Eerie Kipling

The Phantom Rickshaw and Other Eerie Tales

From the fine purveyors of the peculiar over at Wormwoodiana:

In Wormwood 26, admired writer of the fantastic Colin Insole draws attention to the range and power of Kipling’s stories of the strange and supernatural.

There are at least a handful (of Kiplings eerie tales) that might stand among the most effective in the field. And as well as their strong traditional storytelling qualities, Colin notes that aspects of Kipling’s tales anticipate modern developments in the literature of the supernatural, later found in the work of Shirley Jackson or Robert Aickman. The stories explore states of dream or delirium and can also be psychologically acute.

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Ghost Recognition

A Ghostly CompanyGhosts and Scholars  Supernatural Tales

Cool news from our friends at Wormwoodiana:

“Three stalwarts of the classic ghost story have combined to launch new awards for the best ghost story and the best ghost story collection each year. The journals Ghosts & Scholars and Supernatural Tales and the literary society A Ghostly Company will jointly sponsor the awards. The winners will be chosen by votes of their readers and members.”

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Brooding Scholars and Malevolent Spectres

The Hawk and the Tree

 

The always-interesting Mark Valentine writing about Patrick Carleton at Wormwoodiana:

In a contribution to a mailing of the ghost story correspondence society The Everlasting Club (new members welcome), the eminent anthologist and scholar of the field Richard Dalby revealed his researches into the little-known author of a single Jamesian tale, ‘Dr Horder’s Room’. This was Patrick Carleton, whose story of the malevolent spectre of a Cambridge Master of College was published in the anthology Thrills (Philip Allan, 1935). As Richard noted, Carleton had also written novels for Allan, and so that must have been how he came to be included in the collection. But who was Patrick Carleton?

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Haunted Tower, Occult Madness

Jezreel Temple

Here’s an excerpt of the latest news from Wormwoodiana says:

Championed by the eminent ghost story anthologist and scholar Richard Dalby, Lewis’ work has seen a revival which has included the hardback editions from The Ghost Story Press in 1994 and 2003, and now a paperback reprint (Shadow Publishing, 2014). Dalby, in his introductions, describes how he traced Lewis’ widow, and learnt from her of some of the author’s interest in the esoteric and occult, and also of the effect on him of certain hallucinations, and visions, which seem to have even led to spells in an asylum.

The inspiration for his most praised story was, Dalby reports, “based on a real tower which was being built by an American religious sect, but never finished, at the time Lewis first saw it, supposedly somewhere in South London.”

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S. T. Joshi Chides Again

Unutterable Horror

Today via Wormwoodiana I learned of this book review by Michael Dirda of S. T. Joshi’s new book, Unutterable Horror, at The Weekly Standard’s Book Review

Because Joshi  is so opinionated, Dirda suggests that we “trust Joshi on the books he praises, but look for yourself at those he dismisses or disdains.”

Here’s an excerpt of the review: 

Nothing human is alien to supernatural fiction. Transgressive by definition, it ventures into the dark corners within all of us, probing our sexuality, religious beliefs, and family relationships, uncovering shameful yearnings and anxieties, questioning the meaning of life and death, even speculating about the nature of the cosmos. It’s no surprise that almost every canonical writer one can think of has occasionally, or more than occasionally, dabbled in ghostly fiction: Charles Dickens, Henry James, Somerset Maugham, Elizabeth Bowen, John Cheever, even Russell Kirk, to name just a few outstanding examples. The genre’s best stories are, after all, more than divertissements. They are works of art that make us think about who and what we are. 

And, yes, they are also scary. Sometimes really scary.

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Reflections on Le Fanu: In a Glass Darkly

You may have noticed that, here at Bill Ectric’s Place I feature a lot of links to Wormwoodiana. It’s one of my favorite blogs.

Today, Douglas A. Anderson tells us, “I was recently reading Herbert van Thal’s interesting autobiography, The Tops of the Mulberry Trees (1971), which covers many of van Thal’s roles in publishing—as an agent, anthologist, editor and publisher.”

Anderson quotes van Thal as saying, “I have always been surprised that Sheridan Le Fanu has never achieved the popularity of his contemporaries, such as Wilkie Collins . . .

Ardizzone's frontispiece to In a Glass Darkly

Ardizzone’s frontispiece to In a Glass Darkly

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Architecture of Light and Shadow

WrittenByDaylight (2)

Via Wormwoodiana, a good interview with John Howard by Mark Valentine can be found at the Swan River Press.

Mark Valentine: This approach is particularly significant in “Time and the City”, where imagination seems to be actually creating a city. Do you see some strong affinities between architecture and literature?

John Howard: I’m sure there can be. For example it’s possible to talk of “constructing” a story, or “building” a world, and so on. Stories can be flung up overnight or take a long time to assemble, and painfully. And in some stories it is possible to remove something, bringing it crashing down, while others never get off the ground because the foundations are inadequate or haven’t been provided.

There are plenty of buildings and architectural references and themes in my stories (and one or two even have architects as characters). I am very interested in architecture—especially Art Deco and the “International Style”—and, like most writers, sometimes include my interests in my fiction.

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Haining Waning?

                

Douglas A. Anderson maintains that this Werewolf
anthology (left) contains no story by Guy Endore (right)

Yet another bogus claim by anthologist Peter Haining, as investigated by Douglas A. Anderson on Wormwoodiana.

Anderson says, “I’ve written elsewhere of a few other instances of his outrageous frauds (for one, where he lifted one author’s story from an early Weird Tales and claimed it was by Dorothy Macardle and from an Irish magazine) . . . Now I’ve happened upon yet another example of Haining’s premeditated deceit. I’ve recently been looking closely into the writings of Guy Endore (1900-1970), author of The Werewolf of Paris (1933).

Shelves of Ancient Secrets

Screen print from Unheimliche Geschichten (Eerie Tales), a film made in 1919 by the Richard-Oswald-Produktion Company in Germany

Wormwoodiana presents an article that first appeared in Book-Lore in May 1887, which proves that nothing much changes in the world of book collecting:

Lord Lytton, in that curious and mysterious novel, Zanoni, mentions an old bookseller who, after years of toil, had succeeded in forming an almost perfect library of works on occult philosophy:

” A purchaser was indeed a deadly enemy to the old man, for every proffered coin was scorching hot, a miserable and inadequate exchange for one drop of purple blood… They will gloat over the mysteries of Hermes, and nervously finger the pages of Agrippa, that foul magician whose judgment of himself and all his labours is so eloquently portrayed in his Vanitie of Arts and Sciences. No matter, says the devotee, Agrippa was mistaken; he was afraid of the Inquisition, and recanted.”

The old bookseller was a type, and, as we think, a type only of Lytton’s own creation; perhaps a reflection of the soul of Lytton himself, ever groping through mists of tale and fable, and ever unsatisfied.

The purchaser of works on occult philosophy is usually exceedingly enthusiastic, so much so that he persists in his so called studies, notwithstanding the fact that nine tenths of his books are in Latin, a language of which he knows little or nothing…

His course of reading so far has been confined to the Strange Story, which first riveted his attention on fiends and spectres, and to Barrett’s Magus, which, being in English, and adorned with a number of weird plates, has proved an excellent stimulant to further exertions. The Bible is ransacked, and the Witch of Endor and Simon Magus duly weighed in the balance, while such phrases as “Now the magicians of Egypt they also did in like manner with their enchantments,” roll off the tongue with unctuous volubility. Presently the aspirant to “horrors fell and grim” stumbles across the treatises of Raphael and Sibly, and sighs to think that his ignorance effectually cuts him off from the delightful contemplations of those obscure authors upon whose diatribes their works are founded.