Carmilla is a Gothic novella by Joseph Sheridan le Fanu. First published in 1872, it tells the story of a young woman’s susceptibility to the attentions of a female vampire named Carmilla. Carmilla predates Bram Stoker’s Dracula by over twenty years, had a strong influence on Stoker’s famous novel.
Laura, the teenaged protagonist, narrates, beginning with her childhood in a "picturesque and solitary" castle amid an extensive forest in Styria, where she lives with her father, a wealthy English widower retired from service to the Austrian Empire. When she was six, Laura had a vision of a very beautiful visitor in her bedchamber. She later claims to have been punctured in her breast, although no wound was found.
Twelve years later, Laura and her father are admiring the sunset in front of the castle when her father tells her of a letter from his friend, General Spielsdorf. The general was supposed to bring his niece, Bertha Rheinfeldt, to visit the two, but the niece suddenly died under mysterious circumstances. The general ambiguously concludes that he will discuss the circumstances in detail when they meet later.
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