Publication[ edit ] Carmilla, serialized in the literary magazine The Dark Blue in late and early ,  was reprinted in Le Fanu's short story collection In a Glass Darkly Comparing the work of the two illustrators , David Henry Friston and Michael Fitzgerald, whose work appears in the magazine but not in modern printings of the book, reveals inconsistencies in the characters' depictions.
Consequently, confusion has arisen relating the pictures to the plot. Hesselius, whose departures from medical orthodoxy rank him as the first occult detective in literature. When she was six, Laura had a vision of a beautiful visitor in her bedchamber. She later claims to have been punctured in her breast, although no wound was found. Twelve years later, Laura and her father are admiring the sunset in front of the castle when her father tells her of a letter from his friend, General Spielsdorf.
The General was supposed to bring his niece, Bertha Rheinfeldt, to visit the two, but the niece suddenly died under mysterious circumstances. The General ambiguously concludes that he will discuss the circumstances in detail when they meet later. Laura, saddened by the loss of a potential friend, longs for a companion. A carriage accident outside Laura's home unexpectedly brings a girl of Laura's age into the family's care.
Her name is Carmilla. Both girls instantly recognize the other from the "dream" they both had when they were young. Carmilla appears injured after her carriage accident, but her mysterious mother informs Laura's father that her journey is urgent and cannot be delayed.
She arranges to leave her daughter with Laura and her father until she can return in three months. Before she leaves, she sternly notes that her daughter will not disclose any information whatsoever about her family, past, or herself, and that Carmilla is of sound mind. Laura comments that this information seems needless to say, and her father laughs it off. Carmilla and Laura grow to be very close friends, but occasionally Carmilla's mood abruptly changes.
She sometimes makes romantic advances towards Laura. Carmilla refuses to tell anything about herself, despite questioning by Laura. Her secrecy is not the only mysterious thing about Carmilla; she never joins the household in its prayers, she sleeps much of the day, and she seems to sleepwalk outside at night.
Meanwhile, young women and girls in the nearby towns have begun dying from an unknown malady. When the funeral procession of one such victim passes by the two girls, Laura joins in the funeral hymn. Carmilla bursts out in rage and scolds Laura, complaining that the hymn hurts her ears.
When a shipment of restored heirloom paintings arrives, Laura finds a portrait of her ancestor, Mircalla, Countess Karnstein, dated The portrait resembles Carmilla exactly, down to the mole on her neck. Carmilla says she might be descended from the Karnsteins even though the family died out centuries before. During Carmilla's stay, Laura has nightmares of a large cat-like beast entering her room and biting her on the chest.
The beast then takes the form of a female figure and disappears through the door without opening it. In another nightmare, Laura hears a voice say, "Your mother warns you to beware of the assassin," and a sudden light reveals Carmilla standing at the foot of her bed, her nightdress drenched in blood. Laura's health declines, and her father has a doctor examine her.
He finds a small blue spot on her chest and speaks privately with her father, only asking that Laura never be unattended. Her father then sets out with Laura, in a carriage, for the ruined village of Karnstein, three miles distant. They leave a message behind asking Carmilla and one of the governesses to follow once the perpetually late-sleeping Carmilla wakes.
En route to Karnstein, Laura and her father encounter General Spielsdorf. He tells them his own ghastly story: At a costume ball, Spielsdorf and his niece Bertha had met a young woman named Millarca and her enigmatic mother.
Bertha was immediately taken with Millarca. The mother convinced the General that she was an old friend of his and asked that Millarca be allowed to stay with them for three weeks while she attended to a secret matter of great importance.
After consulting with a specially-ordered priestly doctor, the General realized that Bertha was being visited by a vampire. He hid with a sword and waited until a large black creature crawled onto his niece's bed and to her neck. He leapt from his hiding place and attacked the beast, which took the form of Millarca. She fled through the locked door, unharmed. Bertha died immediately afterward. Upon arriving at Karnstein, the General asks a woodman where he can find the tomb of Mircalla Karnstein.
The woodman says the tomb was relocated long ago by the hero who vanquished the vampires that haunted the region. While the General and Laura are alone in the ruined chapel, Carmilla appears. The General and Carmilla both fly into a rage upon seeing each other, and the General attacks her with an axe.
Carmilla disarms the General and disappears. The General explains that Carmilla is also Millarca, both anagrams for the original name of the vampire Mircalla, Countess Karnstein. The party is joined by Baron Vordenburg, the descendant of the hero who rid the area of vampires long ago.
Vordenburg, an authority on vampires, has discovered that his ancestor was romantically involved with the Countess Karnstein before she died and became one of the undead. Using his forefather's notes, he locates Mircalla's hidden tomb. An Imperial Commission exhumes the vampire's body.
Immersed in blood, it seems to be breathing faintly, its heart beating, its eyes open. A stake is driven through its heart, and it gives a corresponding shriek; then the head is struck off.
The body and head are burned to ashes, which are thrown into a river. Afterward, Laura's father takes his daughter on a year-long tour through Italy to regain her health and recover from the trauma, which she never fully does.
As with Dracula , critics have looked for the sources used in the writing of Carmilla. This is evidenced by a report analyzed by Calmet, from a priest who learned information of a town being tormented by a vampiric entity 3 years earlier.
Having traveled to the town to investigate and collecting information of the various inhabitants there, the priest learned that a vampire had tormented many of the inhabitants at night by coming from the nearby cemetery and would haunt many of the residents on their beds. An unknown Hungarian traveler came to the town during this period and helped the town by setting a trap at the cemetery and decapitating the vampire that resided there, curing the town of their torment.
Hall's account provides much of the Styrian background and, in particular, a model for both Carmilla and Laura in the figure of Jane Anne Cranstoun, Countess Purgstall. Though Le Fanu portrays his vampire's sexuality with the circumspection that one would expect for his time, it is evident that lesbian attraction is the main dynamic between Carmilla and the narrator of the story: It was like the ardour of a lover; it embarrassed me; it was hateful and yet overpowering; and with gloating eyes she drew me to her, and her hot lips travelled along my cheek in kisses; and she would whisper, almost in sobs, "You are mine, you shall be mine, and you and I are one for ever".
When compared to other literary vampires of the 19th century, Carmilla is a similar product of a culture with strict sexual mores and tangible religious fear. While Carmilla selected exclusively female victims, she only becomes emotionally involved with a few. Carmilla had nocturnal habits, but was not confined to the darkness. She had unearthly beauty, and was able to change her form and to pass through solid walls. Her animal alter ego was a monstrous black cat, not a large dog as in Dracula.
She did, however, sleep in a coffin. Carmilla works as a Gothic horror story because her victims are portrayed as succumbing to a perverse and unholy temptation that has severe metaphysical consequences for them. Stoker's posthumously published short story " Dracula's Guest " , known as the deleted first chapter to Dracula, shows a more obvious and intact debt to Carmilla: In the narrative, an Englishman finds himself in Germany midway upon his journey from England to the castle of Dracula; stumbles upon a tomb of a female vampire whose inscription reads: Both stories are told in the first person.
Dracula expands on the idea of a first person account by creating a series of journal entries and logs of different persons and creating a plausible background story for their having been compiled. Both authors indulge the air of mystery, though Stoker takes it further than Le Fanu by allowing the characters to solve the enigma of the vampire along with the reader.
The descriptions of the title character in Carmilla and of Lucy in Dracula are similar, and have become archetypes for the appearance of the waif-like victims and seducers in vampire stories as being rosy-cheeked, slender, languid, and with large eyes, full lips, and soft voices. The Tepes and the Carmilla. The Carmilla faction favors a matriarchal society for the world of vampires while the Tepes prefer a patriarchal government. A Dark Fugue is a short book by David Brian. Although the story is primarily centered around the exploits of General Spielsdorf, it nonetheless relates directly to events which unfold within Carmilla: The Wolves of Styria.
The Wolves of Styria is a re-imagining of the original story. It is a derivative re-working, listed as being authored by J. Le Fanu and David Brian. The Return by Kyle Marffin is the sequel to Carmilla. The Rise of the House of Karnstein, is a sequel to Le Fanu's novella and takes place over years later. Carmilla continues to play games with mortals, inserting herself into their lives and breaking them to her will.
She settles herself around a teacher and his family, feeding on his baby daughter. Some short stories set in the Anno Dracula series universe have also included Carmilla. Author Anne Rice has cited Carmilla as an inspiration for The Vampire Chronicles , her ongoing series beginning in with Interview with the Vampire. Comics[ edit ] alphabetical by series title In , Aircel Comics published a six-issue black and white miniseries of Carmilla by Steven Jones and John Ross.
The first issue was printed in February The first three issues adapted the original story, while the latter three were a sequel set in the s.
Film[ edit ] chronological Danish director Carl Dreyer loosely adapted Carmilla for his film Vampyr but deleted any references to lesbian sexuality. This collection contains five tales, one of which is Carmilla. Hesselius; and the scene in which Gray is buried alive is drawn from "The Room in the Dragon Volant". French director Roger Vadim 's Et mourir de plaisir literally And to die of pleasure, but actually shown in the UK and US as Blood and Roses, is based on Carmilla and is considered one of the greatest of the vampire genre.