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Le Fanu's Carmilla

The Vampire in Literature

Carmilla is a Gothic novella, published in 1872. It was published in a magazine called The Dark Blue. The author was Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, a famous writer of ghost stories, who came from a well-known literary family.
  The story concerns a young lady called Laura, and of friend Carmilla, who turns out to be a vampire. In truly Gothic style, Laura and her widowed father live in a castle in Austria. They live in solitary splendour. Laura tells of a dream she has a young girl in which a beautiful stranger came to her room and bit her on the chest. Laura yearns for company and to her surprise, an accident happening before her, Carmilla emerges out of the carriage uninjured. They both recognize each other from the dream and soon become friends. Meanwhile, Carmilla's mother does not trust her, while the father lets her stay at the castle.
  Carmilla shows sudden changes in her mood, from pure mellowness to extreme anger, she sleeps a great deal during the day and is often found sleepwalking at night. In addition, she hates Christian hymns. Most disturbingly, Carmilla starts to profess a romantic attachment to Laura, which she finds repugnant. Deeply disturbed, she dreams of animals attacking her at night and biting her on the chest. Suddenly, the animal turns into Carmilla. Finally, Carmilla's true identity is discovered and is killed.
  Carmilla became a sensation and was widely read. It mostly derived from euphemistic language of the day, which was used to describe sexual relationship of both female protagonists. From this point, the vampire became an iconic image of the sexually voracious individual and helped explore the destructive aspects of human sexuality.

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