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3.83  ·  Rating details ·  37,399 ratings  ·  2,942 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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Average rating 3.83  · 
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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 publish a book
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 horror- ...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 oth
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
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 culminated in the seemingly perfec ...more
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.
Graeme Rodaughan
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves a languid, creepy, and spooky story.
Shelves: horror, vampires
(EDIT Updating to 4 stars for persistent impact and memorability of the story... it's spooky - I would read this again). After reading this book, I am left frustrated and oddly underwhelmed, and yet there is an undeniable 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.

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 not going to say, but there is the slightest lesbian undertone toyears.


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 eve
"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
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 prop
Oct 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: classics, horror
“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 of the earliest work of vampire fiction, apparently not the, I have no idea
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 expe
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?) tha
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
Michael Sorbello
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
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.
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
✨The Reading
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 inspir
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
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, our young narrator,
Apr 11, 2009 rated it liked it
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 stor
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 awes
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.
Bark the Overwrought Keyboard Warrior
This was my first reading of this classic tale of dark secrets written in 1872. 1872?! That fact stuns me after finally giving this a novella read. There is a quite a surprising amount of sexuality for such an ancient tome or did the world get ever more prudish as the years went by? There were lesbian kisses and touches and I think I even detected a wee bit of some non-consensual touchy-feely too! But, man, is it ever flowery in its telling. The purple prose is oh-so-strong but it really does th ...more
Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣
I'm happy to say that the classics turn out to be great. After The Hunting of Hill House, I wasn't sure I'll find another classic to enjoy so quickly.

After getting into goodreads universe, back in 2012, I've kept reading about Carmilla, the vampire before Bram Stoker's Dracula. How it was supposed to be this amazing lesbian classic story. Six years later, I decided to give it a chance. And I'm happy I did.

The story is about Laura, a young lady who is preyed upon by Carmilla. It tells al
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 first female vampire novel and nsaid.
Nov 14, 2015 rated it liked it
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 wind
Farah ファラ
Feb 14, 2019 rated it liked it
I was in between the devil and the deep blue sea while reading Le Fanu's Carmilla which was written a hundred and forty seven years ago and thinking of the one published in 2O18.

It was like being intimate with someone but thinking of someone else and comparing at the same time.
Le Fanu shouldn't be blamed, his writing was suitable for his era but the 147 years later generation needed / wanted more.

I enjoyed this but Ms.Simper's version won hands down as I didn't expect to fall hard for its exq
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Goodreads Librari...: Correction for 9788567097534 2 12 Oct 23, 2019 04:06AM  
Castle Dracula: Carmilla - J. Sheridan Le Fanu 43 41 Dec 09, 2017 06:16AM  
Castle Dracula: Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu 52 17 Jan 30, 2017 07:07PM  
The Mother and Carmilla's Helpers 5 60 Dec 30, 2016 01:22PM  

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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 Churchyard.
“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.” 229 likes
“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.” 198 likes
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