Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

A picture of the author Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Known for his Gothic or Victorian Gothic tales, Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu (1814 – 1873) was the leading horror or ghost-story writer of the nineteenth century.

Le Fanu was raised in Ireland, of Huguenot descent, into a literary family. While some of his family were playwrights and novelists, his father was a Church of Ireland clergyman, who raised his family in strict Protestant, Calvinist traditions. They moved to Southern Ireland in 1826, a sparsely populated area in Southern Ireland, where Le Fanu took to educating himself in his father's library.

Le Fanu studied law at Trinity College, but turned to journalism and began writing for the Dublin University Magazine in 1838. His first published ghost story was The Ghost and the Bone-Setter (1838).

Carmilla, Le Fanu's stunning lesbian vampire thriller (1872), inspired Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897), and vampire-themed literature that pervades popular culture to this day. Le Fanu's popular novella prompted several movies including Carl Theodor Dreyer's Vampyr (1932) and The Vampire Lovers (1970).
Visit our Gothic Literature study guide for other leading authors' works of horror.

facebook share button twitter share button google plus share button tumblr share button reddit share button share by email button share on pinterest pinterest

Anton Chekhov
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Susan Glaspell
Mark Twain
Edgar Allan Poe
Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
Herman Melville
Stephen Leacock
Kate Chopin
Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson