Uncle Silas

Uncle Silas

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by J. Sheridan Le Fanu
     
 

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In Uncle Silas, Sheridan Le Fanu's most celebrated novel, Maud Ruthyn, the young, naïve heroine, is plagued by Madame de la Rougierre from the moment the enigmatic older woman is hired as her governess. A liar, bully, and spy, when Madame leaves the house, she takes her dark secret with her. But when Maud is orphaned, she is sent to live with her Uncle…  See more details below

Overview

In Uncle Silas, Sheridan Le Fanu's most celebrated novel, Maud Ruthyn, the young, naïve heroine, is plagued by Madame de la Rougierre from the moment the enigmatic older woman is hired as her governess. A liar, bully, and spy, when Madame leaves the house, she takes her dark secret with her. But when Maud is orphaned, she is sent to live with her Uncle Silas, her father's mysterious brother and a man with a scandalous-even murderous-past. And, once again, she encounters Madame, whose sinister role in Maud's destiny becomes all too clear.

With its subversion of reality and illusion, and its exploration of fear through the use of mystery and the supernatural, Uncle Silas shuns the conventions of traditional horror and delivers a chilling psychological thriller.

Author Biography: Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-1873) was born in Dublin, the great-nephew of playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan. His novels and many short stories were precursors to modern occult tales.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140437461
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/05/2001
Series:
Penguin Classics Series
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
528
Sales rank:
318,257
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu was born in Dublin in 1814. He was the great-nephew of the playwright Richard Sheridan. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and called to the bar in 1839, but chose instead to pursue a career in journalism. He began his writing career by publishing a number of stories anonymously in the Dublin University Magazine, which had been founded in 1833 by a group of Trinity College students. Le Fanu went on to purchase the magazine in 1861 and became its editor. From 1840 onwards he bought and edited the Warden and the Protestant Guardian, among other magazines and newspapers.

His first two novels, The Cock and Anchor (1845) and Torlogh O'Brien (1847), followed the style of Sir Walter Scott. After purchasing the Dublin University Magazine, in which much of his writing was serialized, he wrote the tales that made him a bestseller. These novels use mystery and the supernatural to explore the psychological effects of fear, and often deal with a young, innocent person being drawn into a dangerous situation in which older people conspire to swindle and harm them, as in Uncle Silas (1864). His other works include The House by the Churchyard (1863), Wylder's Hand (1864), The Wyvern Mystery (1869) and The Rose and the Key (1871). In 1872 he collected and published the remarkable stories of In a Glass Darkly, including the famous story of a female vampire, 'Carmilla', which predates Bram Stoker's Dracula by 25 years and formed the basis of the 1932 film Vampyr. After his death in 1873, Le Fanu's works faded in popularity, but interest was revived in 1923 when a collection of stories was published, entitled Madam Crowl's Ghost and Other Tales of Mystery.

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Uncle Silas (Large Print Edition) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm not a big fan of Victorian novels, but I'm a huge fan of Sheridan Le Fanu, one of the foremost writers of ghost stories in the English language. 'Uncle Silas' has been described as a short story unfortunately gotten in a family way, but it was very popular in its day and is now included in World Classics. Unlike the ghost stories, the novel sticks to the more explicable evil of living beings, but is still heavy on the chills. The basic plotline---young, naive heiress is thrust into great danger by the death of her father/protector---is a familiar enough theme, and resonates clearly in any period. To our modern sensibility, she cries too much and takes too much for granted, but it's consistent with the age and circumstance. What makes the novel special is the gradual but inexorable building of fear and foreboding as the story unfolds, punctuated with Le Fanu's uncanny eye and ear for the grotesque detail. In an age when books were often read by candlelight, 'Uncle Silas' must have troubled the nights of many a reader, young or old. The Penguin edition has a comprehensive introduction and is loaded with chapter-by-chapter endnotes, which illuminate a lot of period vernacular and references that might otherwise be missed. Practiced readers of Gothic and Victorian fiction would probably classify 'Uncle Silas' as a 19th-century beach book, but that quality is what makes it particularly approachable for a modern reader.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Uncle Silas is filled with very colorful characters set amongst dreary, but delightfully so, backdrops that, as a fan of Gothic Lit, keeps one entranced
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