In a Glass Darkly
  • Publication Date: August 7, 2018
  • ISBN: 9781554812998 / 1554812992
  • 440 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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In a Glass Darkly

  • Publication Date: August 7, 2018
  • ISBN: 9781554812998 / 1554812992
  • 440 pages; 5½" x 8½"

From the predatory same-sex desire in “Carmilla” to the ghostly hallucinations in “Green Tea,” the five supernatural stories in In a Glass Darkly reflect a profound and deeply disturbing uncertainty about the nature of humanity. Originally published separately in magazines, the stories are framed and linked in this collection as case notes in the papers of the fictional Dr. Hesselius. Sheridan Le Fanu’s approach to the supernatural reworks traditional Irish oral storytelling and combines it with nineteenth-century adaptations of the eighteenth-century Gothic novel.

Appendices include Le Fanu’s correspondence about the stories, posthumous assessments of his life and work, and twentieth-century critical commentaries by M.R. James and Elizabeth Bowen. Engravings from the original serial publications of several stories are also included.


“Le Fanu’s In a Glass Darkly is one of the landmark works of Victorian Gothic. It contains some of the greatest ghost stories ever written, and in ‘Carmilla’ one of the most important vampire tales. Elizabeth Tilley’s brilliant new edition is the best one we’ve ever had, and it takes us closer to Le Fanu’s collection than we’ve ever been before. With its wonderful introduction and its superb selection of critical and contextual material, this book has everything a serious reader needs.” — Darryl Jones, Trinity College Dublin

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Texts

In a Glass Darkly

  • Green Tea
  • The Familiar
  • Mr. Justice Harbottle
  • The Room in the Dragon Volant
  • Carmilla

Appendix A: Reviews and Early Observations

  1. Contemporary Reviews
    1. Athenaeum (6 July 1872)
    2. Saturday Review (17 August 1872)
    3. Examiner (6 July 1872)
  2. Twentieth-Century Commentary
    1. From M.R. James, “Some Remarks on Ghost Stories,” Bookman (December 1929)
    2. From Elizabeth Bowen, “Preface to Uncle Silas,” Collected Impressions (1946)

Appendix B: Obituaries

  1. Irish Times (8 February 1873)
  2. Freeman’s Journal (10 February 1873)
  3. Irish Builder (15 February 1873)
  4. Illustrated London News (15 February 1873)
  5. Dublin University Magazine (March 1873)

Appendix C: Emanuel Swedenborg

  1. From Saturday Review (11 May 1867)
  2. Swedenborg on Demons
  3. Swedenborg and William Blake

Appendix D: Correspondence between Le Fanu and Others

  1. Charles Dickens to Le Fanu
    1. 24 September 1869
    2. 24 November 1869
  2. Le Fanu to George Bentley (3 January 1870)
  3. Le Fanu to J. Munnings
    1. 15 June 1872
    2. 24 June 1872

Works Cited and Select Bibliography

Elizabeth Tilley is a Senior Lecturer in Victorian literature and book history at the National University of Ireland, Galway.