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The Green Book 8


Looking at this issue’s eclectic contents, I am struck by the richness of Ireland’s varied contributions to genre literature. Though a small island nation, we don’t exist in a hermetically sealed literary bubble. It’s an obvious thing to say, really, but Irish literature has such a strong sense of itself that I sometimes have to remind myself of its kinship with the rest of the literary world.

During one of my expeditions to the National Library, I happened upon a contemporary review of E.R. Eddison’s novel The Worm Ouroboros (1922) written by James Stephens, author of the classic fantasy novel The Crock of Gold. I was thrilled at the idea — though maybe I should not have been surprised — that Stephens was reading other genre writers of the era. We also know he was an admirer of Arthur Machen, but what else had he read? So for this issue I decided to include Stephens’s review of Ouroboros as a reminder of the interconnections between genre fictions (and their writers).

I also learned earlier this year that A.E. was an admirer of Algernon Blackwood’s mystical novel The Centaur (1911). I’d always suspected A.E. would find kinship with Blackwood’s more metaphysically themed writing, and I was pleased to discover this intuition was correct. With that in mind, I thought I would also include in this issue another rarity: A.E.’s “The Sunset of Fantasy” — a tantalising fragment if ever there was one — of what might have become the mystic's memoir, certainly another spiritual exploration. Remember too: April 2017 will be the 150th birth anniversary of A.E. With any luck there will be a small revival of interest in his work.

We also have in this issue David B. Lurie’s excellent essay on the Japanese insect literature of Lafcadio Hearn, and Carol A. Senf’s examination of Bram Stoker’s lesser known works, including my personal favourite The Snake’s Pass.

And for those who wish to delve a little deeper into Irish supernatural and occult literature, we’ve got Terri Neil’s short article on early nineteenth-century writer Henry Ferris, with an accompanyting bibliography. Ferris is one of those authors who, like Flann O’Brien, possesses a slippery identity. While Ferris’s contributions to genre fiction might not be as substantial or influential as his contemporary J.S. Le Fanu, they are worth exploring nevertheless.

This issue might at first seem random in its selection of writers covered, but I’d like to think that if we dig deeply enough, we’ll discover even more illuminating connections between them. Which is what The Green Book is all about anyway.

Brian J. Showers
Madison, Wisconsin
Late 2016

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"Editor's Note"
    Brian J. Showers

"Orientomology — The Insect Literature of Lafcadio Hearn"
    David B. Lurie

"The Worm Ouroborus — A Review"
    James Stephens

"The Sunset of Fantasy — A Fragment of an Unpublished Book"

"Henry Ferris — A Bibliography"
    Terri Neil

"The Snake’s Pass and Lady Athlyne —
Bram Stoker’s Hymns to a Healthy and Robust Future for Ireland"
    Carol Senf

    Claudio Di Vaio's Unburying the Past (Jarlath Kileen)
    Derek John's The Felicity of Epigones (Rob Brown)
    John Kenny's Decade 1 (John Howard)
    Peadar O Guilin's The Call (Lynda E. Rucker)

"Notes on Contributors"

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