Sunday, July 5, 2009

13 Spook Stories

In 1941 the landmark collection 13 Spookverhalen (13 Spook Stories) was published in the Netherlands. Landmark, as before that time to my knowledge no other collection had appeared in the Netherlands, devoted to supernatural and ghost stories and including translations of short stories by E.F. Benson. M.R. James, H.R. Wakefield, W.F. Harvey, E. Nesbit and W.W. Jacobs. Also included were short stories by H.G. Wells, Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, Edith Wharton and others, thirteen tales in all.

E.F. Bensons 'Caterpillars' and M.R. James 'Casting the Runes' were found in this collection. In 1941 the Netherlands were occupied by Nazi Germany; one would think the Dutch had more realistic horrors on their minds than this splendid collection of supernatural tales. But perhaps the publication of this collection was a subtle act of literary resistance, as in the collection all the featured authors were English.

The design on the dustwrapper and the quite nice interior black and white illustrations were drawn by J.M. Prange.

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