“Young people like, and even love, on impulse. I was flattered by the evident, though as yet undeserved, fondness she showed me. I liked the confidence with which she at once received me.”
Whenever I meet someone who likes to read, it is likely that I will ask them if they have ever read Carmilla. I, like the speaker above, loved this story immediately, and embraced it with confidence from the start.
Carmilla, by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, is a beautifully Gothic novella, that represents the Vampire in a way few have ever managed. I can’t do it justice just how much this story resonates with me; in some way, it is as if my spirit is at home within the pages.
The story forms part of the foundation of my inspiration for Dawn of Eternity. It represents, for me, the pinnacle of the Gothic Fiction genre; the sublime ease at which the words are read, yet in contrast with the complex and elaborate narrative that represents the style as a whole.
“The sun was setting with all its melancholy splendor behind the sylvan horizon, and the stream that flows beside our home, and passes under the steep old bridge I have mentioned, wound through many a group of noble trees, almost at our feet, reflecting in its current the fading crimson of the sky.”
People have said to me, at times, that I am sometimes too elaborate in my descriptive elements; yes, I am. I do this on purpose, and with pleasure, because it is like writing a tribute to the authors of a time gone by, like Le Fanu.
When I read these moments in Carmilla, for example, I want to honour them in my own work. It is like painting a summer evening; the fear that you will never see another like it, and the beautiful melancholy that it promotes.
“She caressed me with her hands, and lay down beside me on the bed, and drew me towards her, smiling; I felt immediately delightfully soothed, and fell asleep again. I was wakened by a sensation as if two needles ran into my breast very deep at the same moment…”
We all have our own ideas of what a Vampire is like, yet I would wager, that very few would ever find similarity in Le Fanu’s story. This is significant.
Why? Because when you read Carmilla, you forget that this is a Vampire story. You are entranced by the words, the setting and the tone. The story, with amazing efficiency, has you under its spell, and you are but a thrall to the plot. This is Vampirism at it’s finest, and dressed to impress at a Gothic masquerade.
“Your looks won me; I climbed on the bed and put my arms about you, and I think we both fell asleep.”
It is with this final quote that I will end my account; for I too have been won over, in full, by the charm of Carmilla. And, although in Dawn of Eternity we see a different tale play out, it suffices to say she has played her part.
Perhaps she visited me also, though rather than detach me from life, left me with a message to give, so that others may know of her.