Le Fanu’s Carmilla broke the stereotypes and norms that the typical woman of the 1800’s or Victorian period,

would portray. In the article “Gender roles in the 19th Century” by Kathryn Hughes, she exclaims how, “Women were assumed to desire marriage because it allowed them to become mothers rather than to pursue sexual or emotional satisfaction.” In Le Fanu’s tale, Carmilla’s sexual orientation turns out to be a liking for females, which is shown through her intimate relationship with the character Laura. Throughout the story, the two are told as holding hands, kissing each other on the cheek, and blushing on a frequent basis. A quote that captures the love of the two greatly is when Carmilla from the story exclaims, “ I have been in love with no one, and never shall," she whispered, "unless it should be with you." How beautiful she looked in the moonlight! Shy and strange was the look with which she quickly hid her face in my neck and hair, with tumultuous sighs, that seemed almost to sob, and pressed in mine a hand that trembled. Her soft cheek was glowing against mine. "Darling, darling," she murmured, "I live in you; and you would die for me, I love you so." I started from her. She was gazing on me with eyes from which all fire, all meaning had flown, and a face colorless and apathetic. "Is there a chill in the air, dear?" she said drowsily. "I almost shiver; have I been dreaming? Let us come in. Come; come; come in.” (Le Fanu’s, Carmilla)

Moreover, Carmilla breaks another standard from the 19th century, that being the religion of Christianity, and the rules that follow it. Christianity at the time this story was written was a very popular in society. Carmilla’s lesbian character goes against heterosexuality, which is enforced heavily in Christianity.


Outside Sources:

1) "Before Dracula, There Was Carmilla." Before Dracula, There Was Carmilla - Article - Book Reviews Bram Stoker Dark Romance Film and Television Horror J. Sheridan Le Fanu Sexuality Sin Taboos Vampires - Victorian Gothic. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2017.

2) Palimpsesticsoul. "An Interpretation of Le Fanu’s Carmilla." The Barge View. N.p., 27 Apr. 2013. Web. 22 Apr. 2017.

3) Leavesley, Bronya. "GOTHIC HORROR." Carmilla Analysis. N.p., 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 22 Apr. 2017.

Sources from course Material:

1) "Gender Roles in the 19th Century." The British Library. The British Library, 13 Feb. 2014. Web. 22 Apr. 2017.

2) Sheridan, Le Fanu Joseph, Emili Olcina, and Javier Martín Lalanda. Carmilla. Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 2016. Print.

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