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review 2021-05-01 11:01
In a Glass Darkly by J. Sheridan Le Fanu
In a Glass Darkly - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu,Paul M. Chapman

TITLE: In a Glass Darkly


AUTHOR: J. Sheridan Le Fanu





This remarkable collection of stories, first published in 1872, includes Green Tea, The Familiar, Mr. Justice Harbottle, The Room in le 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.





Rating: 3.5

In a Glass Darkly is a collection of 5 possibly "paranormal" or mystery stories, first published in 1872, includes Green Tea, The Familiar, Mr. Justice Harbottle, The Room in le 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.

Green Tea, The Familiar and Mr. Justice Harbottle all involve hauntings of some kind - demonic monkey or otherwise. These three short stories weren't particularly memorable. The Room in le Dragon Volant is not so much a ghost story as a gothic historical mystery novella with a mysterious lady in distress, a mysterious and jealous count, conspiracies and just plain weirdness. This was the best story in the collection. Carmilla is the story of the famous lesbian vampire written 25 years before Bram Stoker's Dracula.

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review 2020-06-09 16:06
Within the Glass Darkly
Within the Glass Darkly - William Gareth Evans

by William Gareth Evans


The writing in this one shows a little amateurish sentence structure and I've caught at least one missed word and the occasional typo, but the story is engaging and the editing otherwise fairly good. It's a vampire story, but not the romantic kind. It's more what I expect from the Horror section. If anything, it gets a little more gratuitous on the violence than I would say is really necessary.

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text 2019-08-11 22:05
Halloween Bingo Preparty - Horror Reads
Uncle Silas - Victor Sage,Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
In a Glass Darkly - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
2666 - Natasha Wimmer,Roberto Bolaño
The Five Jars - M.R. James The Five Jars - M.R. James
Watership Down - Richard Adams

1. Out of the Night #5 - which there isn't a cover for.  It's one of those horror comic books from the 1950s.  


2. Uncle Silas and A Glass Darkly - if you haven't read Le Fanu, you haven't read horror, and Uncle Silas is just that hook filled book.


3. 2666 - not strictly horror, but I was reading this book and when I came home late, I was frightened when walking the half block from the trolley stop to my house, so that has to count for something.


4. M R James - he makes jars scary.


5. Watership Down - not horror I know, but you get to that chapter about the black rabbit of death and the rabbit poker game when you're like seven, and you sleep with the lights on.


I may I also suggest 50 Shades of Grey which I don't like but it is truly frightening when you read this and wonder why so many people think it is good.

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text 2019-04-12 00:39
Next Up!
Going Wrong - Ruth Rendell
Spotlight - Patricia Wentworth
An Artless Demise - Anna Lee Huber
The Case of the Running Mouse (A Ludovic Travers Mystery) - Christopher Bush
Through a Glass, Darkly - Helen McCloy

I will have to take a break for the Indigo buddy read next week, but for now, these are next up on my metaphorical reading pile.

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review 2018-01-16 20:46
Dark Mirror
In a Glass Darkly - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

This was the Goodreads Classic Horror Lovers Tales to Chill Your Blood group read in October 2017. I listened to it on Kindle. This volume contains five stories: "Green Tea" "The Familiar" "Mr. Justice Harbottle" "The Room in the Dragon Volant" "Carmilla" I will go through and discuss each story separately.


"Green Tea"--I have read this story before. It's interesting, although the way it's written is a bit on the dry side. It's told with detachment, which I suppose makes sense as it's told through letters written by Dr. Martin Hesselius, a paranormal investigator. The interesting component was the concept of green tea as a substance that can cause a person's third eye to open and to allow them to see into the spirit world. The unfortunate clergyman who is the focus of the story is able to see a monkey that continues to haunt him until it drives him crazy. It could have been more suspenseful, honestly. 3 stars "The Familiar"--A psychological horror story about a man who is being haunted by a figure from his past as a sea captain. Another use of the trope of a person being driven mad by his perception of something no one else can see. I was not particularly impressed by this story. 2.5 stars "Mr. Justice Harbottle"--a story about a judge who is haunted by the spirits of those he wrongly condemned to death. Nice build of suspense. I think the writing is much better in this story than "Green Tea" and "The Familiar". Ironically, I read the original version of this story, "An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street" (1853) out of another ghost story volume I was reading in October. I like that it deals with the concept of spiritual consequences for the wrong that one does, even when the person seems to be powerful in this life. The judge was not just a corrupt official, but he was also a degenerate who treated those around him poorly. 4 stars "The Room in the Dragon Volant"--This is more of a suspense story. It reminds me of something Robert Louis Stevenson might have wrote. It's one of the longer stories in the volume, with some involved storytelling. It's not a ghost or horror story, although there initially appears to be supernatural elements. Lots of nice twists in the story that did impress me. 4 stars "Carmilla"--Another reread for me. A very famous novella about a female vampire with some very obvious homoerotic overtones. Carmilla chooses exclusively female victims and uses her allure to develop their attraction to her. Carmilla is a create of simultaneous seductiveness and repulsion to her newest victim, Laura. Readers can plot this story out and see over time that there is something very wrong about Carmilla. The story builds to an exciting climax as Laura's father and other concerned parties work to deal with the evil vampire. This is old school vampire horror. Carmilla is the bad guy. Readers who enjoy the romantic angle cannot escape the fact that Carmilla is a sexual predator who is endangering the life of Laura. This was written during the Victorian age, in which sexual values were highly pruritanical, so it couldn't have been written any other way without national outrage. However, it was a night springboard for plenty of later vampire stories that focused more of the erotic aspects and less on the evil monster component. First time I read this, I found the flowery descriptions tedious. I enjoyed this a lot more this time around, maybe because I listened to the narration. 4 stars. Overall, I would give this 3.5 stars, which is an average of my individual ratings. Le Fanu is a good writer, but his style isn't my personal favorite. He's not the most active writer and I don't find his writing particularly scary (other than a couple of moments in Carmilla). However, he has some interesting ideas and concepts and his storytelling has been influential to the genre of classic horror.

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