“Over the sward and low grounds a thin film of mist was stealing like smoke, marking the distances with a transparent veil; and when she had spoken such a rhapsody, she would press me more closely in her trembling embrace and her lips in soft kisses gently glow upon my cheek.”
Generally acknowledged as a major influence on Bram Stoker, Carmilla, originally published in 1872, is the very first vampire thriller.
Written 26 years before Dracula, Carmilla is one of the seminal novels of the Vampire genre, and includes transformation into mists, beasts, blood sucking from breast and throat, languor in victims and vampires during the day, coffins, staking, and decapitation.
It is also Victorian Lesbian Vampire Erotica. People who think the Victorians were prudes clearly haven’t read Carmilla, in which a lesbian vampire seduces her victim night after night and day after day with “languid” movements and many “caresses.”
The vampire of this story, Carmilla, a dark-eyed maiden with arresting beauty, possesses many traits associated with a ghost. She moves through walls. She vanishes into thin air. She appears at the foot of her victim’s bed in a shadowy form.
“Baron Vordenburg” is clearly a forerunner to many vampire hunters in vampire fiction—from Van Helsing in Dracula to Giles the Watcher in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Carmilla is the ultimate gothic vampire tale: stylish, menacing, sensual, and spellbinding.
SHERIDAN LE FANU (1814 –1873) was a leading ghost story writer of the nineteenth century and 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."
"Le Fanu's best work is of the first rank, while as a 'flesh-creeper' he is unrivalled.”
-E. F. Benson
“Le Fanu is "one of the most important and innovative figures in the development of the ghost story" and has had "an incredible influence on the genre.”