Monday, May 30, 2022

The Guiltless Bystander - David Wheldon

Confingo Publishing have just announced pre-orders for the July publication of The Guiltless Bystander, a collection of short stories by David Wheldon. I wrote about this author briefly in a June 2017 post mentioning his nightjar booklet The Automaton

His particular quality was the ability to write about seemingly realistic scenes in a way that gave them a remorseless, unreal atmosphere, like a slow, insidious nightmare (in which nevertheless there are moments of unexpected if brief relief). For this reason he was often compared with Kafka, although I think the author himself was not so sure of this identification

I wrote then:

'This author achieved success with his first novel, The Viaduct (1983), and a second, The Course of Instruction (1984), both of which impressed me a good deal at the time.

I remember that I was actually on a course of instruction when I read this second book in the rather dreary digs where I was staying. This was possibly not a good move, as I started to feel that the book and what then passed for reality were beginning to overlap a bit too closely. Nevertheless, I got each one of the following books as they appeared, each getting stranger and somehow more remote, until they seemed to stop altogether. So it is good to learn of this thoughtful author's return to publication, and I will seek the story out with a keen appreciation, not to say apprehension'.

The news of an entire volume of his stories brings even further opportunities for appreciation - and apprehension.

(Mark Valentine)


Monday, May 9, 2022

The Last Wormwood

Wormwood 38 has just been announced. It includes:

The Wormwood Interview - Rosemary Pardoe, Jamesian scholar and founding editor of Ghosts & Scholars, responds to seven questions about the books in her life

J W Brodie-Innes – Peter Bell discusses the leading figure in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and author of novels on witchcraft and Scottish folklore 

Forrest Reid and Jocelyn Brooke – John Howard explores the landscape of childhood in these two lyrical writers

Charles Dickens and the ghost story – Thomas Kent Miller on Dickens’ role in creating a strong demand for festive and wintry ghostly yarns

The Seeds – Iain Smith discusses the music of the Sixties psychedelic band who made vivid use of Gothic and fantastical imagery

Laidlaw Books – Douglas A Anderson presents his original research into the publisher of Donald Armour, as well as books by Ezra Pound and Wyndham Lewis

Marcel Proust – Henry Wessells reminds us that the author had affinities with the Decadent movement, particularly in his persona as the contemplative dandy

Reggie Oliver reviews a new translation of work by a late 19th century French occultist; R B Russell’s biography of Robert Aickman; an illustrated history of the Gothic; and a novel with an M R James-inspired title

John Howard reviews five books from independent presses, illustrating the willingness of smaller publishers to take on stranger work

This is the last Wormwood, and we’d like to thank all our contributors and readers for their support over the years.

(NB: Wormwoodiana is not affected)  

(Mark Valentine)