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3.82  ·  Rating details ·  42,331 ratings  ·  3,509 reviews
A classic Victorian vampire novella, which influenced Bram Stoker's later treatment of the vampire mythos in Dracula.
Paperback, 108 pages
Published September 5th 2000 by Wildside Press (first published 1872)
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Traci I have and I fell in love with it right away! My favorite season will always be season 1, but I loved the other two seasons and the bonus Season Zero,…moreI have and I fell in love with it right away! My favorite season will always be season 1, but I loved the other two seasons and the bonus Season Zero, as well as the little extras that went along with it. I'm looking forward to the movie that they're making for it, as well. It's nothing like the book, but I think I enjoyed it so much because I went into it figuring it wouldn't be so I was able to view as its own thing that was inspired by an awesome book.(less)
Kirsi I liked it - Gothic castle in Styria, mix of authentic vampire folklore - Carmilla is not pale nor burn in the sun - and Gothic romanticism. Carmilla …moreI liked it - Gothic castle in Styria, mix of authentic vampire folklore - Carmilla is not pale nor burn in the sun - and Gothic romanticism. Carmilla is gorgeous and has some effective dialogue. But it has zero action, lot of talk... so if you are bored by talky, actionless stories, you may not enjoy this. (less)

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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 publi
Apr 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Nick Pageant
Best vampire story ever written. Anyone who disagrees with me? It's on!

Ahmad Sharabiani
Carmilla, J. Sheridan Le Fanu
Carmilla is a Gothic novella by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu and one of the early works of vampire fiction, predating Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897) by 26 years. First published as a serial in The Dark Blue (1871–72), the story is narrated by a young woman preyed upon by a female vampire named Carmilla, later revealed to be Mircalla, Countess Karnstein (Carmilla is an anagram of Mircalla). The story is often anthologized and has been adapted many times in film and other med
Apr 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Poor Carmilla. I guess there are only so many isolated noblemen's daughters you can devour before they start talking.
May 05, 2015 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,
Fabian {Councillor}
Mar 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of the horror genre
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
Graeme Rodaughan
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who loves a languid, creepy, and spooky story.
Spooky Vampire Leaves Author Prostrated!: "I can't get her out of my head!"

After reading this book, I am left frustrated and oddly underwhelmed, and yet there is an undeniable and dare I say it 'uncanny,' power to this story which is a mystery to me.

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
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
Vampires are gay. They've always been gay. Twilight was literally the first vampire story that wasn't gay. (Unless it was? I don't know, I didn't read it.) Dracula was our pioneering gay male vampire story. Carmilla, which predates it by some twenty years, is our pioneering lesbian one.

The authors themselves are not always gay. Bram Stoker was, of course - gayer than a guy who knows how to change the sheets on his bed - but Sheridan Le Fanu, the popular and terrific 1800s Gothic writer responsib
Mar 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
.....Here it is OCTOBER and I'm stumped at finding a good scary read so I reverted to the GR list of Best Horror...then moved on to Best Gothic Books Of All Time and found this little gem.

.....While not scary, CARMILLA is indeed an atmospheric well told story and one of the earliest works of vampire fiction. First published in 1872, CARMILLA predates even DRACULA by more than 25 years.

.....It all begins with a creepy carriage filled with phantasmagoria and ends....well, I'm no

"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
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 Stars for Carmilla: A Vampire Tale (audiobook) by J Sheridan Le Fanu read by Megan Follows. This is a very early gothic vampire tale. It was written 26 years before Bram Stoker wrote Dracula. It’s a rather short but very poetic story. I find it interesting to see how this mythology got its start. This was a great audiobook...5
Dec 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
This book was published in 1872 and is said to be the book that later inspired Dracula, it was brought to my attention by a fellow book dragon Salema and I couldn't wait to read it.

It's a short novella at 108 pages and is available as a free download so if you're into your vampires get downloading!

I read this in one sitting, it's so readable for a book written so long ago and I must say I enjoyed it. I'm coming to realise that I do enjoy a book where the narration is directed at the reader, it
Michael Sorbello
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I loved Carmilla as a character. She truly was the original Dracula, leaving Bram Stoker with plenty of inspiration to craft his gothic classic. Carmilla is charming and cruel, broken and detached. A delightfully scary and haughty lady. The book was revolutionary in many ways, introducing the world to the first-known female vampire in the starring role of a novella, breaking the rules of the puritan society it was written in by exploring female sexuality and homoeroticism (in a similar fashion a ...more
Such a classic, old school, vampire novel.

The unsuspecting hosts, the beautiful and mysterious guest. The girl who begins to grow wearier day by day. The strange behaviours of the beloved guest.

It just builds the suspense so brilliantly, and part of the fun is in seeing how these rational people deal with the irrational.

This one was interesting because the vampire is a girl very similar to her victim, and there is the element of friendship (and courtship?) that makes things so much more sinister
Oct 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, classics
“I am sure, Carmilla, you have been in love; that there is, at this moment, an affair of the heart going on."

"I have been in love with no one, and never shall," she whispered, "unless it should be with you."

How beautiful she looked in the moonlight!”

Very Anne Rice, except that Carmilla predates Rice’s Interview with the Vampire by about a century, so Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu did the "sexy vampire" thing first. He did it even before Bram Stoker unleashed Dracula on the world. Carmilla is one o
Tom Mathews
Update: currently revisiting this wonderful novella with the fine folks at the Horror Aficionados group who have given me the the opportunity to read and discuss this and many other fine books.

Predating Dracula by 26 years, Le Fanu's novella is a classic vampire tale that gets a lot less attention than it should. It is loaded with Gothic atmosphere and also introduces a lesbian vampire theme that, while appropriately circumspect, is unmistakable and something that I never would have expected in
Barry Pierce
May 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
After my re-read of this classic, I would give Carmilla 3.5 stars.

I loved the atmosphere and the language, even if I thought it was a bit too flowery at times.

I know that it's wrong to judge a work of this age by today's standards, but man, everyone in this book seemed stupid and too naive to be believable. The whole time, I was thinking "My God, man, wake up!"

I'm glad I re-read this one but I think that shall be it for me with Carmilla.
✨Sumi's Books✨
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Before Dracula there was Carmilla!
Originally published in 1872, Dracula in 1897, this chronicles the story of a young woman's susceptibility to another seemingly young woman's (Carmilla) affections. But something is very wrong and has been wrong ever since Carmilla came into the picture. Can they stop this evil before it goes too far?
This is complete and utter speculation but I just want to put it out there... this could very well be the novel that Bram Stoker read that indeed inspired him to wr
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
''I hate funerals. What a fuss! Why you must die—everyone—must die.''

Carmilla can drink my blood anytime. Kill me you sapphic queen. Poor girl, just wanted a girlfriend but they kept dying.

Laura is the definition of useless lesbian. I said what I said.

“All things proceed from Nature.”
She is not evil. She is just a regular predator. Her actions aren't more evil than the actions of any other predator. She has to drink blood to survive. It’s just a natural instinct.

I think that this is the
Carmilla was actually written prior to and was an inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. That was how I first heard about this novella. I read the Wikipedia article about it and found many of the details fascinating—the evil vampire is female, and has the ability to turn into a cat. So, I decided to pick this up and read it before digging in to Dracula, and also just because I’m a sucker for vampire fiction.

Actual Rating: 4.2

This went by surprisingly quickly. I think that’s partially because of
Jan 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Tom Lewis
Apr 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“But to die as lovers may - to die together, so that they may live together.”

Okay, how many vampire books have you read that contain that kind of elegant prose. Carmilla is a novella that was written in 1872, so it pre-dates Dracula by about 25 years. And a lot of its influence is later seen in Dracula.

Being as old as it is, there’s no twists that will catch a modern reader by surprise, as pretty much every variation on the vampire genre has been played out. But what you will find is something s
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
I got this book upon watching a movie on Netflix called, "The Moth Diaries". One of the classes the girls were in, the teacher passed this book out for them to read and review. And of course, I had to order a copy.

I thought it was pretty good for a short novella on vampires. It was a very different take and I did enjoy it.
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Jun 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
 Audiobook narrated by a full cast 2h 22mins 08 seconds

Audible Original selection for October

First published in 1872( 26 years before Bram Stoker wrote Dracula), Irish Writer Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla is one of the early works of vampire fiction. I think this particular audio performance with David Tennant and Rose Leslie & all is THE way to visit this long ago written erotic gothic novella. I think the fact that it has a female vampire as the title character is awesome. It was hard t
Listening to this on audio was somehow a tad better than my last two reads of it.

The leanings toward a lesbian relationship comes through much more clearly on audio what with the heavy breathing and little noises of contentment and all.

Thanks to Audible Audio Originals for the free download.
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Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu 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, Carmilla and The House by the Churchyar ...more

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