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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.


  • Carmilla
  • The Haunted Baronet
  • The House by the Churchyard
  • The Room in the Dragon Volant
  • Ultor de Lacy A Legend of Cappercullen
  • Uncle Silas
  • Wylder’s Hand
  • Short Stories

  • A Chapter in the History of a Tyrone Family
  • An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street
  • An Adventure of Hardress Fitzgerald, a Royalist Captain
  • An Authentic Narrative of a Haunted House
  • Billy Maloney’s Taste of Love and Glory
  • Dickon the Devil
  • Ghost Stories of Chapelizod
  • Jim Sulivan’s Adventures in the Great Snow
  • Laura Silver Bell
  • Madam Crowl’s Ghost
  • Passage in the Secret History of an Irish Countess
  • Schalken the Painter
  • Scraps of Hibernian Ballads
  • Stories of Lough Guir
  • Strange Event in the Life of Schalken the Painter
  • The Bridal of Carrigvarah
  • The Child That Went with the Fairies
  • The Dead Sexton
  • The Drunkard’s Dream
  • The Evil Guest
  • The Fortunes of Sir Robert Ardagh
  • The Ghost and the Bone-Setter
  • The Last Heir of Castle Connor
  • The Murdered Cousin
  • The Quare Gander
  • The Room in the Dragon Volant
  • The Vision of Tom Chuff
  • Wicked Captain Walshawe, of Wauling