Saturday 8 February 2020

Book Review: In a Glass Darkly by Sheridan Le Fanu (Classics)

Title: In a Glass Darkly
Author: Sheridan Le Fanu
Oxford World Classics

Publication Date: 2008 (1872)
Xmas Gift


This remarkable collection of stories, first published in 1872, includes Green Tea, The Familiar, Mr. Justice Harbottle, The Room in the Dragon Volant, and Carmilla. The five stories are purported to be cases by Dr. Hesselius, a 'metaphysical' doctor, who is willing to consider the ghosts both as real and as hallucinatory obsessions. The reader's doubtful anxiety mimics that of the protagonist, and each story thus creates that atmosphere of mystery which is the supernatural experience. This new annotated edition includes an introduction, notes on the text, and explanatory notes.

I had read 'Camilla' before, but the other four tales in In a Glass Darkly were new to me, and I enjoyed them all. Though by no means scary by modern standards, these are atmospheric, spooky tales of supernatural occurrences, with a strong Gothic tinge. I found them compelling, and they are certainly perfect reading for a dark night.

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