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Plot Edit

48037

[1]

"Carmilla" is a story written by Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu. [2] It centralizes around a girl named Laura who lives with her father in a forest in Styria. She lives a normal life of that of a Victorian Era girl: obeyed her father while living under his roof until she were to get married, and never considering anything sexual until then as well. Her life is changed when a girl of the name Carmilla and her mother are involved in an accident by Laura's house. Laura's father invites Carmilla to stay with them in their castle while Carmilla's mother continues on her way. During her stay, Carmilla challenges Laura's sexuality as she attempts many romantic gestures towards her. As the plot continues, it is revealed that Carmilla is also a woman named Millarca, a vampire that also goes by Countess Karnstein.

Characters Edit

  • Laura: protagonist, young, unmarried and lives with her father
  • Laura's father: retired English widower
  • Carmilla's mother
  • Carmilla: stays with Laura's family and is of Laura's age; revealed to be the vampire Countess Karnstein

Significance to Victorian Era Edit

"Carmilla" is one of the first stories of its kind: telling a story about a queer couple but while also revealing stereotypical gender roles than actually existed during the Victorian Era which the story takes place. During the Victorian Era, "During the Victorian period men and women’s roles became more sharply defined than at any time in history" (Hughes.) [3] This is seen through the life of Laura, who lives with her father while she is not married. It is until Carmilla shows up that the Victorian Age stereotypes begin to be challenged. In her article "Victorian Sexualities," Furneaux explains that women were not expected to have any sexual desires outside of reproduction with their husbands in order to make for a future generation to take care of. [4] This is challenged through the actions of Carmilla and Laura, as they are romantic with each other for a purpose other than to reproduce: but to also feel love for one another and feel pleasure for themselves. It is also said that this story is the first in a theme of lesbian vampires. [5] The idea of anything outside of a homosexual relationship was new to many during the Victorian age.

  1. Image source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48037.Carmilla
  2. "Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu" http://www.online-literature.com/lefanu/
  3. Hughes, Kathryn. "Gender Roles in the 19th Century." https://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/gender-roles-in-the-19th-century#sthash.tuMuuVWP.dpuf
  4. Furneaux, Holly. "Victorian Sexualities." https://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/victorian-sexualities#footnote1
  5. Keesey, Pam (1993). Daughters of Darkness: Lesbian Vampire Stories. Cleis. 

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