If you are a fan of Gothic fiction searching for an excellent read, or you would like to become familiar with the world of Gothic and you are looking for an exquisite piece to read, LeFanu's Carmilla is exactly what you are looking for. Joseph Sheridan LeFanu is considered to be one of the biggest contributors to the popularity of the genre, and Carmilla is undoubtedly among his best writings.
Carmilla is one of the most popular vampire stories ever, rated even higher than Bram Stoker's Dracula by scholars and fans of the genre as well. The story is not complicated: a young girl is involved into a carriage accident, then she is placed by her mother into the care of a friend. The story quickly becomes a narration about a female vampire, a complex character looking for much more than a way to follow her urge to feed and who is much more than a blood-sucking monster.
LeFanu is a master of character building and storytelling, and the supernatural elements of the story allow him to set his imagination free - the story is boundless and limitless, really, with lots of spooky places and events that send shivers up and down the reader's spine. Carmilla is every bit as attractive and luring as all the famous vampires who populate the most intriguing vampire novels of the age; her shriek is just as terrifying and she is just as powerful as her popular predecessors and successors. The novella has influenced numerous other great Gothic stories, including not only the character of Dracula, as we know him from Stoker's novel, but the character of Dr. Van Helsing, the vampire expert and the character of Lucy, Dracula's victim as well. Many critics consider Carmilla to have influenced Henry James when he wrote The Turn of the Screw, and numerous other elements of this well-written story continue to appear in contemporary movies as well.
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