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

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 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

G.W.M. Reynolds & Me

A new post for the G.W.M. Reynolds Society... As a child, I possessed a morbid passion for nineteenth century gothic literature. I had inherited this trait from my mother, a Catholic turned Spiritualist with a taste for true crime and horror film and fiction. My parents had me late in life and my grandparents were… Continue reading G.W.M. Reynolds & Me

The Strange Fiction of Oliver Onions

Guest post for Wordsworth Editions… Oliver Onions did not believe in ghosts. Nonetheless, as a prolific author of popular fiction across genres in the first half of the twentieth century, if he is remembered at all these days, it is as a writer of startling and original ghost stories. Historically, these were not easy to… Continue reading The Strange Fiction of Oliver Onions

Ainsworth’s Guy Fawkes: Tragic Hero, Catholic Martyr

Guy Fawkes mask

Remember, remember the fifth of November Gunpowder, treason and plot. I see no reason, why gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot. Nowadays, the image of Guy Fawkes – the man who tried to blow up Parliament on November 5, 1605, assassinating James I so a popular revolt could install a Catholic monarch – has become… Continue reading Ainsworth’s Guy Fawkes: Tragic Hero, Catholic Martyr

A Romance of Pendle Forest: The Lancashire Witches by W.H. Ainsworth (Part One)

Barbara Steele

The Lancashire Novelist Largely because of a popular fascination with the occult, The Lancashire Witches is the only one of Ainsworth’s novels to have remained consistently in print to this day, often shelved alongside the work of Dennis Wheatley and Montague Summers (both of whom it undoubtedly influenced). The novel is also one of the… Continue reading A Romance of Pendle Forest: The Lancashire Witches by W.H. Ainsworth (Part One)