Carmilla

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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.

Contents

Publication

Carmilla was first published in the magazine The Dark Blue in 1872,[1] and then in the author's collection of short stories, In a Glass Darkly the same year.

There were two original illustrators for the story, both of which appeared in the magazine but which do not appear in modern printings of the book. The two illustrators, David Henry Friston and Michael Fitzgerald, show some inconsistencies in their depiction of the characters, and as such some confusion has arisen in identifying the pictures as part of a continuous plot.

Plot summary

The story is presented by Le Fanu as part of the casebook of Dr Hesselius, whose departures from medical orthodoxy rank him as the first occult doctor in literature.[2] The story is narrated by Laura, one of the two main protagonists of the tale.

Laura begins her tale by relating her childhood in a "picturesque and solitary" castle in the midst of an extensive forest in Styria where she lives with her father, a wealthy English widower, retired from the Austrian Service. When she is six years old, Laura has a vision of a beautiful visitor in her bedchamber. She later claims to have been bitten on the chest, although no wounds are found on her.

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