Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu (1814 - 1873) was an Irish writer of Gothic tales and mystery novels. He was a leading ghost story writer of the nineteenth century and was central to the development of the genre in the Victorian era. M. R. James described Le Fanu as "absolutely in the first rank as a writer of ghost stories". Three of his best-known works are Uncle Silas, Carmilla and The House by the Churchyard.
The haunting tale of a young woman being seduced by a female vampire, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla still manages to enthrall its readers almost two centuries later. Predating Dracula by some 26 years, Carmilla (1871) is the first and perhaps greatest of vampire stories.