by J. Sheridan Le Fanu
Edited, with an Introduction, by Jim Rockhill
Dust jacket by Douglas Walters
Limited Edition Hardcover - $40.00
Fine in fine dj; new and unread, direct from the publisher
Ash-Tree Press, 2003; 196 pp; limited to 650 copies
'He stands absolutely in the first rank as a writer of ghost stories. That is my deliberate verdict, after reading all the supernatural tales I have been able to get hold of. Nobody sets the scene better than he, nobody touches in the effective detail more deftly.'
Thus wrote one master of the supernatural story—M. R. James—about another: Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (1814–73). James's comments came in the introduction to a volume of forgotten Le Fanu tales, Madam Crowl's Ghost, which James edited, and which saw print exactly fifty years after Le Fanu's death. During that half-century, Le Fanu's popularity had slowly but surely diminished, and in the 1920s he was largely known only as the author of the popular novel Uncle Silas. Thanks to James, his supernatural tales underwent a revival, and modern readers can now appreciate how crucial a role Le Fanu played in the development of the ghost story, liberating it from its Gothic trappings and introducing a more psychological realistic aspect, which would be further developed by twentieth century writers.
Over a period of some thirty-five years, he produced some of the best—and most influential—weird tales ever written. In this series of three volumes, collecting together all of Le Fanu's short supernatural fiction, editor Jim Rockhill has arranged the stories in chronological order, so that the author's growing skills as a storyteller can readily be seen.
The Haunted Baronet and Others covers the period between 1861 and 1870, when Le Fanu—devastated by the death of his wife Susan three years earlier—retreated to the sanctuary of his home in Dublin, rarely thereafter appearing in public: a way of life which caused him to be dubbed 'The Invisible Prince' by Dublin society. He was by no means a recluse—he remained deeply devoted to his four children and close family friends—but his isolation resulted in a string of long, complex novels and a body of supernatural fiction remarkable in its atmosphere, intensity, and dark implication. Among the tales from these years are such classic ghost stories as 'Squire Toby's Will' and 'Green Tea', as well as the title story, a short novel which is the author's most elaborate exploration of the conjunction between the natural and the spiritual worlds.
Introduction by Jim Rockhill: 'A Mind Turned In Upon Itself: The Life & Supernatural Fiction of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu from 1861–70
Ghost Stories of the Tiled House
Borrhomeo the Astrologer
An Authentic Narrative of a Haunted House
Wicked Captain Walshawe, of Wauling
Squire Toby's Will
The Haunted Baronet
An Afterword Concerning the Text to 'Ghost Stories of the Tiled House'