Sunday, 13 December 2015

Glasgow University Spookery

In a blog article published here, Sarah Bissell discusses the long tradition of the Christmas ghost story. It focuses on books in the Special Collections at Glasgow Uni, where - as you can see - there are a lot of splendid volumes.

M.R. James inevitably gets centre stage, but there's also a mention for The Eerie Book, which is a new one on me. It looks like a fun read.
A Poe-esque atmosphere of claustrophobia and dread is also created in George W. M. Reynolds’ ‘The Iron Coffin’, extracted from his novel Faust (1847). Although his work is little-read nowadays, Reynolds was hugely popular in the mid-Victorian period, especially among the working classes. His serialised narratives borrowed heavily from Gothic novels, with their gratuitous use of violence situating them as ‘penny dreadfuls’. One of his most famous serials, The Mysteries of London, ran for four years, with its weekly instalments selling up to 50,000 copies each. ‘The Iron Coffin’, though somewhat subdued in the beginning, culminates in a thrillingly lurid conclusion that epitomises Reynolds’ style.

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