Thursday, 28 August 2014

Happy Birthday Sheridan Le Fanu

Well, a timely Google Doodle reminded me of this (not that I would have had remembered, to be honest), but today would have been the 200th birthday of Sheridan Le Fanu. He is of course the author of the vampire story Carmilla, which later, like so many vampires, lived in the shadow of the Count, Le Fanu himself living in the shadow of fellow Irish writer Bram Stoker. Carmilla, which inspired the Doodle, was also reduced to a lesbian vampire story, and its subsequent adaptations were even more massacred than the ones of Dracula, pretty much all verging on the soft and not so soft porn. I have to confess, I do not feel the love for Le Fanu's creation that I feel for Stoker's, but all the same, the novella is deliciously creepy and has genuinely frightening scenes. It lacks the raw violence of Dracula, yet we are far from the vampiric romances that get published these days. I can also say, with a certain pride, that I have actually read other stories than Carmilla. And Le Fanu could write gothic horror. So in the upcoming months and weeks before Halloween, I intend to read him again and remember that his work should not be forgotten and stands on its own merit.

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