Contents “Editor’s Note” – Brian J. Showers
“Who Marvels at the Mysteries of the Moon: George Croly’s Salathiel” – Albert Power
“Sketch of Fitz-James O’Brien” – William Winter
“Le Fanu and Maturin: Two Reminiscences” – Samuel Carter Hall
“About Ghosts” – Rosa Mulholland
“How I Found Adventure” – Beatrice Grimshaw
“A Biographical Sketch of Mrs. L. T. Meade” – Helen C. Black
“Sweet Singer from Over the Sea” – A Chat with Katharine Tynan
“A Chat with Mrs. J. H. Riddell” – Raymond Blathwayt
“Extracts from Confessions: Memoirs of a Modern Seer” – Cheiro
“They Say It Happened” – Dorothy Macardle
“Ghost Story of a Novelist” – Katharine Tynan
“Witchcraft and the Origins of The Unfortunate Fursey” – Mervyn Wall
“Notes on Contributors”
Editor’s Note #14
We encounter and enjoy authors mostly through their writing, forgetting sometimes that there are personalities behind their words, some astonishingly well-known in their time, often now relegated to small press rediscoveries. With sufficient spans of years, these authors and their personalities pass out of memory, becoming less familiar to us as people and more so as names on title pages. But it is important to remember that these authors lived and worked, had careers and relationships; some of them died while relatively unknown, others were widely celebrated for their creations. With this in mind, I’ve decided to focus the current issue on reminiscences, interviews, and memoirs in hopes of summoning the shades of these writers and to show that in some ways their lives were not always so different from our own.
To that end, you will find a number of texts I have been collecting these past few years, now nestled here comfortably beside one another. Each one, I hope, will give you some insight into the lives of these authors, who they were, and a past that is not necessarily so far distant.
There are first-hand accounts by authors with whom I hope you are now familiar. Rosa Mulholland, Cheiro, and Dorothy Macardle all relate anecdotes of their own experiences with the psychical and supernatural. Elsewhere in this issue, you can spend an entertaining evening with Mervyn Wall. In this talk, given to the Bram Stoker Society in 1987, he delves into witchcraft and details the origins of his best-loved novel, The Unfortunate Fursey (1946).
We have a few interviews—“chats”—with those who worked as professionals, and whose names were familiar to the broader public on a weekly basis, as their stories were published and novels serialised in magazines of the day. Among these sketches you’ll be invited to spend agreeable afternoons with L. T. Meade, Charlotte Riddell, and Katharine Tynan. While they may not discuss strictly ghastly material, I hope these interviews bring us that much closer to authors whose works still find admiration of a modern readership.
You’ll also find some brief memoirs, including litterateur William Winter’s reminiscence of his fallen comrade Fitz-James O’Brien, who died in the American Civil War; and Samuel Carter Hall, who conjures two of Dublin’s gothic greats: Charles Maturin and Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu—perhaps reminding us that these authors existed in a wider social world.
However, the issue commences with Albert Power’s appraisal of George Croly’s Salathiel (1828), a novel which Stoker biographer Paul Murray posited as an influence on the composition of Dracula. Although, a tale of the Wandering Jew, Salathiel might have more in common thematically with Charles Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer, than Bram Stoker’s more famous book. Power aptly leads us through the life of Reverend Croly and how his book fits into the literary milieu of the dark fantastic.
If you would like to read more about some of these writers among these pages, you’ll find lengthier profiles in earlier issues of The Green Book. In Issue 9: Rosa Mulholland; Issue 12: Mervyn Wall; Issue 13: Cheiro and Beatrice Grimshaw. While this issue and the next will serve as an intermission in our Guide to Irish Writers of Gothic, Supernatural, and Fantastic Fiction, fear not—we will return with more entries in future instalments.
Brian J. Showers
15 April 2020
Brian J. Showers
Brian J. Showers is originally from Madison, Wisconsin. He has written short stories, articles, and reviews for magazines such as Rue Morgue, Ghosts & Scholars, and Supernatural Tales. His short story collection, The Bleeding Horse, won the Children of the Night Award in 2008. He is also the author of Literary Walking Tours of Gothic Dublin (2006), the co-editor of Reflections in a Glass Darkly: Essays on J. Sheridan Le Fanu (2011), and the editor of The Green Book. Showers also edited four volumes of Uncertainties anthology series, and co-edited with Jim Rockhill, the Ghost Story Award-winning anthology Dreams of Shadow and Smoke. He lives in Dublin, Ireland.
The Green Book 14 (Samhain 2019) edited by Brian J. Showers. Cover art by Stephen J. Clark (“Saturnine”); cover design by Meggan Kehrli; editor’s note by Brian J. Showers; copyedited by Jim Rockhill; typeset by Ken Mackenzie; published by Swan River Press.
Paperback: Published on 2 June 2020; limited to 250 copies; 108 pages; digitally printed on 80 gsm paper; ISSN: 2009-6089.
About The Green Book
Aimed at a general readership and published twice-yearly, The Green Book is Swan River Press’s house journal that features commentaries, articles, and reviews on Irish Gothic, Supernatural and Fantastic literature.
Certainly favourites such as Bram Stoker and John Connolly will come to mind, but hopefully The Green Book also will serve as a pathway to Ireland’s other notable fantasists: like Fitz-James O’Brien, Charlotte Riddell, Lafcadio Hearn, William Allingham, J. Sheridan Le Fanu, Cheiro, Harry Clarke, Dorothy Macardle, Lord Dunsany, Elizabeth Bowen, C. S. Lewis, Mervyn Wall, Conor McPherson . . . and this list is by no means exhaustive.
It should be noted that the word “Irish” in the journal’s title should be understood as inclusive rather than exclusive. The Green Book will also feature essays on Irish themes—even if by non-Irish authors. We hope that you will find something of interest here, for there is much to explore.
The Green Book is open for submissions.
Praise for The Green Book
“A welcome addition to the realm of accessible nonfiction about supernatural horror.” – Ellen Datlow
“Serious aficionados of the weird should also consider subscribing to The Green Book.” – Michael Dirda
“An exceptionally well-produced periodical.” – S. T. Joshi
“[A] wonderful exploration of a weird little corner of literature, and a great example of how careful editing can make even the most obscure subject fascinating and entertaining beyond all expectations.” – The Agony Column
“Eminently readable . . . [an] engaging little journal that treads the path between accessibility and academic depth with real panache.” – Black Static
“The overall feel here is not of fusty excavation in a small corner of the literary world, but of exploration on a broad front that continues to unearth intriguing finds.” – Supernatural Tales