Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's 200th birthday

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Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's 200th birthday

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ag. 28, 2014, 3:00am

Today is Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's 200th birthday. Some devotees are currently doing a walking tour of Dublin starting at his birth place at 7am (as near to his birth time as they could estimate), visiting locations important to his life and stories, and ending up at his burial vault in St Jerome's cemetery.

ag. 28, 2014, 5:11am

Methinks it's time for a re-read of "Carmilla".

ag. 28, 2014, 6:13am

That reminds me - I haven't finished reading the 3rd Green Book, largely on Le Fanu. I'll have a go this evening and look for some of his stories that I haven't read.

Editat: ag. 28, 2014, 7:16am

Brian J Showers is live tweeting the Le Fanu trail with the hashtag #LeFanu. He has posted some nice photos.

ag. 28, 2014, 9:19am

>1 pgmcc:,4 Thanks for the heads up, really am liking the twitter pics. I suppose tonight I'll have to read a tale or two from In a Glass Darkly.

ag. 28, 2014, 1:21pm

I'll get on with reading Uncle Silas.

oct. 9, 2014, 6:47pm

I would love to visit St Jerome's to pay my respects to the great writer himself. Le Fanu is such an influential writer and deserves as much praise as Stoker for his contribution to Gothic literature. Carmilla is incredibly ahead of its time. A firm favourite of mine.

oct. 9, 2014, 11:44pm

There is a Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu seminar in Trinity College next Wednesday and Thursday.

On Wednesday evening a radio play production of Green Tea is being performed in Toners pub on Baggot Street.

Editat: març 17, 2018, 7:47pm

The name of this author was recognizable to me, but not the relevance of his writing, until today. Thanks for posting this, which pushes me to look up the photos and research the writer before taking up the writing itself. This gent deserves the respect owed to him, even 200+ years later.

març 17, 2018, 7:59pm

M.R. James held him in high regard.

oct. 20, 2018, 10:35am

>9 frahealee:
>10 pgmcc:

Now that I've done adequate research, and read a dozen MRJames short stories, I feel more willing to take on the actual text of this author. One question though ... in glancing through a collection of novels and short stories and poetry (65 or 70 items, in ebook/Kobo form), I could not uncover an actual story called In A Glass Darkly. Often in a short story collection, the author takes the title of one of the stories to use for the whole book (ie. Margaret Laurence with A Bird In The House). Is this not the case with Le Fanu? Is the book in fact called In A Glass Darkly but there are only five stories contained in it, with none bearing the actual title? Here is another spot of reference, the University of Adelaide (which I use on a different laptop, since the Kobo info is contained on my daughter's laptop, so when she's home, I get bumped to the scrubby old original one used by my eldest son a long time back). Anyway, I know I'm being thick, but cannot find an answer to my assumption elsewhere. Uncle Silas is calling, demanding to be read, but I might like to start off with some short stories. I also thought Carmilla was a novel but it is listed under short stories (below).

oct. 20, 2018, 1:30pm

>11 frahealee: 'Is the book in fact called In A Glass Darkly but there are only five stories contained in it, with none bearing the actual title?'

Yes, that's right. Carmilla is novella length (in between a short story and a full length novel) but because it's more well known I think it has been published separately too which might be why you'd thought it was a novel.

This wikipedia article might help with some of the background to the collection:

oct. 20, 2018, 1:30pm

>11 frahealee:

That's right, there isn't a story called "In a Glass Darkly".

"Carmilla"'s a long story (a novelette or novella?) and has sometimes been published separately, but it s also one of the stories comprising In a Glass Darkly. The stories in the book are: "Green Tea", "The Familiar", "Mr Justice Harbottle", "The Room in the Dragon Volant", "Carmilla".

I don't know if the book is included in your ebook collection, or possibly you only have the individual stories, so I'd just mention that there is some connecting material written for this volume, to make it more of a coherent work. Obviously you'd be missing that is the stories are only provided separately.

oct. 20, 2018, 1:34pm

>11 frahealee:

Something else to be aware of is that a number of Le Fanu's stories appear more than once, under different titles and rewritten to a greater or lesser extent (often the scene of the action is moved from Ireland to England, for English magazine publication).

Editat: oct. 20, 2018, 7:33pm

>12 souloftherose:
>13 housefulofpaper:
Well this makes more sense now. Thank you. I rarely read Wiki anything since my sons told me a lot of it is written by folks with little clue about their topic. Doesn't fare well to mistrust everyone, but I would not know if they were leading me astray or not.

The collection I spied was;

which I have not yet purchased. It's on my wish list... but for two bucks, what am I waiting for, right?!

oct. 20, 2018, 1:44pm

>12 souloftherose:>13

I was a little hesitant about using the "novelette/novella" terminology because I don't know what exactly the difference is. Years ago I read an explanation of how the old pulp magazines used it simply as a measure of word count - the sequence being short-short story, short story, novelette, novella, novel (which last would be serialised) - but I can't remember the actual numbers; on the other hand I'm sure I've seen academic writing ascribing greater structural differences to the different terms, such that a long short story that doesn't do certain things isn't a novelette, it's just a long short story :)

Editat: oct. 20, 2018, 2:16pm

>12 souloftherose:
>14 housefulofpaper:
That wiki link provides the alternate titles alongside the titles in the collection. Very helpful!

I find the fears mentioned in the summary intriguing. The first three are shorter than the final two, and involve an owl and a monkey. The first monkey/demon reference I encountered was in A Good Man is Hard To Find by Flannery O'Connor, read only a month or so ago. Good thing Green Tea is at the top, since it will be the first one I read. I like owls so will save that for last. =( Even though the horned owl in The Secret of NIMH is terrifying to small children, I always thought he was a good guy.

I came across The Vampire Lovers last Hallowe'en, in the time before I had roamed the many halls of LT. I had no idea what it was, and was naive enough to think it had to do with people who love vampires, not literal 'lovers'. I saw Cushing's name in the YouTube title, and pounced. My daughter was asleep beside me, so once the nudity began I exited pronto! At the time, I didn't know it was a Hammer film, nor did I know it evolved from Carmilla. Egad.

So there you go, Andrew, I have actually almost seen a whole Hammer film. =D Tis the season, so maybe I'll look it up again after reading the text. Delayed gratification is always worthwhile.

REALLY cannot wait to sink my fangs into Dracula the week after next. I know Le Fanu predates Stoker, but one step at a time... or I'll flip ass over tea kettle down a spiral stone staircase and knock my noggin into unconsciousness! (meaning I'll get so overwhelmed by the literature and the research than my brain implodes)

oct. 20, 2018, 2:23pm

>16 housefulofpaper: I've come across that type of division too, for my writing projects, but can never remember where it was written succinctly enough for it to sink in. I have no head for dates or numbers, so really should find it and put it someplace for repetitive reference. I write mostly poetry (under 40 lines) and flash fiction (250-350 words) and sometimes short-short stories (1000-3000 words) but these are customized boundaries made by the writing forum, for weekly competitions. I had read that novels needed to be a certain page count, but wondered how that might have been revised with the dawning of digital online book sources or audiobooks. Is the rule the same for fiction as non-fiction? I should put in the time to trawl through various writer sites, but I'd rather be reading my books! I could look through the writer-reader group for starters...

oct. 20, 2018, 4:11pm

>16 housefulofpaper:, >18 frahealee: Yeah, I'm not 100% sure if there's an agreed definition of novella across all forms of fiction - I think there's a definition for science fiction and fantasy award based on word count (maybe originating in the old pulp magazines?). Anyway, a long short story or short novel I guess.

This conversation has reminded me that I never finished reading this collection and this seems a good time of year to pull it off the shelf and have another go so.....

Editat: oct. 20, 2018, 4:29pm

>19 souloftherose: >16 housefulofpaper: >18 frahealee: My reading of the history of novel, novella, novelette, long short story, short story, etc... is as @souldoftherose suggests, not definitive. If you go back to the 1960s and earlier what was called a novel then would now be called a novella. I think some people have put arbitrary wordcounts on each category and tried to put this down as definitive convention.

I have a collection of short stories collated in the first half of the twentieth century in which the editor discusses the length of stories and what constitutes a short story and what a novel. He concluded that there are really only short stories and novels. I think these length determinants of story length are of use to publishers who want to produce books of a given size and marketers who want to have a clear message to communicate. It is the same as the whole world of genre, sub-genre, sub-sub-genre, and so on and so forty. A story is a story. It is a certain length. Categorisation into genre or length category has its use as far as it helps people find what they like and how much time they want to spend reading it. Some of the stories I have enjoyed most defy categorisation into a category and if I were to only read clearly defined genres I would never have found these wonder full books. Oh, yea, some of them were short and some of the long. :-)

oct. 21, 2018, 3:49am

For the purposes of the Nebula awards, the definitions are:

Novel — 40,000 words or more
Novella — 17,500–39,999 words
Novelette — 7,500–17,499 words
Short Story — 7,499 words or fewer

Unfortunatly, I'm from a country where word count is little used, and have very little intuition what those word counts mean in practice.

(I do note that the weekly read over in The Weird Tradition - Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness - is 40,881 words and would by these criteria just barely qualify as a novel.)

oct. 21, 2018, 8:16am

'Novelette' is a new one on me - I think I was quite unaware of it. Now life is not as simple as it used to be. I used to simply call it a novella if I couldn't figure out if it was a short story or a novel - don't know what I'll do now ...

oct. 21, 2018, 8:30am

>11 frahealee: - Uncle Silas is calling ...

I've just been surprised to find we haven't got an Uncle Silas thread - I remember discussing it at length here. I shall make one.

Editat: oct. 21, 2018, 2:45pm

I have spent the weekend manning The Swan River Press table at Octocon. It is dedicated to the Gothic and supernatural and was inspired by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. In the picture can be seen a copy of “Reminiscences of a Bchelor” and “The Complete Ghost Stories of Chaplizod”.

Editat: oct. 21, 2018, 11:11am

I found this link about word count (not to beat a dead horse to death but...) in the Writer-readers group, and although I knew about the 5 or 6 character business, I had never heard the dialogue issue (vertical space) explained this way before, concerning editors vs. actual vs. computer auto-count. Very interesting. Okay, now back to my books!

FYI - I think my first dose of Uncle Silas was in the Mysteries of Udolpho thread.

oct. 21, 2018, 4:31pm

>24 pgmcc:
I've got those books! I hope you were able to get away from your post sometimes and enjoy the rest of the convention.

>25 frahealee:
I set a hare running there, didn't I! It's obvious, when you think about it, that magazine editors would have had to look at the material they were buying in terms of how many pages each item would take up.

>22 alaudacorax: Elvis Costello uses 'novelette" in a lyric idea what he was implying by using the term...

Editat: gen. 27, 2020, 8:08pm

>15 frahealee: This thread offers a catch-all spot for plowing through my Le Fanu ebook collection. The detail etched out helps for planning or moods. My favourite thus far is The Room in the Dragon Volant, only because it's shorter than Uncle Silas. =) Great writer worthy of his longstanding reputation.

Current: The House by the Churchyard (1863, 99 chapters)
* fun to recognize the title of ch.9 evokes Don Quixote, now that I've read that too (also 2018)
* also references to Hamlet, Macbeth, (Samuel?) Richardson, etc.

In A Glass Darkly; Carmilla, Green Tea, Mr. Justice Harbottle, The Familiar, The Room in Dragon Volant.
(first published as a collection in 1862, one year before the author's death)
Uncle Silas (1864, 65 chapters)

Checkmate (1871, 87 chapters)
Guy Deverell (1865, Volume 1 = 37 chapters, Vol.2 = 39 chapters)
Haunted Lives (1868, 40 chapters)
Spalatro (year, Part One, Part Two)
The Cock and Anchor (1845, 73 chapters)
The Haunted Baronet (year, 30 chapters)
The Tenants of Malory (1867, Volume 1 = 25 chapters, Vol.2 = 22, Vol.3 = 22 chapters)
The Wyvern Mystery (1869, Volume 1 = 23 chapters, Vol.2 = 21 chapters, Vol.3 = 20 chapters)
Willing to Die (1872, 71 chapters)
Wylder's Hand (1864, 74 chapters)

Shorts: (in order that they appear in the collection, for simplicity)
The Purcell Papers
The Ghost and the Bone Setter
The Fortunes of Sir Robert Ardagh
The Last Heir of Castle Connor
The Drunkard's Dream
Passage in the Secret History of an Irish Countess
The Bridal of Carrigvarah
Strange Event in the Life of Schalken the Painter
Scraps of Hibernian Ballads
Jim Sulivan's Adventures in the Great Snow
A Chapter in the History of a Tyrone Family
An Adventure of Hardress Fitzgerald, a Royalist Captain
The Quare Gander
Billy Malowney's Taste of Love and Glory

Madam Crowl's Ghost and Other Tales of Mystery
Madam Crowl's Ghost
Squire Toby's Will
Dickon the Devil
The Child That Went with the Fairies
The White Cat of Drumgunniol
An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street
Ghost Stories of Chapelizod
Wicked Captain Walshawe, of Wauling
Sir Dominick's Bargain
Ultor de Lacy
The Vision of Tom Chuff
Stories of Lough Guir
Other Tales
The Evil Guest
The Watcher
Laura Silver Bell
The Murdered Cousin
The Mysterious Lodger
An Authentic Narrative of a Haunted House
The Dead Sexton
A Debt of Honour
Devereux's Dream
Catherine's Quest
Pichon and Sons, of the Croix Rousse
The Phantom Fourth … completed! (no touchstone)
The Spirit's Whisper
Dr. Feversham's Story
The Secret of the Two Plaster Casts
What Was it?

A Doggrel in a Dormant-Window
Molly, My Dear
The Stream

A Memoir of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

As is my habit, touchstones will be applied once the novel/novella/short story/poem(s) are completed.

Editat: gen. 17, 2020, 12:35pm

In checking the 1001 books you must read before you die list, I am surprised Le Fanu has only two on there. Uncle Silas and In A Glass Darkly are both there, but nothing else. Travesty! The first, was my final book of 2018, and the short story/novella collection was a 2019 highlight. This year, as many as I can fit in. I hope to indulge in more Irish Literature, with Iris Murdoch options also. Does she write about gothic themes? These are her 1001 inclusions;
The Bell
The Sea, The Sea
The Black Prince
Under the Net
The Nice and the Good
A Severed Head

Any other names to be aware of or conscious of, gothic or not? I am attempting to collect countries beyond the standard Canada, USA, England, France, Italy, etc. to include Australia, Ireland, Scotland (Walter Scott), Greece/Egypt/Rome, South Africa, Mexico/Peru/etc.

Editat: gen. 17, 2020, 2:01pm

Thinking back to Stoker's story, The Judge's House, I remember feeling frustrated with the student for wasting daylight hours and settling down to work late at night (with or without strong tea), and today I read that Le Fanu was known as 'the invisible prince' (per Chapters/Indigo site for OUP copy of IAGD) due to his reclusive nocturnal habits for writing or ?? Is this an Irish thing, or merely to set the stage for a work of gothic excellence, or was Stoker tipping his hat to Le Fanu by including this in his student's habits? I never force(d) myself to stay awake, but often make use of this rare quiet solo time if awakened between midnight at 4am, making a pot of strong coffee between 4-5am to use this pocket of time (by conditioned habit) before children awaken. Patti Smith wrote daily between 4/5-8am, coffee pot, pen/notebook, lyrics or poetry or thoughts. Every day diligence like that makes every single day worthwhile, craving sunrise. Unlike Hemingway, who had a tremendous work ethic but somehow his discipline seemed less enjoyable than Patti's. Maybe I need to skip ahead to the memoir/autobiography sooner than later to see if Le Fanu did the same. His novels are doorstops, look at those chapter totals!

gen. 30, 2020, 5:15pm

>28 frahealee:

I don't think Iris Murdoch is a Gothic writer, although that's based on what I've read about her. I've only read her first novel Under the Net (apparently a slightly uncharacteristic novel, quite heavily influenced by the French existentialists).Later novels use quite Gothic-y or melodramatic tropes, I understand, without feeling like Gothic novels...using the plot devices but doing quite different things with them. I have seen the film version of A Severed Head from 1970-ish and I can see Gothic bits of (stage) business in it, as it were, but also social comedy and bedroom farce...and who knows what layers of subtlety got lost in the process of adaptation?

She had a knack for a strikingly dramatic title, though!