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The Passing of J. Sheridan Le Fanu

The Passing of J. Sheridan Le Fanu

6 February 2016

28 August 1814 – 7 February 1873 18 Merrion Square Dublin Feb. 9th /73. Dear Lord Dufferin, I write a line to tell you of our terrible loss. My darling father died on Friday morning [7 February] at 6 o’Clock. He had almost got over a bad attack of Bronchitis but his strength gave way & he sank very quickly & died in his sleep. His face looks so happy with a beautiful smile on it. We were quite unprepared for the end. My brother Philip & I never left him during his illness & we were hopeful and happy …

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“A Fantastic Shower of Books” by Des Kenny

“A Fantastic Shower of Books” by Des Kenny

14 January 2016

[The following article appeared, extensively shortened, in the November/December 2015 issue of Books Ireland. It appears here in full by kind permission of Des Kenny of Kenny’s Bookshop & Art Gallery in Galway.] He emerged from the stacks of books. It seemed as if he had resided there forever waiting his moment to join the human race again. In his hands were two books, a collection of short stories Ivy Grips the Steps by Elizabeth Bowen, the Anglo-Irish writer from Bowen’s Court, Co. Cork, and a copy of the Bucknell University Press book on the esoteric poet AE, George Russell, …

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“Henry C. Mercer’s Fonthill” by Jonathan Eeds

“Henry C. Mercer’s Fonthill” by Jonathan Eeds

15 December 2015

Over the summer I had the pleasure of visiting Fonthill, the astonishing storybook mansion designed and built by Henry C. Mercer. Fonthill’s eccentric architecture draws thousands of visitors a year, but scant few can claim any knowledge of Mercer’s other extraordinary achievement: a slim volume of strange stories called November Night Tales. I can thank Peter Bell for my literary adventure to Fonthill — a journey of over 3,000 miles from my home in Oregon. I had not heard of Mercer until I read Peter’s article about NNT in Wormwood (issue 22). It was here that Peter extolled the originality …

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Happy Birthday, Mr. Stoker!

Happy Birthday, Mr. Stoker!

8 November 2015

Today is 8 November 2015—Bram Stoker’s 168th birth anniversary. To celebrate both his birthday and the launch of the Bram Stoker Bronze Bust Project, we are selling today only for a special price our Complete Bram Stoker Series. That’s all seven hand-sewn booklets for €30.00. (The booklets normally sell for €10.00 each. You can do the math, I’m sure.) If you’re itching already, you can click here to buy it. Otherwise read on. The Stoker Series was originally published from 2009 to 2011. We launched the series as a means to investigate some of the more obscure but no less …

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Sorry, lads! Dracula’s Not Irish . . .

Sorry, lads! Dracula’s Not Irish . . .

4 October 2015

A few doors down from where I work is a boarding house in which Bram Stoker once lodged for a few months before permanently relocating to London, where he would work for much the rest of his life for the celebrated actor Sir Henry Irving. Other than that, the house is notable as being the only building in Dublin with a plaque on it dedicated to Stoker—and, by the way, some think it might not even be the correct building. But that’s a rant for another day. Anyway, numerous times per day, tour guides passing on buses proclaim from their …

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Lafcadio Hearn’s Insect Literature

Lafcadio Hearn’s Insect Literature

2 October 2015

I’d like to write about our forthcoming book, Lafcadio Hearn’s Insect Literature. Actually, I don’t want to write about Insect Literature so much as I’d like an excuse to tell you how a Swan River Press book gets put together. I’m inordinately proud of this one too, because it has so many meaningful features worked into its design. I’ll just start at the beginning. For a long time Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904) had been on my mental list of Irish authors I’d like to showcase. But I’d always hesitated as much of his work is already widely available and in inexpensive …

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Lafcadio Hearn and Mitchell McDonald

Lafcadio Hearn and Mitchell McDonald

12 September 2015

A reproduction of the following holographic letter was printed at the front of the first edition of Insect Literature (Hokuseido, 1921). It was written by Mitchell McDonald, a paymaster for the United States Navy and also the principal owner of the Grand Hotel in Yokohama. In addition to their close friendship until Hearn’s death in 1904, McDonald also served as the author’s literary executor. Mitchell McDonald perished in the Great Kanto Earthquake in September 1923. The letter is addressed to R. Tanabe, T. Ochiai, and M. Otani, commending their efforts on the bilingual “Hearn Memorial Translations” series, of which Insect …

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The Green Book 6

The Green Book 6

1 September 2015

THE GREEN BOOK: Writings on Irish Gothic, Supernatural and Fantastic Literature

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The Anniversary of Never by Joel Lane

The Anniversary of Never by Joel Lane

26 July 2015

At a certain point while writing the jacket copy for Joel Lane’s The Anniversary of Never, it seemed inevitable that the phrase “posthumous collection” had to be used. A few versions of the text went back and forth between myself and Nicholas Royle (Nick also wrote the introduction), and nothing else sounded quite right. The Anniversary of Never is a posthumous collection. Needless to say, the publication of this volume suffered one major setback—the sudden loss of its author. But despite this loss, the book, to me, doesn’t feel posthumous at all. I suppose I should start with the book’s …

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An Interview with Stephen J. Clark

An Interview with Stephen J. Clark

21 June 2015

“I’m not interested in viewing Spare as a demigod as some do, but as a fascinating human being who turned his back on an elitist art world to follow his own path.”

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Thoughts on Le Fanu’s “The Cock and Anchor” by Peter McClean

Thoughts on Le Fanu’s “The Cock and Anchor” by Peter McClean

31 May 2015

I did not know what to expect when I started reading this novel, but what I found delighted and intrigued me. It proved to be one of those books that I did not like to put down and found myself making time to return to.

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Irish Writers of the Fantastic

Irish Writers of the Fantastic

22 May 2015

On St. Patrick’s Day I decided to spend my time not drinking Guinness, but instead promoting Irish Writers of the Fantastic on both Twitter and Facebook. While I’m not convinced there is a “tradition” of Irish fantastic literature—that is to say a relatively unbroken chain of influence from one writer to the next—Ireland has consistently produced authors whose works have proved to be singular contributions of international importance. Unfortunately, some of these authors are given short shrift in Ireland—even those authors otherwise widely recognised abroad. Here is the list that I compiled. It is by no means complete or definitive …

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