“Editor’s Note” – Brian J. Showers
“The Embodiment of Sinister Agencies: Le Fanu and the Ghost of a Hand” – Terri Neil
“Hybrids and Hyphenates: H. P. Lovecraft and the Irish” – Rob Brown
“Some Notes on Le Fanu’s Beatrice” – Philip A. Ellis and Jim Rockhill
“Towards an Irish Gothic: Part Three” – Albert Power
“Shepherding Le Fanu: Herbert van Thal and the Invisible Prince” – J. A. Mains
Lesley Megahey’s Schalcken the Painter – Jim Rockhill
Scarecrow Press’s Two Volumes of Lord Dunsany Essays – Martin Andersson
Catherine Wynne’s Bram Stoker, Dracula and the Victorian Gothic Stage – David J. Skal
Big Telly Theatre Company’s Melmoth the Wanderer – Philip Orr
Bernice M. Murphy’s Rural Gothic – Emily Bourke
Lynda E. Rucker’s The Moon Will Look Strange – Maura McHugh
John Boyne’s This House is Haunted – Dan Studer
“Notes on Contributors”
Editor’s Note #3
As many of you already know, 2014 is an important year for Gothic literature. This coming August marks the 200th birth anniversary of Dublin’s “Invisible Prince”, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. While today hardly recognised in his native country of Ireland, his influence has spread around the globe, not only for his sensational Gothic page-turners, but also for his indelible contributions to the genres of the classic ghost story and modern crime novel. Would there even be Dracula without “Carmilla”?
In addition to Le Fanu’s bicentenary, this year also marks the 150th anniversary of Uncle Silas. Perhaps Le Fanu’s best known novel, Uncle Silas was serialised (under its original title “Maud Ruthyn”) in the Dublin University Magazine from July-December 1864. The three-decker novel was then promptly issued in late December by Richard Bentley. Now is the perfect time to revisit the sinister rooms and gloomy passages of Bartram-Haugh. I know what I’ll be re-reading this autumn . . .
I don’t remember when I first discovered Le Fanu’s supernatural tales, but it was almost certainly in some old horror anthology with a now long forgotten title. I do, however, remember reading Dover’s Best Ghost Stories of J. S. Le Fanu (1964) as a young student in southern Wisconsin. I know many of us first encountered the author in this excellent collection edited and introduced by E. F. Bleiler—a man who did much to make Le Fanu’s stories more widely available in an inexpensive edition.
This third issue of The Green Book, in celebration of this important year, features a number of essays focusing on Le Fanu and his work: Terri Neil looks at “The Ghost of a Hand”, which S. M. Ellis called “the most terrifying ghost story in the language”; Philip A. Ellisand Jim Rockhill comment on Le Fanu’s overlooked verse-drama Beatrice; while J. A. Mains highlights the importance of Herbert van Thal’s editorial contributions to Le Fanu’s legacy. We also have a fine essay on Lovecraft’s perceptions of Ireland and the Irish by Rob Brown, and of course Albert Power’s third instalment of “Towards an Irish Gothic”.
Certainly the cover of this issue owes something to Le Fanu too, and if a diabolical simian doesn’t leap immediately from the steam to plague your inner eye, go find yourself a copy of “Green Tea”. But Jason Zerrillo’s artwork is no mere homage to one of Le Fanu’s most bleakly startling stories. What we have here on the cover is a photograph of Le Fanu’s actual tea cup from which he drank his own strongly brewed elixirs. With its little rooster design depicted on the side it looks innocent enough, doesn’t it? It speaks more of the merciful dawn than of the solitary hours after midnight. A special thank you must go to Nicola LeFanu and David Lumsdaine for providing me with this photograph and allowing its use.
And now, far removed from my native plains of Wisconsin, I am again enjoying the master storyteller, allowing him to chill my thoughts. But thankfully the sun is out now, and when I’ve finished here, I think I’ll stroll over to Mount Jerome to pay dear, old Joe a visit.
Brian J. Showers
7 February 2014
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 3 (Bealtaine 2014) edited by Brian J. Showers. Cover art by Jason Zerrillo (“Green Tea”); 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 24 April 2014; limited to 350 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