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Paperback Carmilla Book

ISBN: 159818282X

ISBN13: 9781598182828


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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

J. Sheridan LeFanu's classic novel of blood, terror -- and a love that dare not speak its name. 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 media. Carmilla is the book that set the text...

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

A classic

I'm surprised that Carmilla still lives in the shadow of Dracula. It's a short read, but definitely a must for anyone interested in gothic literature. Its take on vampires will be new to people only familiar with media inspired by Dracula.

Love will have its sacrifices. No sacrifice without blood

The vampire has always been used to convey sexuality -- and one of the earliest ones, the title character of "Carmilla," is no exception. Years before Bram Stoker ever dreamed of Dracula. Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu wove together a luscious, haunting gothic mystery that centers around a lovely, immortal young woman with a taste for blood. When a mysterious carriage crashes at their schloss, Laura's father offers to take care of a young lady named Carmilla, who has been stunned by the collision. Laura herself is struck by how similar the girl looks to a strange figure that visited her as a child -- and Carmilla claims that they've had some sort of mutual vision of one another. Even more striking, Carmilla immediately becomes VERY attached to Laura ("You are mine, you shall be mine, you and I are one for ever"), and Laura is strangely entranced by Carmilla's speech. As the days go by, Laura is increasingly bespelled by Carmilla, despite the young woman's strange behavior (and her weird resemblance to an ancient painting in the schloss, of a woman named Mircalla -- get it?), and is becoming increasingly ill and nervous. But when they visit an old friend, he reveals the shocking truth about Carmilla's true nature... and what she will do to Laura. "Carmilla" is a true gothic novel in the best sense of the word -- a lushly-written little novella filled with ruined palaces, abandoned villages, moonlight and blood. And Le Fanu injects a not-so-subtle lesbian subtext into the story, since Carmilla seems to be as infatuated with Laura as she is hungry for her blood. Lots of kisses, adoring speeches, and Carmilla constantly creeping into Laura's bedroom. And Le Fanu's writing is utterly exquisite. He swathes this eerie little story in a ghostly wrap of lush writing ("Over the sward and low grounds a thin film of mist was stealing like smoke, marking the distances with a transparent veil") and some deeply creepy moments, such as Laura waking to see Carmilla covered in blood. Le Fanu also sketches out his characters quickly and effectively, despite the novella's brevity. Laura is a sweet ordinary girl who seems both weirded out and entranced by Carmilla, and Carmilla herself is a larger-than-life character -- sensual, obsessive, vibrantly erotic and extremely creepy, except when she goes off on crazy rants about how much she hates hymns and funerals. Stoker brought the vampire into the limelight, but "Carmilla" seductively introduced the vampire's eerie allure long before that. Luscious and eerie.

short & to the point

this is a great story for young kids who love creepy horror stories. the language might be a little hard to understand at times but still... 2 thumbs up!!

A Horror Classic

This classic short novel of a female vampire, set in the mid 1700's or early 1800's, is the basis for many horror films, most notably " The Vampire Lovers. A true classic and required reading for anyone into horror. How nice it is to have in a hardback edition. However, the cover of the book is a blank black and not the color cover advertised. At least the one I got was blank. This is a minor criticism though.

High Praise for a Genre I'm Not Even Totally Into!

J. Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla is included in its entirety in a compilation book of Irish literature that I own. I wasn't impressed with a lot of the stuff I was looking at in it, but one day when I was ill from work, I leafed through the compilation to Le Fanu's mini novel and, once I began to read it, couldn't put it down until I was finished. This is highly unusual for me because I'm not big on gothic stories. However, this novella is addictive, fast paced, and one gets caught up in it as they read by sheer imagination when fueled by exceptionally talented writing. I also thought the vampiress was showing strong lesbian traits, but wondered if Le Fanu could ever have gotten his work published if that were the case. No matter, as the story sucks you into its darkness (no pun intended) and you can actually feel Laura's growing despondency as Carmilla slowly drains away her life force rather than the Dracula-like depictions of quick attacks we often get in movies and the like. I think I was almost as creeped out by her violently emotional outbursts at the sound of a church choir and Laura seeming to take it in stride. Intriguing and engaging, never dull, and able to transport the reader right to that eery place and time, Carmilla is a novella that takes a short time to read and still leaves you wanting more. Leave it to the Irish, who are responsible for most of the Holloween customs we follow today, to give us a timelessly stylish and truly frightening story such as this one!

Highly Influential Novella

After seeing numerous films which all contain the Carmilla female vampire character, I was curious to check out the original material. As soon as I found out that the book actually predates Dracula I deiced it is a must read. As the phenomanly popular Dracula set ground rules for vampires which are so rarely deviated from in both literature and film, despite the fact that European vampyre lore varies dramticly in each region, I was curious to see how the vampire was portrayed before Bram Stoker.Carmilla certainly is different. Both the vampire's appearnce and methods differ enormously from Count Dracula and his many spin offs. It is impossible to explain the story with out giving too much away as this is such a short story.Carmilla is, I feel, influential in an interesting way. There are nowhere near as many direct film incarnations of Carmilla as there are of Dracula, 'Vampire Lovers' is a fairly direct adaptation of the novella (the Midnight Movies double feature disc Countess Dracula/Vampire Lovers has a special feature with actress Ingrid Pitt reading from Carmilla), the Carmilla character has a big part in 'Blood Spattered Bride' and also Carmilla makes a brief appearance in 'Twins of Evil'. However there is a heavy lesbian overtone present in Carmilla which while tame today was sure to be racy at the time of writing. It seems that this principle has being carried over into film just as faithfully as Bram Stoker's sunlight destroys vampires rule (in Carmilla vampires can walk around in the sun). Thus thanks to Carmilla, whenever there is a female vampire in any film she is automatically a lesbian! Some of my favourites are 'Vampyros Lesbos', 'Vampyres', 'Female Vampire', 'Shivers of the Vampire' and of course the previously mentioned Carmilla films.I am glad I read Carmilla, it is an interesting and well written novella with a different take on vampires which is fresh and original due to it being older. In retrospect Carmilla has also spawned the beloved lesbian vampire film genre and it was awesome to read about the first lesbian vampire ever!
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