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 threevolume
reprint of Varney the Vampire by James Malcolm Rymer
(often mistakenly attributed to Thomas Prest), a midnineteenth-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.