The Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson

Extract from new post for the Wordsworth Editions Blog… What would Christmas be without a good ghost story? Tales of haunted houses, vengeful revenants, and, for the more delicate constitution, spiritual redemption, are as much a part of the Christmas ritual as Midnight Mass, the Queen’s speech, presents, carols, and the occasional small sherry. And whether one… Continue reading The Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson

The Phantom of the Opera: The Last Gothic Novel

Extract from new post for the Wordsworth Editions Blog… Now in the thirty-fifth year of its theatrical run on both sides of the Atlantic and showing no sign of stopping, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera has completely assimilated Gaston Leroux’s original character. Official accounts of the musical’s creation therefore downplay the cultural significance of… Continue reading The Phantom of the Opera: The Last Gothic Novel

J.S Le Fanu & The Golden Age of the Ghost Story

Extract from new post for the Wordsworth Editions Blog… As the nights grow longer and colder and we move inexorably towards Halloween, the readerly mind turns naturally towards the ghost story. And while pumpkins are carved and displayed as an invitation to trick-or-treaters, let us not forget that their original purpose was to ward off the evil… Continue reading J.S Le Fanu & The Golden Age of the Ghost Story

The Time Machine

Extract from new post for the Wordsworth Editions Blog… There’s an elegant simplicity to the structure of The Time Machine, developed perfectly in a mere 35,000 words; like several of Wells’ iconic ‘scientific romances’, it is more novella than novel. In a tight framing narrative, an old friend of an unnamed, 40-year-old inventor referred to only as… Continue reading The Time Machine

The Island of Dr Moreau

New post for the Wordsworth Editions Blog… Although Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859) sent shockwaves through the Victorian scientific and religious establishments (until then unproblematically linked), the book’s conclusion is remarkably optimistic: …from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production… Continue reading The Island of Dr Moreau

Candide

New post for the Wordsworth Editions Blog… When Voltaire’s Candide, ou l'Optimisme was (pseudonymously) published in February 1759, it was simultaneously released in the three great publishing centers of Continental Europe: Geneva, Amsterdam, and Paris. This was in part to shift as many copies as possible before it was pirated, but mostly to make it difficult for the… Continue reading Candide

Vanity Fair

New post for the Wordsworth Editions Blog… Sometime between 1845 and 1846, the literary journalist William Makepeace Thackeray (1811–1863) drafted a few short pieces entitled Pen and Pencil Sketches of English Society (illustrated by himself), which he hoped would constitute the opening chapters of an as yet unspecified longer work. ‘The truth forces itself upon me,’ he… Continue reading Vanity Fair

Treasure Island

Extract of a piece originally written for the Wordsworth Editions Blog... ...Although a recognised essayist and travel writer, Treasure Island was Stevenson’s first novel, discounting some unfinished juvenilia which he had burned. This was in the hope of making his craft pay, because, as he later wrote in ‘My First Book’: By that time I… Continue reading Treasure Island

The Essence of the Gothic: In Conversation with Audrey Chin

Extract of an interview on the ‘Essence of the Gothic’ with novelist Audrey Chin What is Gothic literature? Is there a difference between the modern and Victorian variety? Or the Asian and European ones? And why is it considered part of the literature of subversion? I’m a neophyte to the genre. Indeed, I would not have… Continue reading The Essence of the Gothic: In Conversation with Audrey Chin

Huckleberry Finn

Extract of a piece originally published by Wordsworth Editions… ...Although a much more complex novel than Tom Sawyer, the story of Huckleberry Finn is deceptively simple. Huck and Jim drift down the Mississippi Valley through Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee, ending up in Arkansas where Tom Sawyer re-joins the narrative having been left behind in St. Petersburg… Continue reading Huckleberry Finn