Author(s): Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
This is one of the most significant and intriguing Gothic novels of the Victorian period and is enjoyed today as a modern psychological thriller. In "Uncle Silas" (1864) Le Fanu brought up to date Mrs Radcliffe's earlier tales of virtue imprisoned and menaced by unscrupulous schemers. The narrator, Maud Ruthyn, is a 17 year old orphan left in the care of her fearful uncle, Silas. Together with his boorish son and a sinister French governess, Silas plots to kill Maud and claim her fortune. The novel established Le Fanu as a master of horror fiction.
Dublin-born Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-1873) established himself as a journalist and writer of fiction and became one of the best-selling authors of the 1860-80s. His sinister and supernatural tales are the precursors of the modern ghost story. Victor Sage teaches English at the University of East Anglia. A literary critic and short story writer, he has published critical books on Gothic literature, including Horror Fiction in the Protestant Tradition (Macmillan).