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)

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