The Seer of Trieste
By Mark Valentine
“The old Austro-Hungarian imperial seaport of Trieste has been home to several literary figures: Anglo-Irish novelist Charles Lever, Victorian explorer, translator and erotologist Sir Richard Burton, James Joyce, who started his masterpiece Ulysses there, the fine bookseller-poet Umberto Saba, and Italo Svevo, the chain-smoking man of business who caught its curious atmosphere so well in his novels. A place apart, at first mercantile and prosperous, but with a history associated with loss, melancholy and the liminal, it also has a strange undercurrent of the shabby-bohemian and semi-magical. An acquaintance with a genteel seer and almanac-maker in the city led me to an unexpected revelation about the prevailing spirit of the place and its influence upon those who wrote there. In quest of this, I encountered scrying youths, a masked ball, a reclusive artist perfecting a new form, and at last a monstrous brooding presence. Here is the full text of a lecture to the Aeolian Club of Lincoln which may merit a place amongst the more astonishing of the accounts it has heard.” – Mark Valentine
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Haunted Histories Series #6
Cover art by Meggan Kehrli