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Gay Quaker Parrots
Literary Slash
Carmilla by J. Sheridan LeFanu 
23rd-Jul-2005 12:16 pm
Mad Eye Max Dee Leit

J. Sheridan LeFanu wrote this vampire novella in 1872 with a female narrator who falls under the spell of a young female vampire. Source of the quoted material: http://www.sff.net/people/DoyleMacdonald/l_carmil.htm
The thing with vampires is that they are often highly sexual creatures in literature, and often represent sexual deviancy (gay sex) that the Catholic Church can kill. For more on Catholic Church symbols, ask... but first: LESBIAN VAMPIRES!

You are not to suppose that I worried her incessantly on these subjects. I watched opportunity, and rather insinuated than urged my inquiries. Once or twice, indeed, I did attack her more directly. But no matter what my tactics, utter failure was invariably the result. Reproaches and caresses were all lost upon her. But I must add this, that her evasion was conducted with so pretty a melancholy and deprecation, with so many, and even passionate declarations of her liking for me, and trust in my honour, and with so many promises that I should at last know all, that I could not find it in my heart long to be offended with her.

She used to place her pretty arms about my neck, draw me to her, and laying her cheek to mine, murmur with her lips near my ear, “Dearest, your little heart is wounded; think me not cruel because I obey the irresistible law of my strength and weakness; if your dear heart is wounded, my wild heart bleeds with yours. In the rapture of my enormous humiliation I live in your warm life, and you shall die—die, sweetly die—into mine. I cannot help it; as I draw near to you, you, in your turn, will draw near to others, and learn the rapture of that cruelty, which yet is love; so, for a while, seek to know no more of me and mine, but trust me with all your loving spirit.”

And when she had spoken such a rhapsody, she would press me more closely in her trembling embrace, and her lips in soft kisses gently glow upon my cheek.

Her agitations and her language were unintelligible to me.

From these foolish embraces, which were not of very frequent occurrence, I must allow, I used to wish to extricate myself; but my energies seemed to fail me. Her murmured words sounded like a lullaby in my ear, and soothed my resistance into a trance, from which I only seemed to recover myself when she withdrew her arms.
23rd-Jul-2005 07:29 pm (UTC)
I do like vampire sensuality and sexual nature, but... Oh dear. I respect classical literature but I think that this sounds like an angsty teenager writing Anne Rice fanfiction.
23rd-Jul-2005 07:37 pm (UTC)
Well, it's 19th c gothic, it's frequently a bit overdone. But this one does work overall, and the relationship's a lot more convincing than in Anne Rice. The vampire actually moves in with her victim for most of the novella, they're busy having a passionate "romantic friendship" by day and all sorts by night.
23rd-Jul-2005 07:44 pm (UTC)
Perhaps, I've yet to read it, however I infinitely prefer the more subtle obsession found in some works. Rice is not a good example of this, but, it was what came to mind.
23rd-Jul-2005 07:37 pm (UTC)
yeah, actually. I write better vamp slash than LeFanu, and I suck (pun intended) at it.

Fascinating stuff, what I have read in my Classic Lit classes. Some of it has been absolute crap thrown in seemingly to make the class wonder about the sanity of the professor. :) Of course, I enjoyed reading Carmilla because it's so bad it became campy.
23rd-Jul-2005 07:40 pm (UTC)
Trust me, compared to Le Fanu's other short stories it's fairly good. If you want to see total and utter vampire trash, look up Varney the Vampire., you should be able to find it via one of the links on the gothic_lit user info page.

Uncle Silas, which has some Incredibly Gay Bits, is moderately well-respected, I think.
23rd-Jul-2005 07:45 pm (UTC)
Varney the Vampire? *shows age by snickering childishly*
23rd-Jul-2005 07:49 pm (UTC)
You asked for it. Here's an excerpt:

The figure turns half round, and the light falls upon the face. It is perfectly white—perfectly bloodless. The eyes look like polished tin; the lips are drawn back, and the principal feature next to those dreadful eyes is the teeth—the fearful looking teeth—projecting like those of some wild animal, hideously, glaringly white, and fang-like. It approaches the bed with a strange, gliding movement. It clashes together the long nails that literally appear to hang from the finger ends. No sound comes from its lips. Is she going mad—that young and beautiful girl exposed to so much terror? she has drawn up all her limbs; she cannot even now say help. The power of articulation is gone, but the power of movement has returned to her; she can draw herself slowly along to the other side of the bed from that towards which the hideous appearance is coming.

But her eyes are fascinated. The glance of a serpent could not have produced a greater effect upon her than did the fixed gaze of those awful, metallic-looking eyes that were bent on her face. Crouching down so that the gigantic height was lost, and the horrible, protruding, white face was the most prominent object, came on the figure. What was it?—what did it want there?—what made it look so hideous—so unlike an inhabitant of the earth, and yet to be on it?

Now she has got to the verge of the bed, and the figure pauses. It seemed as if when it paused she lost the power to proceed. The clothing of the bed was now clutched in her hands with unconscious power. She drew her breath short and thick. Her bosom heaves, and her limbs tremble, yet she cannot withdraw her eyes from that marble-looking face. He holds her with his glittering eye.

See, it's even worse than The Lair of the White Worm, and Stoker was very obviously on drugs when he wrote that.
23rd-Jul-2005 07:54 pm (UTC)
I am always wary of present tense work. *twitch* And this is positively awful! As for White Worm, You may have a point there.
23rd-Jul-2005 08:00 pm (UTC)
Oh, have you read that too? What made you read it? I trudged through it because I was doing a dissertation on Dracula and wanted to read more Stoker, so I read that and a volume of short stories. It was useful, because I got what I wanted in terms of writing about sexuality and race and such, but it was an, ahem, interesting experience reading it all. The short stories weren't too bad at least.
23rd-Jul-2005 08:08 pm (UTC)
I have read sections, purely out of interest, as I enjoyed Dracula. Didn't manage to complete it though. I have to admit, I've not read enough pre 1900 work - simply have a list which a friend of mine excitedly adds to periodically. I tend to simply return to Wilde; whom I love, and may quote for this community if I find any particularly choice passages when I next read Dorian Gray.
23rd-Jul-2005 07:36 pm (UTC)
The original lesbian vampire story, indeed. Source?

Any idea where that "She kissed me silently" bit is?
23rd-Jul-2005 07:54 pm (UTC)
The above is from Chapter IV: "Her Habits—A Saunter"
I'm not so good at following the rules and stuff, huh?
That's mostly due to laziness. I apologize.
23rd-Jul-2005 07:58 pm (UTC)
I must be going blind, I could have sworn you hadn't put up the URL. Don't mind me. Just being blind and persnickety, which doesn't really work as a combination.
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