Carmilla - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
Reading start: 2017-10-11
Reading finish: 2017-10-31
In order to use the book as a wild card:
Read the book & post at least one update/discussion post on this thread! Welcome, everyone!
Hello and thanks for starting us off here! :)
This is quite a short read - so short, in fact, that I read it in a couple of hours. I am not really a fan of short works - novellas & short stories all seem to leave me wanting more. I'm not surprised, then, that Carmilla left me underwhelmed. It's not that I didn't like it - it's just that I think it would've been better with more development.
A couple of interesting points. I have read Dracula, and can definitely see the influence that LeFanu's story had on Stoker, especially in the transformation ability of the vampire. In Stoker, Dracula can transform into a large dog; Carmilla, otoh, transforms into a black cat. Neither of them transform into bats. I'm sure that the bat transformation has some basis in literature, but I'm not sure what it is.
The homoeroticism of the tale is also interesting, especially given the repressed era in which it was published. LeFanu isn't really being coy here, is he? There are some downright heavy-handed allusions to lesbian attraction there. I can see how the Victorians were titillated and thrilled by the tale.
I'd give it 3 stars as a stand alone tale, but 5 stars given the amount of content as compared to the length. I enjoyed it more than The Thin Man!
I've now blacked-out my card!
What does everyone else think?
I was also roaming around wikipedia, & learned that Dr. Hesselius is the framing device for LeFanu's short story collection "In A Glass Darkly," which includes 5 stories, one of which is Carmilla. I'm seriously thinking about reading the remaining four stories.
I’m about halfway through with my reread. I think all of this languidity is making me tired! I enjoy LeFanu’s flowery style of writing, but only for brief periods.
I read this today -- like MR, I'll probably be reading the rest of In a Glass Darkly at some point, but very likely not all in one go. (Anyway, I did order the book ...) For a vampire story, it was entertaining (rather than terrifying, I mean), and it's interesting to see where Stoker probably got at least some of his ideas -- to the extent that Sheridan le Fanu wasn't, in turn, likewise inspired by the Romanian legend about Count Dracul -- but there's also no question that Dracula is in a completely different league.
Since I did jump on the bandwagon after all, I'll be counting this towards the "vampire" square on my bingo card, which leaves me with only one square to complete ... hopefully soon.
Btw, does anyone know whether werewolf lore has any roots going back to the same place as vampire lore, or as Bram Stoker's and Sheridan le Fanu's books at any rate -- or is Dracula's and Carmilla's ability to shapeshift into a large four-pawed mammal (a dog, or cat, respectively) just a thing that these two specific vampires happen to have in common with werewolves?
I read it over the weekend, enjoyed the book but the academic waffle pre-and post matter made me quite cranky. I found it interesting to read one of the ur-books of the vampire genre and it's interesting to see how there was romance associated with the vampire even then.
I liked this one. He sets up the story nicely.
Reply to post #7
That's a good question. I don't know of an original book that launched werewolves.
Reply to post #7
I know that there is common roots for vampires and werewolves, but I forget where I read it. At one time the same world was used for both in one of the Slavic languages.
The Wikipedia entry sheds some light.
The references they make can be found in PDF for Bisclavret
And online text for Guillaume de Palerne
Reply to post #11
Thanks Lora! Will check out the links.
Reply to post #11
Oh, thank you for digging this up, very interesting. And would you believe I have a modern French prose translation of some of Marie de France's "Lais" ... which now I've pulled off its shelf immediately, of course. And yes, Bisclavet is in there, too.
Those werewolf links look interesting! Thanks!
Reply to post #13
I recall this being in one of the Greek myth books I had. I didn't even think about the connection to werewolves.