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His supernatural fiction was unparalleled in the Victorian Era. It inspired Robert Louis Stevenson, Henry James, and E. F. Benson. M. R. James was a worshipful devotee who resurrected his legacy and modeled his ghost stories after his style. Bram Stoker reworked his erotic vampire fiction to write his masterpieces, "Dracula" and "The Judge's House." J. Sheridan Le Fanu was the most influential, original, and inspirational horror writer of his time, and unlike many of his peers, his writing has not become dated or quaint: it still carries his trademark atmosphere of unsettling discomfort and uncanny fear. Le Fanu's psychological ghost stories and weird fiction are remarkable for the way in which they merge elements which should be diametrically opposed: the conscious and unconscious, life and death, heaven and hell, right and wrong, light and darkness, public self and private self.


He sets his stories in a world of deep twilight -- a chiaroscuro of deep shadows broken up with faint light and vague definitions. His cosmos is unforgiving, malicious, and misanthropic: unlike Lovecraft who feared a world where mankind didn't matter, Le Fanu depicted a punishing spiritual order where every sin, every misstep, and every crime was closely watched and viciously, mercilessly punished. His murky universe is populated with demon lovers, haunted portraits, seductive ghosts, hanging judges, demonic rats, maddening visions of hell, animated corpses, sensual vampires, evil fairies, shape-shifting goblins, spectral hands, haunted candles, malevolent phantoms, and the ghosts of evil men who cozy up to the living in disturbingly intimate ways.


The Drunkard's Dream | The Sexton's Adventure  | The Familiar

Disturbances in Aungier Street  | The Ghost of a Hand | Narrative of a Haunted House  | Wicked Captain Walshawe | Squire Toby's Will 

 Stories of Lough Guir | Madam Crowl's Ghost | Dickon the Devil

Sir Robert Ardagh | Schalken the Painter | Ultor de Lacy | Green Tea 

The Child That Went with the Fairies  

White Cat of Drumgunniol | Sir Dominick's Bargain

Laura Silver Bell | Carmilla | Mr Justice Harbottle