever?
I didn't chose to read this book, it chose me and I can't say how or why. Fate brought it in to my way and I fell in its trap like a moth into the flame.

The plot - A girl (Laura) is lonely and longs for a company to talk and be friends with. Then co...more
Carmilla is famous for basically one thing: Carmilla herself, the prototype for lesbian vampires everywhere. It was a bit of a pleasant surprise to discover that Carmilla is also a good read. The story is presented as the account of a girl (Laura) that Carmilla is fixated on. (Does she love her? I couldn't say. Is there desire there? Oh, yes.) Laura's voice rings very true, and it's through her eyes that we see Carmilla as fascinating and attractive. (I would call this the Bram Stoker school of...more
Wonderfully, deliciously melodramatic classic short story. I was drawn to this after reading Rachel Klein's The Moth Diaries, which directly references Carmilla as well as owing an obvious debt to it. Laura, a lonely young woman living with her family and servants in a Styrian schloß, is thrilled when another girl, Carmilla, comes to stay at her home after being involved in a coach crash. The events that unfold thereafter are predictable and clearly signposted, but no less thrilling for that. Th...more
Nov 22, 2008 Suzie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of vampire fiction and 19th century lit
Shelves: horror
I actually read this on Wikisource, since it has long been in the public domain, but for simplicity's sake I just selected the paperback edition.

From a modern perspective, with centuries of lore and creative endeavors on the subject behind us, the narrator of Carmilla seems a little... slow. But even knowing what to expect, Le Fanu's story manages to stay surprisingly suspenseful. (One always knows, when beginning a vampire story, that someone will die in the ensuing pages. The question is, who?...more
Aug 18, 2013 Kylie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Dracula
I thought this was a wonderful book and can easily see why it was the inspiration for Dracula. It's beautifully written and the descriptions of the 'schloss' and the surrounding countryside are simply mouth-watering. Having said that, I did struggle a little with the style of writing at times - I like to be challenged though!

It was always going to be interesting to read this book because Dracula became an immediate favourite of mine the first time I read it. This one stood up well, although it w...more
Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship}
Carmilla is a pre-Dracula vampire tale first published in 1872 of a 19th century woman living in Austria who unwittingly encounters the female vampire named Carmilla. There are some lesbian vibes coming from Carmilla which 19 year old Laura is very uncomfortable with but she can't seem to resist her. They have a mutual fascination with each other.

Carmilla is a story of coincidence, mystery and I would say trust and deception. I really liked that this story was fairly short and quite concise. I'...more
The classic vampire story by the best writer of supernatural fiction ever. Made into innumerable movies. The erotic imagery and lesbian undertones ensure that it has never been out of print. I first read it when I was an impressionable teenager and had to look up what a 'schloss' was, and read it again last year as an even more impressionable adult...
Poor Carmilla. I guess there are only so many isolated noblemen's daughters you can devour before they start talking.
Creepy, atmospheric gothic. I enjoyed it alot and look forward to some of this author's other stories!
Carmilla is an 19th century vampire novella, set in Austria. It tells the story of a father and daughter that live in a schloss (castle) together, and that get a mysterious house guest in the form of a young girl called Carmilla. But of course, since her arrival things seem to be going wrong. Laura has severe nightmares, and she's getting weaker every day.

Carmilla resembles Dracula (which was written about 20 years later) in many ways. The atmospheres are the same, even though the narration is a...more
Bram Stoker los hizo famosos; Anne Rice renovó el mito y los transformó de gentlemen de elegantes maneras a irresistibles jóvenes eternos; Stephenie Meyer logró comercializarlos hacia un público más pueril en una saga romántica.

Todos estos autores tienen en común el haber utilizado varones como protagonistas, dejando en segundo plano el potencial de las vampiresas quienes pueden convertirse fácilmente en sex symbols y seducir a hombres y a mujeres por igual.

Joseph Sheridan LeFanu fue el precurso...more
Whilst I loved Dracula - a lot I might add - people seem to forget a little book made a quarter of a century beforehand. Carmilla.

Before I get asked; yes, I do think this is better than Dracula.

You also have to praise LeFanu. He was able to incorporate themes into this book which would have been difficult to get into ANY book at the time. If anyone asked me if I had read a novel that contained lesbianism I would answer yes. They'd honestly be shocked if I told them I read a book with that theme...more
Antonio Jr.
This novella is, in a way, the less-well-known second cousin to Bram Stoker's "Dracula". Be forewarned, the writing style is obtuse by today's standards. Expect flowery prose and a torrent of run-on sentences. I do not fault the novella these things, as I understand this was simply the way people wrote in the 1800's. These elements aside, the novella tells an genuinely suspenseful vampire tale.

Eschewing the over-the-top blood and gore of later vampire works, "Carmilla" instead focuses on psychol...more
J.L. Dobias
Jun 03, 2013 J.L. Dobias rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Vampire afictionados
Shelves: book-shelf-11
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 lesbia...more
Although this short gothic horror story about lesbian vampires is a major influence on Bram Stoker's Dracula, the latter is the superior of the two. The briefness and elegant prose makes this an enjoyable read.
Sian Lile-Pastore
Last Autumn I re-read Dracula (enjoying it much more second time round) and was on the look out for more gothicy bloodsucking action. Recently I watched the movie The Moth Diaries (based on the book which I also loved, by Rachel Klein) and they are reading Carmilla in that and I thought I'd give Sheridan Le Fanu a go.

So I started Carmilla and realised I knew the story because I've watched Vampire Lovers a few times.... (also Moth Diaries is obviously inspired by it too)

This has quite a different...more
Jamie Fessenden
This novella remains my favorite of the Victorian vampire stories (and my favorite vampire story, period), and I did read a considerable number of them in college. Very creepy and atmospheric, what makes the story so unique is the building up of a relationship between the vampire and her victim. But ultimately, the story is less about a lesbian relationship (which modern readers often enjoy attributing to the story) than a very lonely young woman's intense friendship with another "woman" who is,...more
Camille Stein
'Jamás desistirá hasta haber saciado su pasión y succionado la vida misma de su codiciada víctima. Pero, en esos casos, economizará y prolongará su disfrute asesino con un refinamiento epicúreo, realzado por las aproximaciones graduales de un complicado galanteo.'

Ya el mismo nombre del lugar donde se desarrolla la trama, Estiria, inicia el proceso de complicidad que Le Fanu pretende del lector: ambientación turbadora, atmósfera desolada y opresiva, paisaje inmenso y fantasmagórico... Tan fantas...more
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What's your favorite Vampire story? 22 142 Aug 09, 2014 05:17AM  
Horror Aficionados : Carmilla by J Sheridan Le Fanu 1 13 Dec 07, 2013 06:20AM  
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Classic Horror Lo...: Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu *Spoilers* 4 40 Jan 22, 2012 05:25PM  
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Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu was an Irish writer of Gothic tales and mystery novels. He was the premier ghost story writer of the nineteenth century and had a seminal influence on the development of this genre in the Victorian era.
More about Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu...
Uncle Silas In a Glass Darkly Best Ghost Stories of J. S. Le Fanu Madam Crowl's Ghost & Other Stories Green Tea and Other Ghost Stories

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“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.” 109 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.” 100 likes
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