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Carmilla Paperback – 19 Oct 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 108 pages
  • Publisher: Soft Editions Ltd POD (19 Oct. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843500728
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843500728
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 0.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,065,040 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Publisher

ABOUT THE READER:

Tracey has just finished a sell-out run playing Martha to Matthew Kelly's George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at London's Trafalgar Studios.

Tracey is best known for playing Lynne Howard in the popular eighties drama Howards' Way, and Linda Cosgrove in the long running Born and Bred.

Theatre credits include The New Vic's production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Great Gatsby, Sybil in Private Lives, Stepping Out, No Sex Please, We're British, Why Me?, The Hollow and The Unexpected Guest. Television work includes Prometheus, playing Rose in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The Devil's Crown, The Amazing Affair of Adelaide Harris, Strangers, Landseer- Working Out The Beast, playing Marianne in Sense and Sensibility, Bergerac, Jane Eyre, Captain Zep, A Talent for Murder, As Seen on TV and Dempsey and Makepeace. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

The foremost teller of scary stories in his day and a profound influence on both the novelists and filmmakers of the 20th century, Anglo-Irish author JOSEPH THOMAS SHERIDAN LE FANU (1814-1873) has, sadly, fallen out of scholarly and popular favor, and unfairly so. To this day, contemporary readers who happen across his works praise his talent for weaving a tense literary atmosphere tinged by the supernatural and bolstered by hints of ambiguous magic. "Carmilla" is Le Fanu's 1872 novella--also included in the collection of short fiction In a Glass Darkly--of lesbian vampirism, a chilling and terrifying tale of a young girl who comes under the evil influence of a female vampire. The prototype of an entire subgenre of vampire fiction, a clear inspiration for Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula, and the source material for countless movies, this is one of the more significant yet least appreciated works of pop culture of the past two centuries. With a series of new editions of Le Fanu's works, Cosimo is proud to reintroduce modern book lovers to the writings of the early master of suspense fiction who pioneered the concept of "psychological horror."
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 16 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
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.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Feb. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I never get tired of this tale, so I was glad to see that it was available on kindle for free. If you are into vampire fiction then you have surely read this before, if not many times. First published in 1872, this tale was more influential upon Dracula than any other.

The story is told us from the perspective of Laura, who lives with her father in a schloss in Styria. At six she had what others attributed a nightmare, but she thinks was a real occurence. Jump forward to Laura at nineteen, when she meets Carmilla.

Although this is a vampire tale there is a strong lesbian theme between the two young ladies, although this isn't overt and is fitting with the time it was written. Usually overshadowed by Dracula these days this is really a tale that is a classic in its own rights.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 3 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Where do I start wit this little story? Well first of all as the blurb suggests, this story is about a young girl of seemingly aristocratic standing living with her father within his Eastern European country manor. Things go well until the mysterious arrival of a sickly young woman named Carmilla, for whom whose care is thrust upon the father/daughter duo by the stranger's apparently caretaker. No sooner was this done do the two girl become friends, albeit with a sinister almost sexual predation underlining it. And that is when things get interesting..

Now, some of you are no doubt curious as to what that last sentence meant. Basically without meaning to spoil the story, Carmilla herself is a sort of vampiric were-creature that has a tendency to befriend and eventually feed off delightful young girls such as the heroine of the story. Although for the time the author probably couldn't afford to be overt about his intentions for the characters relationships, there is none the less a very strong innuendo that suggest that their friendship goes a little beyond platonic. This makes for an interesting character dynamic, as much like Dracula was written after it, the story itself is told in a diary like narrative. You gain the impression that although the heroine was disturbed by her experiences, she none the less still held a deep fascination for Carmilla. I presume this was to make up for the fact that due to the heroines elevated social status she was to a large extent isolated and alone, thus yearned for the sort of companionship Carmilla provided.

As for the writing style of the book, I found it surprisingly accessible for a book written so long ago. Although I occasionally sniggered at the quaint descriptions given to otherwise mundane topics i.e.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Klaatu on 25 May 2010
Format: Paperback
Carmilla is a novella by Sheridan Le Fanu. It is the finest vampire story in literature. Le Fanu's language is exquisite and his tone throughout the whole story is perfectly pitched. This is a perfect little gem. Within its own terms it is simply perfection. I urge you to read it and share my joy in this little masterpiece.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael Finn on 5 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
First published in 1872, Carmilla is a hugely influential vampire story told by a young girl called Laura, starved of the company of children her own age. After a coach crash not far from her castle home in Styria, her family agree to look after another young girl called Carmilla for a period of some months. Laura recognises the girl at once from a disturbing dream from years earlier. And Carmilla admits to having the same dream. In the nearby village the deaths begin.
The enduring literary emblem of the vampire was born when Bram Stoker gave the world Dracula in the last years of the 19th Century, birthed by a century obsessed by the Gothic imagery associated with the darker shadows of folklore and mythology. From the scatological excesses of penny dreadfuls like Varney the Vampyre, the crafted prose of Le Fanu's Carmilla and the like, the groundwork was already laid. Without one or the other of these two mismatched parents Stoker's Dracula would never have entered its creator's brain. But unlike Varney and other Victorian age vampires Carmilla survived to influence horror films and fiction beyond Stoker's famous Count. The 1960s and 1970s was awash with lurid adaptations of the Karnstein saga. If you have any interest at all in the history and development of vampire fiction or you just like well written Gothic fiction you should definitely give this a look. It's a short read and Le Fanu's prose is lighter and more accessible than some of his other works. I think it is one of his finest works
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