Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-1873) was an Irish writer of Gothic tales, mystery novels, and horror fiction. He was a leading ghost story writer of the nineteenth century and was central to the development of the genre in the Victorian era. No less an authority than M.R. James described Le Fanu as "absolutely in the first rank as a writer of ghost stories"but he was far more than that. His short novel Carmilla is an early tale of vampirism, and it has lesbian elements as well, making it of interest to many scholars and readers today. His best-known works are, of course, Carmilla, plus Uncle Silas and The House by the Churchyard.