Born at 45 Lower Dominick Street, Dublin, Sheridan Le Fanu studied law at Trinity College, Dublin. He was called to the bar in 1839, but he never practiced and 1838 he began writing stories including his first ghost story, entitled “The Ghost and the Bone-Setter” (1838). He became owner of several newspapers from 1840.
In 1844 he married Susanna Bennett, the daughter of a leading Dublin barrister.
In the 1850s his personal life became difficult as his wife suffered from increasing neurotic symptoms and in April 1858 she suffered an “hysterical attack” and died the following day.
In 1861 he became the editor and proprietor of the Dublin University Magazine, using it to serialise both “The House by the Churchyard” and “Wylder’s Hand” in the paper before revising them for the English market. After lukewarm reviews of the former novel, set in Dublin, Le Fanu signed a contract with Richard Bentley, his London publisher specifying that future novels be “of an English subject and of modern times”, to satisfy the English audience.
Le Fanu died in his native Dublin on 7 February 1873, at the age of 58. Today there is a road and a park named after him near his childhood home in south-west Dublin.