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Special Collections Authors You’ve Never Heard Of

Part VII: Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-73)

This week marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Irish novelist Sheridan Le Fanu. Le Fanu is best remembered for his ghost stories and gothic tales and for his famous literary relation, playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan (who was his great-uncle).

Le Fanu launched his writing career with several gothic short stories, published in a Dublin magazine between 1838 and 1840. He turned to writing historical fiction in the 1840s, publishing several novels in the vein of Sir Walter Scott (with an Irish rather than Scottish setting). Le Fanu continued writing tales of suspense and horror, including the novels Wylder’s Hand and Uncle Silas (1864). His vampire tale “Carmilla” (1872) would later influence fellow Irishman Bram Stoker, author of Dracula.

Special Collections owns several of Le Fanu’s story collections, including a copy of Ghost Stories and Tales of Mystery (1851, shown here) and In a Glass Darkly (1872), which collects “Carmilla” and other stories.

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