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moonlightreader

Moonlight Reader

Lawyer, mother, avid reader. Game host extraordinaire! Partner in crime to Obsidian Black Plague! My bookish weaknesses include classics, fantasy, YA, and agreeing to read more books than is even remotely possible.

Currently reading

Capital Crimes: London Mysteries: A British Library Crime Classic (British Library Crime Classics)
Martin Edwards
Progress: 105/410 pages
Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection
Arthur Conan Doyle, Stephen Fry

Carmilla by J. Sheridan LeFanu

In a Glass Darkly - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

This novella was hard for me to rate - I am not really a fan of short works. Carmilla was good, but it could easily have been expanded into a full length novel. It makes more sense to me to put it in the context of the collection of which it was a part, which is why I've attached it to the full Oxford Classics edition of the collection.

 

The five stories in the collection are purported to be five studies from the casebook of Dr. Hesselius, an "occult detective." Shades of Dr. Van Helsing, perhaps? I can definitely see the influences that Carmilla had on Bram Stoker - there are a lot of analogs, from Laura (Lucy Westenra) to the location of story (the Austrian state of Styria, which has a very similar feel to the Carpathian mountains of Dracula). Both vampires have transformation abilities, with Dracula being capable of transformation into a large black dog, while Carmilla transforms into a large black cat.

 

The homoeroticism between Carmilla and Laura is overt, rather than subtle. It amuses me a little, honestly, to imagine how titillated and thrilling the repressed Victorians must've found the lesbian, erotic, languid relationship between Carmilla and her victims. Don't get me wrong, this is not a graphic by any stretch of the imagination, but the overtones are impossible to miss.

 

The weird name anagramming seemed really contrived to me and I didn't get it all. Carmilla. Millarca. Mircalla.

 

Anyway, I decided that I would go ahead & buy the full collection and read it before the end of Halloween bingo. At least, that's my plan!