THE COLLECTED MACABRE STORIES OF L.P.HARTLEY with an intro by Mark Valentine. Leyburn, UK; Tartarus Press; 2001. Fine in fine dj. Perhaps best known for his perfectly realized novel of Edwardian childhood The Go-Between, L.P. Hartley was also a much admired adept of the macabre short story. Hartley was no dilletante in the genre: he was well-versed in its long and distinguished tradition, and his carefully crafted macabre stories represent some of the most successful attempts to carry the ghost story into the twentieth century. As Mark Valentine points out in his perceptive new Introduction to this collection, Hartley said the ghost story was "in revolt against a materialistic conception of the universe" but also that it must have "a natural as well as a supernatural interest"; "humanity must pervade" both the haunter and the haunted; ghost stories should not be "merely literary exercises in making ones flesh creep". These observations demonstrate that he saw the form as important and worthwhile: indeed he called it "If not the highest . . . certainly the most exacting form of literary art". The Collected Macabre Stories includes thirty-seven of Hartleys best tales, ranging from the well-known, traditional ghost stories The Cotillon and Feet Foremost, through the dark humour of The Travelling Grave and The Killing Bottle to the Aickmanesque The Pylon. These encompass a wide range of settings from English Country Houses to Venetian Palaces. Two accomplished fantasies, Conrad and the Dragon and The Crossways are also included. Taken together these represent one of the most impressive acheivements of twentieth-century macabre fiction. Contents: Introduction by Mark Valentine; From the Introduction to; Lady Cynthia Asquiths Third Ghost Book; A Visitor from Down Under; Podolo; Three, or Four, for Dinner; The Travelling Grave; Feet Foremost; The Cotillon; A Change of Ownership; The Thought; Conrad and the Dragon; The Island; Night Fears; The Killing Bottle; A Summons; W.S.; The Two Vaynes; Monkshood Manor; Two for the River; Someone in the Lift; The Face; The Corner Cupboard; The Waits; The Pampas Clump; The Crossways; Per Far LAmore; Interference; The Pylon; Mrs Carteret Receives; Fall in at the Double; Paradise Paddock; Roman Charity; Pains and Pleasures; Please Do Not Touch; Home Sweet Home; The Shadow on the Wall; The Sound of Voices; Mrs G. G.; The Stain on the Chair.
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