Friday, 5 May 2017

Richard Dalby 1949-2017

Richard Dalby, who died recently, was one of the most prolific and knowledgeable editors of supernatural fiction. His expertise extended beyond ghost stories, embracing children's fiction, detective literature, and book illustration. He was responsible for so many first-rate anthologies that his influence on writers and fans of these genres must have been immense. It is never easy to quantify in the influence of an editor. But I suspect that most of the people reading these words know his books. He shaped many minds and we are poorer for his departure.

On my own bookshelf I have a copy of the Ghosts and Scholars anthology, which Richard co-edited with that other great expert on ghostly fiction, Ro Pardoe. He edited two volumes of The Virago Book of Ghost Stories, The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories, and Dracula's Brood: Neglected Vampire Classics. All are worth seeking out. I regret not getting to know Richard in person, but on the occasions I corresponded with him (he never took to email) I found him charming, informative, and helpful. Here is a brief obituary.


I suspect Richard is now rediscovering classics in a more wondrous library than any of us left behind can imagine.

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4 comments:

Steve said...

Well said. Richard's knowledge was so comprehensive, it really does feel as if a library has burned down. I hope his papers find a good home. I only met him once, in Brighton in 2010, but I'm glad I had the opportunity to shake his hand and tell him how much I loved his anthologies.

Oscar Solis said...

I used to look for books that were specifically edited by Richard Dalby. Now, that's odd. Usually one looks for books by authors.
Anyhow, the man had great taste. My favorite ghost story of all is in the Virago Book of Ghost stories, "The Empty School Room" by Pamela Hansford Johnson.

valdemar said...

Quite so! Sadly, an old friend of mine had no idea who Richard Dalby was when I mentioned him. So much good work is done in obscurity. I remember the story, btw - it's a good one.

Anonymous said...

So sad. He was a wonderful man. Worked with him on a release for Medusa a Press. He will be missed.