Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Machen Misplaced - A Guest Post by John Howard

I have found by long experience that the works of Arthur Machen are very rarely to be found ‘in the wild’ – that is, on the shelves of second-hand bookshops. In a perfect world most would be found on the fiction shelves, with a few titles being placed elsewhere, under categories such as biography or ‘belles-lettres’. 

Perhaps they are lurking instead in unexpected shelves. Of course, books can be misplaced and shelved under a category that it would not normally occur to the seeker to look through. To assist the collector, I offer a few suggestions of places to look for Arthur Machen titles: 

Art, crafts

Ornaments in Jade

Classics, mythology

The Great God Pan

Ecclesiastical history, history

Black Crusade

Holy Terrors



The Shining Pyramid


The House of the Hidden Light


Bridles and Spurs

Food, cookery

The Canning Wonder

Interior design, architecture

The Cosy Room

The House of Souls

Inventions, technology

The Canning Wonder


The Great Return


A Fragment of Life

Medicine, health and beauty

Precious Balms

Dr Stiggins


Far Off Things

Things Near and Far

Pets, zoology

Dog and Duck

Sports – archery

The Bowmen

Sports – golf

The Green Round

Sports - swimming

The Children of the Pool


The Angels of Mons

The House of Souls

Topology, walking

The Hill of Dreams


Sunday, August 27, 2023

A New Edition of 'Twice Lost' by Phyllis Paul

The New York publisher McNally Editions has published a new edition of Twice Lost by Phyllis Paul, often thought of as one of her most impressive novels. It has a foreword by Jeremy M Davies and a commendably brief and enticing blurb: 'Who could have been so cruel as to do away with poor Vivian Lambert? And why oh why couldn’t she just stay dead?' 

The catalogue of the press is also worth exploring for other titles, including by Margaret Kennedy, whose work is beginning to attract renewed appreciation. They each have a stylish design too.

(Mark Valentine)


Saturday, August 26, 2023

An Appointment With The Wicker Man

Withnail Books of Penrith is a shop that sells the unexpected. One of their shelves is labelled ‘General Weirdness’, as distinct from the many more specific types of weirdness to be found on the other shelves.

They also publish limited edition booklets of literary rarities. Past titles have included little-known letters by T E Lawrence, a ghost story possibly by Mary Shelley, one of Philip K. Dick’s first stories, a rediscovered story by Saki, a tale of witchcraft by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and an omitted episode from Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

Their latest publication, however, is rather different. An Appointment With The Wicker Man is a 'souvenir celebration' of the cult film, and in particular a gathering of enthusiasts on May Day 2023 'at the original Wicker Man site at Burrow Head in Scotland, exactly fifty years after the events in the film, which included the burning of a new Wicker Man created by local artist Amanda Sunderland.'

As with Withnail's earlier publications, the booklet includes a frontispiece of a hand-printed linocut by Sharon Gosling, and is in a limited edition of 100 numbered copies.  

Update: now sold out. 

(Mark Valentine)