Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-1873) was an Irish writer of Gothic horror. Born in Dublin, Le Fanu was raised in a literary family. His mother, a biographer, and his father, a clergyman, encouraged his intellectual development from a young age. He began writing poetry at fifteen and went on to excel at Trinity College, Dublin, where he studied law and served as Auditor of the College Historical Society. In 1838, shortly before he was called to the bar, he began contributing ghost stories to Dublin University Magazine, of which he later became editor and proprietor. He embarked on a career as a writer and journalist, using his role at the magazine as a means of publishing his own fictional work. Le Fanu made a name for himself as a pioneer of mystery and Gothic horror with such novels as The House by the Churchyard (1863) and Uncle Silas (1864). Carmilla (1872), a novella, is considered an early work of vampire fiction and an important influence for Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897).