Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla


Cardiff BookTalk is pleased to invite you to our first event of 2020 on Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s novel, Carmilla (1872). Predating Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) by twenty-six years, it is one of the first works of ‘vampire fiction.’ It is also considered a masterwork of the Gothic genre and is thought to have been a source of inspiration not only for Stoker and other writers in the ‘Irish Gothic’ literary scene, but also for Henry James’s classic horror, The Turn of the Screw (1898), and Anne Rice’s popular series, The Vampire Chronicles (1976-2018).

The figure of the vampire both attracts and repulses. And Le Fanu’s Carmilla continues to captivate audiences, having inspired numerous television and film adaptations – including a Hammer Films production. What is it about Carmilla that endures the test of time? Can different ‘vampiric’ embodiments challenge our preconceptions about gender, romance, sexuality and power? What are the key components of a truly great Gothic novel? Please join us on the evening of Monday 3rd February as we return to the original text and respond to these questions, and more!

To guide us in our thinking about Carmilla, we have the great privilege of welcoming three expert speakers to begin our discussion:

  • Dr Megan Bryan holds a PhD in English from the University of York, and wrote her thesis on the historical aspects of nineteenth century vampire literature. She is currently employed at the University of North Texas, spending her spare time writing vampire fiction under the name M. H. Bryan. She has published four novels in The Immortal Dragon series, and is working on her fifth due out later this year.
  • Dr Amy Burge is a Lecturer in Popular Fiction at the University of Birmingham with a particular interest in popular romance. She has published work on Christian-Muslim relationships in medieval and modern romance and contemporary historical romance. She is currently working on a literary history of the romance hero and race, and a networking project on Muslim women’s genre fiction
  • Dr Anna Mercer is a Lecturer in English Literature at Cardiff University. Her research focuses on literature of the Romantic period, and her first monograph – The Collaborative Literary Relationship of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley – was published by Routledge in 2019. She also works with Keats House Museum in London on their #Keats200 bicentenary programme. She is the Director of Communications for the Keats-Shelley Association of America (K-SAA) and the Communications Officer for the British Association for Romantic Studies.

Each of our speakers will present a 10-15 minute talk, and then there is an opportunity for audience questions and discussion. To make the most of the session, you may like to read Carmilla and perhaps other works in the Irish Gothic tradition or the vampire fiction genre.

The main event at 6.30pm will be preceded by a reception with tea, coffee, and biscuits at 6.00pm in Cardiff University’s School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Maindy Road, Cardiff, CF24 4HQ.

Tickets are free and all are welcome – RSVP via Eventbrite now!

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