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Old 10-21-2012, 03:13 PM   #6
fantasyfan
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I'll give some of my own opinions about this remarkable work later on but for now I'll just mention an interesting source which deals with the interpretation of the novel.

Carmilla has been analysed in considerable depth. There is a "Scholarly edition" available for $3.68 from the Kindle store. It is edited, annotated and introduced by Jamieson Ridenhour.

The introduction is quite brilliant and profound. It deals with "The Literary Vampire" {the vampire of folklore, the Femme fatale, and the Byronic Vampire} and its relationship to Carmilla.

This selection of a paragraph taken from the introduction will give some idea of the comprehensive way the editor approaches the story:

"Thus, Carmilla has been read as a fable of repressed sexuality {with Carmilla representing Laura's own awakening sexual identity}, . . . and as a parable of patriarchal repression. . . . Other readings have highlighted ethnic differences, demonization of women, and Le Fanu's fascination with the spiritual theories of Emanuel Swedenborg. The multiple meanings critics continue to find in Le Fanu's short tale are a demonstration of the ways in which the vampire tale is itself a mirror, casting back a dark image of whatever society holds up to the cold surface."

After examining the Literary Vampire and some of the various theories and approaches to it, the editor goes on to discuss what is now probably the most interesting modern theory of the book. In a long section entitled "Blood Sacrifice and Irish Identity" Ridenhour gives a quite thorough discussion of the political overtones of Carmilla. Le Fanu was a member of the Anglo-Irish, Protestant ruling class, deeply suspicious of the ethnic, Catholic population--particularly those who advocated National Independence.

I am familiar with this approach to the work and I think that this part of the essay is quite comprehensive in its treatment of it.

Throughout the entire essay--which is about 20 percent of the total length of the ebook--significant and extended use is made of quotations from the book supportive of the positions taken.

The essay is probably what you are paying your money for. Personally, I think you get your money's worth both for the essay and the many useful footnotes.

The one problem with this edition is that there is no way of accessing specific chapters other than by using your own bookmarks--in fact, JSWolf provides a far superior text in terms of general formatting and ease of reading. So you'll have to decide for yourself if you think it's worth getting this ebook for its introduction.

One final point: Carmilla was originally presented as a four part serial over four months. The sequence was as follows:
Chapters 1-3
Chapters 4-6
Chapters 7-10
Chapters 11-16

Last edited by fantasyfan; 10-21-2012 at 05:34 PM.
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