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J. S. Le Fanu's Ghostly Tales, Volume 1

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Book Overview: 

Schalken The Painter - a disturbing story of a man returning from the grave to claim his bride in the old folkloric motif of the demon lover. This tale was inspired by the atmospheric candlelit scenes of the 17th-century Dutch painter Godfried Schalcken, who is the hero of the story. (summary by wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .amazed at its weight as at the strange abruptness with which it was handed to him. In accordance with the wishes of the stranger, he delivered it into the hands of Schalken, and repeating his direction, despatched him upon the mission.

Schalken disposed his precious charge securely beneath the folds of his cloak, and rapidly traversing two or three narrow streets, he stopped at a corner house, the lower part of which was then occupied by the shop of a Jewish goldsmith. He entered the shop, and calling the little Hebrew into the obscurity of its back recesses, he proceeded to lay before him Vanderhausen's casket. On being examined by the light of a lamp, it appeared entirely cased with lead, the outer surface of which was much scraped and soiled, and nearly white with age. This having been partially removed, there appeared beneath a box of some hard wood; which also they forced open and after the removal of two or three folds of linen, they discovered its contents. . . Read More

Community Reviews

It had been some time since I last read anything by Le Fanu. I recall reading Uncle Silas many years ago and likeing it.

Le Fanu is a master at his craft. He knows how to write a good, scary story.

Just two tales in this volume - 'Schalken the Painter' and 'An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street'. Both mildly diverting, but not really any more than that. The first tale was more successful than the second, which suffered from the distraction of a somewhat confused-sounding na

Die erste Geschichte fand ich etwas entnervend. Die zweite dagegen war creepy as hell. Ich weiß nicht, ob es vorher auch schon Geschichten von typischen Spukhäusern in diesem Stil gab, in denen alle die dort einziehen ein böses Schicksal ereilt und das von den gruseligsten Erscheinungen und Phänomen

"Schalken The Painter" was once perfectly described as being "grisly, ghoulish and inexplicably haunting" by radio host EG Marshall in his introduction to the radio version of this that was done by the CBS Radio Mystery Theatre. The story is truly disturbing and Fanu has quite the touch with Gothic

Spooky, but, in that game I sometimes play with a book, utterly unadaptable to modern audiences. The last story is incredibly eerie, a piece about a doubt-spreading spectral tenet, and the horror comes not only from the physical death he brings, but also from the spiritual victory he attempts. It's

Have to say the story of Rose really creeped me out. This was my first Sheridan Le Fanu book. Trying to broaden my literary horizons by adding more classic reads on a regular basis.

Just two stories in this little selection. I enjoy these kinds of stories and don't have the skills for a full - blown critique.
I like Fanu's style, but this was the first I've read. while I wasn't moved to the core or anything, I will read more. I read it because of a Goodreads recommendation.

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