Bram Stoker (1847-1912)

5 Stoker“How blessed are some people, whose lives have no fears, no dreads; to whom sleep is a blessing that comes nightly, and brings nothing but sweet dreams.”   – Dracula (1897)

Bram Stoker (1847-1912) was born in Clontarf, Dublin, and educated at Trinity College. As a young man he worked as a civil servant at Dublin Castle, and as an unpaid theatre critic for local newspapers. He is best known today for his classic horror novel Dracula (1897), but during his lifetime he was known as the personal assistant of actor Henry Irving, and business manager of Irving’s Lyceum Theatre in London. Other notable works include The Jewel of Seven Stars (1903), Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving (1906), The Lair of the White Worm (1911), and the posthumously published collections Dracula’s Guest and Other Weird Stories (1914) and Old Hoggen and Other Adventures (2017).

13e09088602f1915cef60bed8012b2e9Novels and Collections

The Snake’s Pass (1890)

Dracula (1897)

The Jewel of Seven Stars (1903)

The Lady of the Shroud (1909)

Lair of the White Worm (1911)

Dracula’s Guest and Other Weird Stories (1914)

Old Hoggen and Other Adventures (2017)

Short Stories

“The Judge’s House” (1891)

“Old Hoggen: A Mystery” (1893)

“Burial of the Rats” (1896)

“Dracula’s Guest” (1914)

Find out more about Irish Writers of the Fantastic.


Old HoggenSwan River Press has a number of Bram Stoker publications available, including the limited edition Old Hoggen and Other Adventures, which collects numerous rare and hitherto uncollected stories by the master of the macabre.

We also have three issues of The Green Book that feature Stoker material, including John Edgar Browning’s interview with Stoker’s most recent biographer, David J. Skal, Elizabeth Miller’s fascinating “Shape-shifting Dracula: The Abridged Edition of 1901″, and Carol A. Senf’s essay on The Snake’s Pass and Lady Athlyne.

Finally, there’s our Bram Stoker Series of hand-sewn booklets. The Stoker Series was originally published from 2009 to 2011. We launched the series as a means to investigate some of the more obscure but no less interesting corners of Bram Stoker’s life and literature. The sort of fragments that might otherwise not find their way into publication.

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Bram Stoker (1847-1912)

Charlotte Riddell (1832-1906)

4 Riddell“I could positively declare my heart did cease beating as I listened, looking out into the night with the shadow of that darkness projecting itself upon my mind” – The Uninhabited House (1875)

Charlotte Riddell (1832-1906)—who often published as “Mrs. J.H. Riddell”—was born in Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim. In 1855 she moved to London and began producing numerous popular novels, most of which are now out of print. However, it is for her Christmas ghost stories that she is still widely read. Many of her best ghostly fictions were collected in the landmark volume Weird Stories (1882), while her uncollected tales remain a staple of supernatural anthologies to this day. Though she experienced financial hardships later in life, Riddell was still well-regarded and received a pension from the Royal Literary Fund from 1900 until her passing six years later.

Riddelluninhabited2Novels and Collections

The Uninhabited House (1875)

The Haunted River (1877)

Weird Stories (1882)

Short Stories

“The Banshee’s Warning” (1867)

“A Strange Christmas Game” (1868)

“The Old House in Vauxhall Walk” (1882)

“Walnut-Tree House” (1882)

Find out more about Irish Writers of the Fantastic.


Green Book 09If you’re interested in learning more about Charlotte Riddell, you might like to check out Issue 9 of our journal, The Green Book. In “Hauntings and Haunted: Charlotte Riddell’s Weird Stories”, Mike Barrett gives a wonderful overview of Riddell’s supernatural writings. Supplementing Barrett’s essay is an indispensable checklist of Riddell’s ghostly fiction.

In the same issue, you’ll also find articles about Elizabeth Bowen, Shirley Jackson, Rosa Mulholland, Dorothy Macardle, and Caitlin R. Kiernan.

Charlotte Riddell (1832-1906)

Preface to Bram Stoker’s Old Hoggen

Old HoggenTwo years after his death, the estate of Bram Stoker issued a posthumous collection of short stories by the late author. Published by George Routledge & Sons, Ltd. in April of 1914, Dracula’s Guest and Other Weird Stories is now a frequently reprinted horror collection, a fine showcase of Stoker’s most macabre, grotesque, and sometimes darkly humorous fictions. He included stories previously published in English and American periodicals, many of them now considered classics of the genre, such as “The Judge’s House”, “Burial of the Rats”, and “The Squaw”. With the exception of “The Gipsey Prophecy”, these stories first saw print in the 1890s — although exactly when they had originally been written is still a mystery even to the most ardent Stoker bibliographer.

Despite the collection’s impressive crop of tales, what really entices readers to its pages is undoubtedly the title story. That was probably the intention too. “Dracula’s Guest” is cannily sequenced as the lead story, giving the collection both its title and allure. In her brief preface to the volume, Stoker’s widow Florence notes that she herself had added to the contents this “hitherto unpublished episode from Dracula [ . . . ] originally excised owing to the length of the book”. She most certainly did this with some sense of business acumen. In some ways, “Dracula’s Guest” served as a sort of informal sequel to Dracula, and Florence Stoker was certainly correct to surmise that this addition “may prove of interest to the many readers of what is considered my husband’s most remarkable work.”

DraculasGuest“Dracula’s Guest”, atmospheric and other-worldly in execution, has caused over a century of head scratching in Stoker scholarship circles: How exactly does this excised episode fit into Dracula? What accounts for the inconsistencies between the story and the novel? Did a ghost writer contribute to “Dracula’s Guest” in whole or in part? These questions have been explored sufficiently elsewhere, and there is little point in discussing them again here.

Florence, however, did raise another mystery in her preface, a question not as frequently pondered, but no less provocative: “A few months before the lamented death of my husband — I might say even as the shadow of death was over him — he planned three series of short stories for publication, and the present volume is one of them.” If Dracula’s Guest was the first of three collections, then what were the other two?

Within the past decade, a number of hitherto unknown writings by Stoker have been discovered in British, American, Australian, and Irish periodicals, adding profoundly to the scholarship of the previous century. These discoveries include short stories, interviews, articles, essays, sketches, and poems; some have appeared in disparate Stoker-related publications over the past decades, others remain obscure.

Though usually identified with his seminal horror novel Dracula, Stoker was far from confined to just the horror genre. If one looks at this expanded list of Stoker’s uncollected stories — those not included in Under the Sunset (1881), Snowbound (1908), or Dracula’s Guest (1914) — certain themes begin to emerge. Whereas Dracula’s Guest collects Stoker’s “weird stories”, the uncollected tales can loosely be categorised as tales of romance or tales of adventure. The stories we have gathered for the present volume fall distinctly into the latter group, though as with much of what Stoker wrote, touches of the macabre, grotesque, romantic, and darkly humorous are still to be found throughout.

Jacket PortraitWhile I would not presume to claim that Old Hoggen and Other Adventures is a long-lost classic by Bram Stoker, I do hope that it stands as a tantalising possibility, one of the other two collections Stoker was planning in his final years. Rather, the book you now hold in your hands I hope will be read as the collection that might have been.

Had Bram Stoker lived longer, he might have selected and edited these works differently. But, as fate has entrusted to us their issuance, I hope that it is fitting and proper to let these adventures go forth as Stoker had left them, and for the enjoyment of a new generation of readers.


A hardback, limited edition of Bram Stoker’s Old Hoggen and Other Adventures is available to order from Swan River Press. With a cover by Jason Zerrillo and an Introduction by John Edgar Browning and Brian J. Showers. Order a copy here.

Preface to Bram Stoker’s Old Hoggen

Fitz-James O’Brien (1828-1862)

3 O'Brien“It was shaped like a man—distorted, uncouth, and horrible, but still a man.” – “What Was It?” (1859)

Fitz-James O’Brien was born in Cork on 25 October 1828. Little is known of his early life, though he attended Trinity College and, after a short period in London, emigrated to America around 1851. In New York he joined the artistic Bohemian set, and began writing for various magazines, including Harper’s, Vanity Fair, and Atlantic Monthly. At the outset of the American Civil War in 1861, O’Brien joined the New York National Guard. He was wounded in February 1862, and later died of tetanus on 6 April. His most notable stories and poems were collected in 1881 by his friend and literary executor William Winter. O’Brien’s proto-science fiction stories, such as “The Diamond Lens” and “What Was It?”, are now considered landmarks of the genre.

TheDiamondLens565 Collections

The Poems and Stories of Fitz-James O’Brien (1881)

Short Stories

“The Diamond Lens” (1858)

“The Wondersmith” (1859)

“What Was It?” (1859)

“The Demon of the Gibbet” (1881)

Find out more about Irish Writers of the Fantastic.


grande_gb5If you’re interested in reading more about Fitz-James O’Brien, have a look at Issue 5 of our journal The Green Book, which features the essay “Fitz-James O’Brien: The Seen and the Unseen” by Kevin Corstorphine.

Fitz-James O’Brien (1828-1862)

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-1873)

2 Le Fanu

“Perhaps other souls than human are sometimes born into the world, and clothed in human flesh.” — Uncle Silas (1864)

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-1873) was born in Dublin on Dominick Street Lower. He spent his youth in Chapelizod and the rural village of Abington, Co. Limerick. He entered Trinity College in 1833 and was called to the Irish Bar in 1839. Instead of pursuing a career in law, Le Fanu purchased and edited several newspapers including The Evening Mail and The Warder. In 1861 he bought the Dublin University Magazine, which he edited until 1869. He retreated from public life on the death of his wife in 1858, and from the seclusion of his Merrion Square home he turned his attention to writing novels. He is best known today for such pioneering weird stories as “An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in and Old House in Aungier Street”, “Green Tea”, and “Carmilla”. His notable novels include The House by the Church-yard (1863), Wylder’s Hand (1864), Uncle Silas (1864) and The Wyvern Mystery (1869). His seminal short story collection, In a Glass Darkly, was published in 1872, less than a year before his death.

In a Glass DarklyNovels and Collections

The House by the Churchyard (1863)

Uncle Silas (1864)

The Wyvern Mystery (1869)

In a Glass Darkly (1872)

Madam Crowl’s Ghost and Other Tales of Mystery (1923)

Short Stories

“Schalken the Painter” (1839)

“The Watcher” (1847)

“An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in an Old House on Aungier Street” (1851)

“Ghost Stories of Chapelizod” (1851)

“Green Tea” (1869)

“Carmilla” (1872)

Find out more about Irish Writers of the Fantastic.


Reminiscences of a BachelorSwan River Press has a number of J.S. Le Fanu publications available, including the limited edition Reminiscences of a Bachelor, which collects two of his finest Dublin-based tales of the Gothic and supernatural; not to mention an assortment of hand-sewn booklets: A Concise Bibliography, The Ballads and Poems of J. Sheridan Le Fanu, and The Complete Ghost Stories of Chapelizod.

Those who wish to explore Le Fanu’s writing even further might be interested in our two 2014 issues of The Green Book, which focused on Le Fanu and his writing in his bicentennial year: Issue 3 and Issue 4.

And for the Le Fanu aficionado who has everything, we suggest the Stoker-award nominated essay anthology Reflections in a Glass Darkly, edited by Gary W. Crawford, Jim Rockhill and Brian J. Showers.

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-1873)

Charles Maturin (1782-1824)

1 Maturin“I have traversed the world in the search, and no one, to gain that world, would lose his own soul!” –Melmoth the Wanderer (1820)

Charles Maturin, novelist and playwright, was born in Fitzwilliam Street on 25 September 1782. In his youth he had a fascination for the gothic novels of Walpole, Radcliffe, and “Monk” Lewis. His early novel, The Milesian Chief (1812), won the praise of Sir Walter Scott; while his play, Bertram (1816), though successful, drew harsh criticism from Coleridge. A lifelong member of the clergy, serving as curate of St. Peter’s Church on Aungier Street, Maturin is now best remembered for his sprawling gothic novel Melmoth the Wanderer (1820). Maturin’s great-nephew, Oscar Wilde, paid tribute to the gothic novelist by adopting the name “Sebastian Melmoth” during his final years of exile in France. Maturin died in his home on York Street on 30 October 1824.

Melmoth_the_Wanderer_1820Notable Works

Melmoth the Wanderer (1820)

“Leixlip Castle” (1825)

Find out more about Irish Writers of the Fantastic.

 

Charles Maturin (1782-1824)

Irish Writers of the Fantastic

2017-08-05-Irish-Writers-PoA good while back I posted the image of a poster designed by myself and long-time Swan River conspirator Jason Zerrillo. It features a line-up of Ireland’s most recognisable and possibly most influential writers of fantastic literature. I explained the impetus for the poster’s creation in an earlier post.

While I’m pleased with the results, it was not easy choosing who to include and who to leave off. Much as I wanted to indulge in the most obscure and overlooked (Oliver Sherry, anyone?), there is also merit in showcasing the luminaries: a reminder of this island’s contributions to worlds of unbridled imagination.

Ultimately, this poster is meant as a gateway for exploration. So you can imagine my delight when Alison Lyons of Dublin City Libraries and Dublin UNESCO City of Literature agreed to produce copies of the poster to distribute for free around Dublin this autumn. The goal had always been to make this poster available to libraries, schools, bookshops, to anywhere that loves to promote good literature, and to anyone who loves to read it.

To augment this poster, I also wrote a series of capsule biographies and recommended reading for each authors. You can find it over on the Dublin City of Literature website.

And so how do you get a copy of the poster? Easy! Go into any Dublin City Library branch and ask! Better yet, have a browse around for these authors’ books. Librarians will be happy to help!

Irish Writers of the Fantastic