Varma, Devendra P. (1923-1994)

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Varma, Devendra P. (1923-1994)

Leading authority on the Gothic novel and author and editor of over two hundred books on the subject. Dr. Varma was born on October 17, 1923, in northeastern India, on the borders of the Himalayan Mountains. He has been a professor of English in Katmandu, Nepal, and also taught at the University of Damascus in Syria and in Cairo. For many years he taught English at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, specializing in the Gothic romance.

He had taken a particular interest in the study of the vampire and discussed the subject in his introduction to the three-volume reprint of Varney the Vampire by James Malcolm Rymer (often mistakenly attributed to Thomas Prest), a mid-nineteenth-century vampire novel. In 1973, he traveled to Castle Dracula in Transylvania to investigate the background of Bram Stoker's famous novel Dracula, first published in 1897.

Varma had kept in close touch with such Hollywood directors of horror movies as Curtis Harrington, Frank Cunningham, Walter Doughty, and Forrest Ackermann and was friends with such actors as Christopher Lee and Vincent Price. He edited the seven volumes of the "horrid novels" mentioned in Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, the Gothic Studies and Dissertations Series in 36 volumes, and three series of Gothic Novels reprinted by Arno Press (including The Complete Works of Sheridan LeFanu) in 52 volumes. In 1977, he was awarded the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal in Britain for his contributions to education and the arts.

Vsarma died in 1994.


Varma, Devendra. "The Genesis of Dracula: a Re-Visit." In Peter Underwood, ed. The Vampire's Bedside Companion. London: Leslie Frewin, 1975.

. The Gothic Flame. London: Arthur Barker, 1957.

. The History of the Gothic Novel in England. N.p., 1957.

. "The Vampire in Legend, Lore, and Literature." Introduction to Varney the Vampyre; or, the Feast of Blood. New York: Arno Press, 1970.

, ed. Voices from the Vaults: Authentic Tales of Vampires and Ghosts. Toronto: Key Porter Books, 1987.