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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 2020-03-24 15:51
Carmilla - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu


Carmilla pre-dates Bram Stoker's Dracula by 26 years, but has some similar themes. It is the story of a young woman, Laura, who comes under the influence of a female vampire, who first comes to her when she is a child, comforting her in her bed.


The narrative has the same sort of melancholy moodiness and intimacy that has become familiar to Dracula movie watchers, but I think better expressed in the prose of this story. The developing relationship between Carmilla and Laura crosses lines of intimacy at times and was probably ahead of its time, expressing a form of love that confuses Laura at times. Her friend Carmilla often drifts off into a sort of dreamy quality, sometimes worrying those who care for her because some sort of epidemic seems to be spreading, where young women weaken slowly and eventually die.


Blood often features in Laura's dreams about Carmilla and somehow she and her family don't question that their guest never comes down from her room until late in the afternoon.


I found it a very atmospheric read, though some points were a little difficult to suspend disbelief. Carmilla often deviates from normal behaviour for young women of her time, yet no one questions or demands anything of her.


As classic vampire fiction goes, I'm amazed that I never heard of the story before now. It's not the most action packed story I've ever read, but I think essential reading for fans of the genre.

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text 2019-08-12 13:45
Halloween Bingo Pre-Party: The Classics
The Hound of the Baskervilles - Arthur Conan Doyle
Murder on the Orient Express - Agatha Christie
Terrifying Tales: Tell Tale Heart; The Cask of the Amontillado; The Masque of the Red Death; The Fall of the House of Usher; The Purloined Letter; The Pit and the Pendulum - Edgar Allan Poe
The Hollow Man - John Dickson Carr
The Mysterious Affair at Styles - Agatha Christie
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley,Maurice Hindle
Dracula - Bram Stoker
Rosemary's Baby - Ira Levin
Carmilla - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
The Great God Pan - Arthur Machen

So here are my Classic Crime books:


The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sherlock Holmes #5) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. 

The death, quite suddenly, of Sir Charles Baskerville in mysterious circumstances is the trigger for one of the most extraordinary cases ever to challenge the brilliant analytical mind of Sherlock Holmes. As rumours of a legendary hound said to haunt the Baskerville family circulate, Holmes and Watson are asked to ensure the protection of Sir Charles' only heir, Sir Henry - who has travelled all the way from America to reside at Baskerville Hall in Devon. And it is there, in an isolated mansion surrounded by mile after mile of wild moor, that Holmes and Watson come face to face with a terrifying evil that reaches out from centuries past . . .


Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poriot #10) by Agatha Christie. 

What more can a mystery addict desire than a much-loathed murder victim found aboard the luxurious Orient Express with multiple stab wounds, thirteen likely suspects, an incomparably brilliant detective in Hercule Poirot, and the most ingenious crime ever conceived?


The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe.

A murderer is convinced that the loud beating of his victim's heart will give him away to the police.


The Hollow Man by John Dickson Carr. 

Professor Charles Grimaud was explaining to some friends the natural causes behind an ancient superstition about men leaving their coffins when a stranger entered and challenged Grimaud's skepticism. The stranger asserted that he had risen from his own coffin and that four walls meant nothing to him. He added, 'My brother can do more... he wants your life and will call on you!' The brother came during a snowstorm, walked through the locked front door, shot Grimaud and vanished. The tragedy brought Dr Gideon Fell into the bizarre mystery of a killer who left no footprints.


The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot #1) by Agatha Christie.

Who poisoned the wealthy Emily Inglethorpe, and how did the murderer penetrate and escape from her locked bedroom? Suspects abound in the quaint village of Styles St. Mary--from the heiress's fawning new husband to her two stepsons, her volatile housekeeper, and a pretty nurse who works in a hospital dispensary. Making his unforgettable debut, the brilliant Belgian detective Hercule Poirot is on the case.


Here are my Classic Horror books:


Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. (Blue's comment-I couldn't finish this). 

rankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature's hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.


Dracula by Bram Stoker.

When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula purchase a London house, he makes horrifying discoveries in his client's castle. Soon afterwards, disturbing incidents unfold in England: a ship runs aground on the shores of Whitby, its crew vanished; beautiful Lucy Westenra slowly succumbs to a mysterious, wasting illness, her blood drained away; and the lunatic Renfield raves about the imminent arrival of his 'master'. In the ensuing battle of wills between the sinister Count and a determined group of adversaries - led by the intrepid vampire hunter Abraham van Helsing - Bram Stoker created a masterpiece of the horror genre, probing into questions of identity, sanity and the dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire.


Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin.

Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse, an ordinary young couple, settle into a New York City apartment, unaware that the elderly neighbors and their bizarre group of friends have taken a disturbing interest in them. But by the time Rosemary discovers the horrifying truth, it may be far too late!


Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu.

A classic Victorian vampire novella, which influenced Bram Stoker's later treatment of the vampire mythos in Dracula.


The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen. 

The Great God Pan" is a novella written by Arthur Machen. A version of the story was published in the magazine Whirlwind in 1890, and Machen revised and extended it for its book publication (together with another story, "The Inmost Light") in 1894. On publication it was widely denounced by the press as degenerate and horrific because of its decadent style and sexual content, although it has since garnered a reputation as a classic of horror. Machen’s story was only one of many at the time to focus on Pan as a useful symbol for the power of nature and paganism. The title was taken from the poem "A Musical Instrument" published in 1862 by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, in which the first line of every stanza ends "... the great god Pan.


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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 2019-08-11 19:15
Halloween Bingo Pre-Party: Favorite Horror Reads
Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury
We Have Always Lived in the Castle - Shirley Jackson
The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson,Laura Miller
The Little Stranger - Sarah Waters
Uncle Silas - Victor Sage,Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
Dracula - Bram Stoker
Flowers in the Attic - V.C. Andrews
Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier,Sally Beauman
The Monstrumologist - Rick Yancey

I am reposting my "10 Essential Horror Books (by a non-horror reader)" post for this prompt! My knowledge of horror fiction is quite limited, and what little horror I read, I read in September & October.


I do not read horror because I am a chicken, so while all of these books are "horror," they are not gory horror, or really, even, that scary. Most of them are more in the vein of "psychological horror," which might mean "horror for wusses," I don't know. Anyway, here we go:


1. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. I read this book almost every October at some time during Halloween bingo, that's how much I love it. Bradbury's language is so evocatively gorgeous that I can almost taste it. 


2. & 3. are both by Shirley Jackson: We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Haunting of Hill House. There's just something about Shirley, you guys. She, like Hill House, is just a bit off - the floors slant and the doors don't close quite right, and she gets right to the heart of the stuff that scares the shit out of me.


4. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters: is it a ghost story or isn't it a ghost story? Is the house haunted or isn't the house haunted? Is the narrator reliable or isn't the narrator reliable. Who the hell knows?


5. Uncle Silas by Sheridan LeFanu: as I said in my review, this book is a heaping platterful of Victorian whatthefuckery. It's awesome.


6. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood: what, you say, that's not horror? The fuck it isn't people. A dystopia built around legalized rape and coerced gestation? It's either horror or it's America. 


7. Dracula by Bram Stoker: trite, I know. But this book is amazing, and should always be experienced by listening to the full cast audiobook. It will change your perception completely.


8. Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews: I read this book when I was an impressionable adolescent and am still creeped out by it. Totally fucked up.


9. The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey: "Snap to, Will Henry." This is YA horror, and is gross, terrifying and enthralling. Seriously, I love this book. The rest of the series is pretty good, too, but this book stands alone in awesomeness. 


10. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier: I know that people think that this book is a romance, but (like in the case of Wuthering Heights) they are WRONG. This book is horror. It's a gorgeously written, utterly engrossing, tale of a woman who is gaslighted by household staff after accidentally marrying a rich man - with a great house - who murdered his wife. I could also put this under the category of suspense, and maybe I will. 


I know, this list of essential horror is sadly lacking in *real* horror authors, like Stephen King. But he's way too scary for me! 

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