October 29 is National Cat Day and what better way to celebrate than with Sheridan Le Fanu’s temptress of darkness Carmilla. Carmilla follows the story of Laura, an innocent and naïve young woman who becomes enraptured with the seductive and enchanting Carmilla, a vampire who can transform into a large black cat. After Carmilla is injured in a carriage accident, she comes to stay with Laura and the two become companions. As the girls grow closer, Laura falls ill and her loved ones begin to suspect that the secretive and mysterious Carmilla is more dangerous than she appears.
Carmilla is said to have heavily influenced Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which was published 26 years later, as well as inspire certain parts of Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw. This sapphic novel was adapted into a web series set at a liberal arts college in the modern day which can be viewed for free on YouTube here. Find electronic and print copies of this dark tale of terror through McCain Library’s catalog. Physical copies can be picked up through the library’s Grab & Go service.
If you would like to view more monstrous literary cats, check out this list of the “9 Meanest Cats in Literature” featuring greats like the Cheshire Cat, Behemoth, and Macavity.