200 Years of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
Edited By Jarlath Killeen and Valeria Cavalli
Best known for his Gothic masterpiece Uncle Silas and the vampire story Carmilla, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu was a prolific writer whose extensive body of work included historical, sensation and horror novels, poems and ballads, numerous stories of the supernatural, journalism and a verse-drama. While his name is well known to aficionados of the horror genre, much of his work still remains in the shadows. Indeed, despite his vampire creation, Carmilla, being the best-known female blood-sucker in the world, and despite an enormous scholarly and popular interest in the novella in which this character first appeared (an interest evident in the very large number of cinematic, televisual and even new media adaptations of the story), Le Fanu himself is almost completely unknown outside of the world of Irish Gothic scholarship, and most of his fiction remains difficult to obtain or is out of print.
To celebrate the bicentenary of Le Fanu’s birth, this collection brings together established scholars and emerging researchers in order to shed new light on some of his less famous fiction and celebrate his influential contribution to the Gothic genre. The main aim of the collection is to read Le Fanu in the round, expanding the critical focus away from its current obsession with a small proportion of his work and taking account of the full extent of his writing, from his other Gothic novels, The Rose and the Key, Haunted Lives and A Lost Name, to his short stories and journalism. The collection also considers Le Fanu’s relationship to Victorian Ireland and especially Dublin from a number of different angles, as well as addressing his status as an ‘Irish’ writer of substance.
List of Illustrations
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Jarlath Killeen, ‘Introduction: Forgetting Le Fanu?’.
Figure 1.1 Irish Writers of the Fantastic. Courtesy of Brian Showers, Swan River Press.
Figure 1.2 D. H. Friston, Carmilla, The Dark Blue 3/13 (March 1872).
Alison Milbank, ‘Death and the Maiden: Theology, Gender and the Grotesque in Le Fanu’s Fiction’
Figure 9.1 Death and the Maiden sculpture, unknown artist, sixteenth century. Bode-Museum, Berlin.
Figure 9.2 Godfried Schalcken, A Candlelit Scene: A Man Offering a Gold Chain and Coins to a Girl Seated on a Bed, c.1665–1670. The National Gallery, London.
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