“Granny, did you know why your friend ventured so fearlessly into the ghost’s territories?” – “The Dark Lady” (1847)
Anna Maria Hall (1800-1881), who wrote under the name Mrs. S. C. Hall, penned numerous collections, novels, and plays in which she often depicted sympathetic portraits of Ireland and its people. She was born Anna Maria Fielding in Anne Street, Dublin, on 6 January 1800. At the age of fifteen she moved to London where, in 1824, she married journalist and editor Samuel Carter Hall (1800-1889). During her career, she contributed articles, sketches, and stories to several periodicals edited by her husband, including The Amulet and The Art Journal; she also briefly edited St. James’s Magazine. Hall is primarily remembered for her regional works, which include Sketches of Irish Character (1829), Lights and Shadows of Irish Life (1838), and Ireland: Its Scenery and Character (1841-43; co-written with her husband). She was also a member of the Irish temperance movement and a fervent supporter of women’s rights. She died on 30 January 1881.
Bending to Earth: Strange Stories by Irish Women edited by Maria Giakaniki and Brian J. Showers
Irish women have long produced literature of the gothic, uncanny, and supernatural. Bending to Earth draws together twelve such tales. While none of the authors herein were considered primarily writers of fantastical fiction during their lifetimes, they each wandered at some point in their careers into more speculative realms — some only briefly, others for lengthier stays.
Names such as Charlotte Riddell and Rosa Mulholland will already be familiar to aficionados of the eerie, while Katharine Tynan and Clotilde Graves are sure to gain new admirers. From a ghost story in the Swiss Alps to a premonition of death in the West of Ireland to strange rites in a South Pacific jungle, Bending to Earth showcases a diverse range of imaginative writing which spans the better part of a century.
Read an Extract from the Introduction to Bending to Earth.