TARNHELM: THE BEST SUPERNATURAL STORIES OF HUGH WALPOLE. Tartarus Press, 2003. ‘If subtlety, originality and ambiguity are hallmarks of the best supernatural tales, then Walpole’s stand with the very best.’—So writes George Gorniak in his Introduction to this definitive collection of the most admired of Hugh Walpole’s supernatural and macabre shorter works, along with two previously uncollected early masterpieces, ‘The Clocks’ and ‘The Twisted Inn’. Perhaps best known for The Herries Chronicle (1930-34), a series of four historical Lakeland novels which remains in print to this day, Walpole was widely recognised in his own lifetime as a consummate literary craftsman with a fine narrative style and an admirable ability to portray character, humour and dialogue. In classic tales such as ‘The Silver Mask’, ‘Tarnhelm’ and ‘The Snow’, he also demonstrates beyond question that he understood the experience of sheer, stark terror. Walpole had a deep and abiding interest in the supernatural and consistently incorporated macabre, mystical and supernatural elements in his work throughout his writing career. He also exhibits a markedly modern understanding of the psychological, and it is this combination which allows his more traditional ghost stories, such as ‘The Little Ghost’ and ‘Mrs Lunt’, to retain their power today. This collection of twenty-five stories should help renew the recognition enjoyed by Walpole in his own lifetime. As he said himself ‘ . . . the creator who relies more upon the inference behind the fact than upon the fact itself, more upon the dream than the actual business, more upon the intangible world of poetry than upon the actual world of concrete evidence, this kind of creator will come into his kingdom again.’ Tarnhelm, The Best Supernatural Stories of Hugh Walpole is a sewn hardback book of 363+xiv pages. Limited to 500 copies. Fine in fine dj.
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