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The Green Book 9
“Ghosts draw us together: one might leave it at that.” – Elizabeth Bowen
Twenty-five years after Lady Cynthia Asquith edited her classic anthology The Ghost Book (1926), she followed it up with The Second Ghost Book, a decidedly more modern grouping of uncanny tales written by some of the most eminent authors of the era: Walter de la Mare, V.S. Pritchett, and Rose Macaulay among others. For this second anthology Asquith also approached her close friend and one-time London neighbour Elizabeth Bowen, not just for a story — the now much-anthologised “Hand in Glove” — but Asquith also requested that she write the introduction as well. Bowen obliged.
By the time The Second Ghost Book was published in 1952, Bowen was already an established novelist, rightly lauded for titles such as The Last September (1929) and The Heat of the Day (1948); both books being weighty explorations of relationships set against the background of war and conflict. Nonetheless, Bowen’s decision to make a contribution to and pen the introduction for a popular ghost story anthology is unsurprising. Her earliest collections are littered with treatments of the uncanny, perhaps culminating with the superb collection, The Demon Lover and Other Stories (1945). And so this issue opens with Bowen’s still insightful introduction to The Second Ghost Book — a treatise on a literary form that she no doubt took as seriously as any other.
Similar to Bowen, two other authors discussed in this issue primarily wrote for mainstream audiences: Rosa Mulholland and Charlotte Riddell. And yet the supernatural crept into their stories in no small way to the extent that, when they are read today, it is usually for their spectral offerings. Likewise, Dorothy Macardle is now remembered for The Irish Republic (1937) — a lengthy treatise on Ireland’s War of Independence and subsequent Civil War. But she also held a lifelong fascination for psychic phenomena, as did many of her generation. This interest crept not only into her novels and short stories, including her first collection Earth-Bound (1924), but also into the hitherto unpublished radio broadcast, “The Boys’ Room”, written in the last decade of her life, which we’re proud to present in this issue.
Also in this issue you’ll find a survey of Caitlín R. Kiernan’s fiction influenced by Irish supernatural literature and folklore. Like Bowen, Kiernan works in the tradition of the modern uncanny tale, adapting themes for today’s concerns as Bowen had for the “changing world conditions” of her own era.
Finally, I would like to dedicate this issue to the memory of Richard Dalby (1949-2017). Richard’s enthusiasm and support for this journal were evident even before the first issue. I will miss his scholarship, advice, and passion.
Brian J. Showers
21 July 2017
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Brian J. Showers
"Introduction to The Second Ghost Book"
"Mistress of the Macabre: Rosa Mulholland"
"Hauntings and Haunted: Charlotte Riddell’s Weird Stories"
"A Chronology of Mrs. Riddell’s Spectral Fiction"
"Introduction to 'The Boys' Room' "
"The Boys' Room"
"The Call of the Sí: Irish Supernatural Literature and Folklore
in the Fiction of Caitlín R. Kiernan"
"Uncanny Irish-American Relations: Elizabeth Bowen and Shirley Jackson"
Edwina Keown and Bernice M. Murphy
"The Big House"
R.B. Kelly's Edge of Heaven (John Howard)
The Stinging Fly 35 (Jim Rockhill)
Caroline Barry's The Dolocher (Maria Giakaniki)
Big Telly Theatre Company's The Faerie Thorn (Reggie Chamberlain-King)
Elizabeth McCarthy and Bernice M. Murphy's Lost Souls of Horror and the Gothic (Stefan Dziemanowicz)
"Notes on Contributors"
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