Google Doodle honours Irish horror writer Sheridan le Fanu

28 Aug 2014

Writer Joseph Thomas Sheridan le Fanu

Dublin-born writer of Gothic tales and mystery novels Joseph Thomas Sheridan le Fanu has been honoured in a new spine-tingling Google Doodle to mark the 200th anniversary of his birth.

Today’s Google Doodle depicts a ghostly woman hovering over the bed of a sleeping woman.

Le Fanu is the author of popular Victorian mysteries and Gothic tales, including Uncle Silas, Carmilla and The House by the Churchyard.

He wrote his vampire novel Carmilla 25 years before fellow Dublin native Bram Stoker’s more famous novel Dracula.

Le Fanu was born on 28 August 1814 at 45 Lower Dominick St in Dublin to a family of Huguenot origins.

Both his grandmother and great-uncle were playwrights and his niece Rhoda Broughton would become a successful novelist.

The Google Doodle in honour of writer Joseph Thomas Sheridan le Fanu

A graduate of Trinity College Dublin, le Fanu’s earliest ghost stories were published in Dublin University Magazine, including his first story entitled The Ghost and the Bone-Setter.

Le Fanu was also the owner of several Dublin newspapers in the 1840s, including the Dublin Evening Mail.

He was active alongside John Mitchel and Thomas Francis Meagher in a campaign to change the British Government’s indifference to the Irish Famine, a nationwide disaster that led to the deaths of 1m people and the emigration of a further 1m people.

Le Fanu’s efforts to wake the British Government up to the crisis cost him the nomination as Tory MP for Co Carlow in 1852.

He went on to become editor and proprietor of Dublin University Magazine.

Le Fanu died in 1873, at the age of just 58. A road and a park in Ballyfermot, south-west Dublin, are named after him.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years