“Perhaps other souls than human are sometimes born into the world, and clothed in human flesh.” — Uncle Silas (1864)
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-1873) was born in Dublin on Dominick Street Lower. He spent his youth in Chapelizod and the rural village of Abington, Co. Limerick. He entered Trinity College in 1833 and was called to the Irish Bar in 1839. Instead of pursuing a career in law, Le Fanu purchased and edited several newspapers including The Evening Mail and The Warder. In 1861 he bought the Dublin University Magazine, which he edited until 1869. He retreated from public life on the death of his wife in 1858, and from the seclusion of his Merrion Square home he turned his attention to writing novels. He is best known today for such pioneering weird stories as “An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in and Old House in Aungier Street”, “Green Tea”, and “Carmilla”. His notable novels include The House by the Church-yard (1863), Wylder’s Hand (1864), Uncle Silas (1864) and The Wyvern Mystery (1869). His seminal short story collection, In a Glass Darkly, was published in 1872, less than a year before his death.
Novels and Collections
The House by the Churchyard (1863)
Uncle Silas (1864)
The Wyvern Mystery (1869)
In a Glass Darkly (1872)
“Schalken the Painter” (1839)
“The Watcher” (1847)
“Green Tea” (1869)
Find out more about Irish Writers of the Fantastic.
Swan River Press has a number of J.S. Le Fanu publications available, including the limited edition Reminiscences of a Bachelor, which collects two of his finest Dublin-based tales of the Gothic and supernatural; not to mention an assortment of hand-sewn booklets: A Concise Bibliography, The Ballads and Poems of J. Sheridan Le Fanu, and The Complete Ghost Stories of Chapelizod.
Those who wish to explore Le Fanu’s writing even further might be interested in our two 2014 issues of The Green Book, which focused on Le Fanu and his writing in his bicentennial year: Issue 3 and Issue 4.
And for the Le Fanu aficionado who has everything, we suggest the Stoker-award nominated essay anthology Reflections in a Glass Darkly, edited by Gary W. Crawford, Jim Rockhill and Brian J. Showers.