This collection was created due to my own love of Gothic literature. As an avid fan of
the works of Edgar Allan Poe, I was interested in reading the work of other writers who
focused on the dark and macabre. I was also interested in the same style of highly
descriptive writing within Poe's work, especially his poetry. Sheridan Le Fanu was
introduced to me as the author of the novella titled Carmilla which is about a lesbian
vampire. This vampire story was published in 1871 before Dracula was
published(Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) – Le Fanu, J Sheridan). If you have read
Carmilla, this will serve to show you some more material written by Sheridan Le Fanu,
who has written a large number of stories and novels. If you have never read anything by
Sheridan Le Fanu in the past, here is a small collection of his work to get your feet
wet and after reading the selection you can decide if you wish to look into his work
further. If you are someone who is interested in Edgar Allan Poe or other gothic
literature, this collection may be of special interest to you. While the content of the
Le Fanu's short story chosen for this collection is rooted in Irish folklore and is very
different in its supernatural elements compared to the work of Poe, it still has the
eerie and macabre sense that shines in Poe's work as well as an ending that will feel
similar in theme to the endings of many of Poe's stories. In addition, if you are
someone who is interested in fantasy and supernatural, the stories of Le Fanu might be
of interest to you. The stort story included in this collection, The Child that Went
with the Fairies, includes the fantasy element of the fairies from Irish folklore. They
are not sweet and kind fairies, but those who are trickier and lend to a more ominous
story. This edition included definitions and information about places and people. There
is clearifying information when it comes to the Irish dialect used. However, no
interpretations have been included in order to allow readers to read it and interpret it
on their own.
I have compiled some background information on Le Fanu for some context and a better
understanding of him and his work. Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu was an Irish author who lived
from 1814 to 1873 (“Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu”). Le Fanu was a conservative Protestant and
came from a family well-off when it came to land. Due to his family, he was opposed to
anything that would give Ireland freedom from the rest of the UK. He incoperated fantasy
elements and folklore into his stories often and was known for his supernatural
elements, including the vampire Carmilla. His set many of his works in his home country
of Ireland and used the folklore and imagery of the country within the stories. His
later works are seen to be pessimistic and often ridden with guilt in his presentation
of religion and class in Ireland (Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) – Le Fanu, J
Le Fanu focuses on Irish folklore often within his stories. In the short story in this
collection, fairies are very important. Here is some background about fairies in Irish
folklore for more context and understanding of the story. In Irish folklore, fairies
were very important and played a large role. The fairies were known to tormeent people
and even steal their children. Some believed that these fairies were remnants of fallen
angels who were less guilty than other and therefore not force to hell (Carleton). Irish
fairies can be helpful or mischevious. They have been known to trick people into their
realm where time does not work the same. These people will believe they have spent a few
minutes, only to find out it has been years in the human world. They were known, in
their most dangerous, to steal people, usually children and more often male children.
This had to do with the mortality rates with children in Ireland at the time. Research
has confirmed the male centric is due to the fact that there is typically a higher rate
of mortality in male children (The Fairy Mythology).
Carleton, W. “Irish Superstitions.:Ghosts and Fairies.” The Irish Penny Journal, vol. 1,
no. 34, 1841, pp. 269–71. JSTOR, doi:10.2307/30001297.
Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) – Le Fanu, J Sheridan.
http://sf-encyclopedia.uk/fe.php?nm=le_fanu_j_sheridan. Accessed 2 May 2018.
"Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu." Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition, Mar. 2017, p.
The Fairy Mythology: Celts and Cymry: Ireland.
http://theology101.org/neu/celt/tfm/tfm132.htm. Accessed 2 May 2018.