Sheridan Le Fanu

(August 28th, 1814 — February 7th, 1873)

Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu was an Irish author writing in the 19th century. He was well-known for his ghost stories in his own time, and he primarily wrote Gothic, mystery, and horror fiction.

Le Fanu was a middle child, born in Dublin. His father was a rector and the family struggled with money during his childhood. His studies were partially self-taught from his father’s library and partially formal education.

Le Fanu studied to be a lawyer, but never practised. He began writing the year before he was called to the bar and started a career in journalism after his studies were finished. He married Susanna Bennett, and began writing for a living.

His wife died suddenly in 1858, leaving him with four children under the age of fifteen. She had been mentally and possibly physically unwell since 1856. He did not write for three years after her death, and his journals suggest deep feelings of guilt as well as grief.

In 1861, he took over the Dublin University Magazine as publisher and editor. He published several of his novels in the magazine first, and then revised them for publication in the English Market. He was a very prolific writer and published in many genres, but he is most remembered for horror stories such as Uncle Silas and Carmilla.

Le Fanu died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 58. According to at least one biographer, he literally died of fright — though no other details are given.

Sheridan Le Fanu is a book author.

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