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