NIGHTMARE-TOUCH by Lafcadio Hearn, introduction by Paul A. Murray. Leyburn, North Yorkshire, UK; Tartarus Press; 2010. 1st edition hardcover.
'His hobbies were fantastic. He knew all manner of odd things, dreadful things, uncanny things. He was purblind, and the shadow of a telegraph pole rose to him 'the shadow of a gigantic skeleton'. He studied Hoodooism [sic], witchcraft, etc. . . and knew all the horrible things about the old-time doings-frightful, barbaric, hideous punishments, etc.; and he knew some of the sweetest poetry in all tongues.'
So wrote an acquaintance of prolific horror writer Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904). But in his writing Hearn was not concerned with achieving cheap thrills or titillation: horror was rather a means of expanding the boundaries of experience. He used his extensive knowledge of folklore and ancient beliefs and religions to challenge his readers, using horror to hint at spiritual realities beyond the grasp of contemporary materialism.
Hearn was brought up in Ireland, then England, and after school spent two years of near destitution in London before emigrating to America. After some years working as a journalist in Cincinnati he moved to New Orleans, becoming immersed in Creole culture and French literature. From 1888-1890 he lived in the West Indies before moving to Japan, where he married and settled for the remainder of his life. Undoubtedly one of the greatest Western interpreters of Japan, Hearn wrote many books on Japanese culture, as well as translating traditional ghost tales.
Contents: 'Introduction' by Paul A. Murray, 'Nightmare-Touch'. Fantastics: 'The Fountain of Gold', 'The Ghostly Kiss', 'The Vision of the Dead Creole', 'The Name on the Stone', 'Aphrodite and King's Prisoner', 'A Dead Love', 'At the Cemetery', 'Stray Leaves from Strange Literature', 'The Fountain Maiden', 'The Magical Words', 'The Bird Wife', 'The Legend of the Monster Misfortune'. Some Chinese Ghosts: he Legend of Tchi-Niu', 'The Story of Ming-Y', 'The Return of Yen-Tchin-King', 'The Tradition of the Tea-Plant'. Two Years in the French West Indies: 'La Guiablesse', 'Yé'. Japanese Ghosts: 'Of Ghosts and Goblins', 'Fragment', 'A Passional Karma', 'Ingwa-banashi', 'The Reconciliation', 'The Corpse-Rider', 'Of a Promise Broken', 'The Story of Umétsu Chubei', 'The Legend of Yurei-Daki', 'In A Cup of Tea', 'The Story of Chugoro', 'Ikiryo', 'The Story of Mimi-Nashi-Hoďchi', 'Rokuro-Kubi', 'Yuki-Onna', 'The Dream of Akinosuké', 'Jikininki', 'Mujina', 'The Story of Ito Norisuké'.
Publication: 25th March 2010.
Nightmare-Touch is a sewn hardback of 235+xvi pages.
Limited to 300 copies.
Fine in fine dj.