Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)

The female equivalent of the Incubus; i.e., a woman who visits men in their sleep to deliver temptations and nightmares. One Old English name for this demon was hagge; thus Witches became known as hags. The succubus was originally ugly, but in Supernatural Fiction became transformed into a temptress or Femme Fatale with inevitable connections to the Vampire legend (see also Lamia). Whereas incubi were unusual in Victorian fiction, succubi (or equivalent) became more frequent, almost certainly because of their erotic appeal to predominantly male writers and readers. The vampire in Carmilla (1871-1872 Dark Blue; 1971 US) by J Sheridan Le Fanu is a version, as are the vampire girls in Dracula (1897) by Bram Stoker. Tanith Lee has explored various aspects of the motif in her stories, especially those collected in Women as Demons (coll 1989) and Nightshades (coll 1993). Perhaps the most sexually graphic fictional exploration is The New Neighbor (1991) by Ray Garton. [MA]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.