Before Twilight & Dracula, There Was This Lesbian Vampire Story The World Forgot About

Photo: Courtesy of Summit Pictures.
It feels like yesterday that we were all intoxicated by the vampire craze, rapidly flipping through blood-sucking novels, binge-watching True Blood and Vampire Diaries, and swooning over Robert Pattinson as the kind-hearted, but cold-skinned Edward Cullen in Twilight. Before the 2000s obsession with the undead, there was the Anne Rice's decade-spanning book series (and movie) that started with her 1976 best-seller Interview With a Vampire.

But did you know that the roots of our vampire fetish reach all the way back to centuries past? If you're thinking, "Duh, Bram Stoker's Dracula," then you're still not thinking far enough back. Try 145 years ago: 1871 to be exact — 26 years before Stoker's classic Gothic horror novel. Slate's Atlas Obscura notes that the long-forgotten novella Carmilla is not only the first vampire romance, its also a lesbian vampire love story.

Carmilla was written in Ireland in 1871 by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. It tells the story of Laura, who meets a young, beautiful female vampire named Carmilla, after Carmilla mysteriously shows up at her home one night. The two start to develop intense feelings for each other, giving us major Bella and Edward vibes.

The non-heteronormative desires and romance between Laura and Carmilla could have been why the novella never rose to mainstream popularity at the time it was written, or in the decades following. Regardless, it definitely seems to have influenced the likes of Stoker, as well as all the pop culture vampires that followed. Sounds like the perfect addition to our winter reading list.

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