In a Glass Darkly
Sheridan Le Fanu
With an Introduction by David Stuart Davies.
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-1873) was one of the great masters of Victorian of mystery and horror fiction, and can be regarded as the father of the modern ghost story. In a Glass Darkly (1872), one of his most celebrated volumes, purports to be the casebook of Dr Hesselius, a pioneer psychologist.
These five tales represent some of Le Fanu’s most accomplished work, which rises above the staid conventions of the age. Although drawing on Gothic conventions – the book features both ghosts and vampires – Le Fanu redefined the parameters of supernatural fiction. He had little interest in the crude depiction of other worldly phenomena in order to provide the reader with a pleasurable frisson of fear. Le Fanu concern rather lay in the examination of the results of supernatural experience on the psyche of his protagonist, in this he paved the way for the work of Henry James and M. R. James.
Included is ‘Carmilla’, a classic vampire story, pre-dating (but heavily influencing) Dracula by 26 years and establishing many of the traditional facets of the female vampire.
This volume is an indispensable cornerstone of modern horror and remains one of the finest collections of unsettling fiction in the language.