Frankenstein and the Romantic Hero

Extract from new post for the Wordsworth Editions Blog… To read Frankenstein is to enter a realm of intersecting myths. It is there immediately in the novel’s original subtitle ‘The Modern Prometheus’, a comparison between the Faustian Victor Frankenstein and the Titan who stole fire from the gods and was punished horribly for gifting it to humanity.… Continue reading Frankenstein and the Romantic Hero

The Real Count Dracula

Extract from new post for the Wordsworth Editions Blog… When Bram Stoker died after a series of strokes on April 20, 1912, his obituary in The Times made only a single and cursory reference to Dracula noting that ‘He was the master of a particularly lurid and creepy kind of fiction’. The book that we regard as… Continue reading The Real Count Dracula

Conan Doyle and Professor Challenger (Podcast)

This episode, Paul and I are delighted to welcome to the podcast Dr Stephen Carver, author, biographer and recipient of one of the ACD Society’s Inaugural Doylean Honours for his excellent Wordsworth Editions blog on the Professor Challenger stories. We talk with Stephen about the appeal of Professor Challenger to readers and to Conan Doyle, The Land of… Continue reading Conan Doyle and Professor Challenger (Podcast)

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

The Geometry of Fear: Joseph Losey’s The Damned

Both the changing public perception and the style of post-war British motorcycle culture from the late-1950s to the mid-70s owed a tremendous debt to Hollywood, starting with László Benedek’s The Wild One in 1953. Motorcycling was now no longer viewed as the gentleman’s sporting hobby it had been in the early part of the century,… Continue reading The Geometry of Fear: Joseph Losey’s The Damned

The Opium Eaters – A Work in Progress

If anyone was wondering, this is what I'm currently writing. This project grew out of a panel I spoke on at The Bradford Literature Festival in 2019... THE OPIUM EATERS: High Literature and the Art of Addiction (Morton Books) When the brilliant Oxford drop-out and freelance journalist Thomas De Quincey published his seminal article ‘Confessions of… Continue reading The Opium Eaters – A Work in Progress

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Extract of a piece I wrote for Wordsworth Editions just before Christmas on The Picture of Dorian Gray... ...As a narcissist and living work of art, in Nietzschean terms Dorian is an ‘Apollonian’ figure and Hallward also paints him as Adonis, Narcissus, Paris, and Antinous. Against nature, he has the cold edge of the purely aesthetic;… Continue reading The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Gothic Life of Edgar Allan Poe

Extract from my Halloween Blog for Wordsworth Editions Desperate for money, Poe accepted another assistant editorship at Burton's Gentleman's Magazine in Philadelphia (who had given Pym a rotten review), again for $10 a week. Disheartened by his novel’s reception and aware that his theories of art did not lend themselves to long narratives, Poe returned to short… Continue reading The Gothic Life of Edgar Allan Poe

The Turn of the Screw, The Innocents and The Haunting of Bly Manor

Extract from a contextual review for Wordsworth Editions, originally entitled ‘Based on the Writings of Henry James’: The Turn of the Screw, The Innocents and The Haunting of Bly Manor'. The Innocents (UK, 1961) is a scary film based on a scary book. Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw was first published as a… Continue reading The Turn of the Screw, The Innocents and The Haunting of Bly Manor

Lady Audley’s Secret

New entry for the Wordsworth Editions Blog... When the category of ‘Sensation Fiction’ was first applied as a genre label in the Literary Budget periodical of November 1861, it coined a term for a new species of narrative that was at once innovative, soon-to-be hugely influential, and at the same time the next logical step… Continue reading Lady Audley’s Secret