Category Archives: Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924)

Uncollected Stories by Sabine Baring-Gould

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Here’s a treat, if I do say so myself. Six stories by Sabine Baring Gould, most of which first appeared in the periodical Hurst Johnian. The stories were well-nigh unobtainable for many years (even the British Library doesn’t have copies of these particular issues of the journal) until they were reprinted by Sarob Press in 1999 as part of Margery of Quether and other weird stories. This volume too is now out of print, but Richard Morgan of Sarob Press has very kindly consented to my preparing an ebook of the otherwise uncollected stories in that volume. This means that all of Baring-Gould’s known supernatural fiction is now available on this blog – to view more titles by him, click here.

EDIT: As it turns out, there is at least one more uncollected Baring-Gould story, ‘The Witch-Finder’, which I’ll add to the ebook when I get a chance!

Uncollected Stories [Kindle]

Uncollected Stories [Epub]

Uncollected Stories [PDF]

The rather unfortunately named Brown Willey, which features in the story 'Crowdy Marsh'

The rather unfortunately named Brown Willey, which features in the story ‘Crowdy Marsh’

A quick note on the texts:

I’ve scanned most of the stories from the Scarob Press edition, which uses the texts of the original periodical publications. In the case of ‘The Fireman’ and ‘The Old Woman of Wessel’, I’ve used the texts available on Wikisource. As far as I can tell, this version of ‘The Old Woman of Wessel’ is the text of the original periodical publication – but the text of ‘The Fireman’ seems to be from a later American reprint of the story, which may be pirated from Baring-Gould’s original. There are only minor differences, however, none of which materially affect the meaning or significance of the text.

Christmas Ghost Stories

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The first of four festive ebooks I’ve prepared for the blog, this is a collection of Victorian and Edwardian ghost stories with a Christmas (or at least a wintery) setting. There’s nothing startlingly new here – all of these tales have been widely anthologised before – but they’re just the thing for the darkest nights of the year.

Enjoy – and feel free to share with friends!

Christmas Ghost Stories [Kindle]

Christmas Ghost Stories [Epub]

Christmas Ghost Stories [PDF]

 

 

‘Margery of Quether’ (1891) and A Book of Ghosts (1904) by Sabine Baring-Gould

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‘Margery of Quether’ is Sabine Baring-Gould’s unusual vampire story. Published in 1891 in a collection also containing four non-supernatural tales, it tells the story of a very uncommon romance that blossoms between a young Dartmoor squire and a seventeenth-century witch who has been cursed with eternal life – but not eternal youth.

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A Book of Ghosts is also included in this ebook. Published in 1904, it collects almost all of the many ghost stories composed by Baring-Gould in the second half of the nineteenth century for the periodical press. These tales were produced as part of an immensely prolific career, encompassing not just fiction, but topography, hagiography, antiquarian research and several well-known hymns (among them ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’).

‘Margery of Quether’ and A Book of Ghosts [Kindle]

‘Margery of Quether’ and A Book of Ghosts [Epub]

‘Margery of Quether’ and A Book of Ghosts [PDF]

Critical editions:

Margery of Quether and Other Weird Tales, edited by Richard Dalby (Sarob Press, 1999) [as well as ‘Margery of Quether’, the collection also includes several very rare uncollected weird tales by Baring-Gould]

A Book of Ghosts, edited by Richard Dalby (Ash-Tree Press, 1996) [contains a comprehensive introduction, all the stories in the 1904 edition, plus an uncollected tale, ‘The Old Woman of Wesel’]

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More information on Baring-Gould and his work can be found at the website of the Sabine Baring-Gould Appreciation Society. Details on his non-fiction Book of Werewolves (1865) can be found in an earlier post on this blog, together with a link to a downloadable version of the full text. I hope to produce a future ebook for this blog containing Baring-Gould’s uncollected ghost stories. In the meantime, two of these can be accessed on Wikisource:

‘The Fireman’ (1871)

‘The Old Woman of Wesel’ (1905)

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The illustrations in this post are from the first edition of A Book of Ghosts and are by D. Murray Smith. For details of which particular stories and scenes they illustrate, see the HTML text, available at Project Gutenberg.

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More Werewolves

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Below are links to two further significant werewolf books, both from the nineteenth century.

The first is Sabine Baring-Gould’s The Book of Were-Wolves, being an account of a terrible superstition (1865). This was my first brush with werewolf literature and I found it an engaging place to start. The work of a hugely prolific author, historian, antiquarian, folklorist and hymn-writer (most famously ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’), Baring-Gould’s is a level-headed and fascinating look at the werewolf tradition in European folklore. The book also takes in the related phenomenon of lycanthropy, culminating in a shocking account of the atrocities committed by the Gilles de Retz. The Book of Were-Wolves is sometimes unfairly dismissed as too dry and scholarly for the modern reader, but Baring-Gould’s linking of legend with accounts of historically-verifiable happenings is effectively achieved and the effect is often unnerving. At the same time, his determination to see the werewolf not as some ‘superphysical’ entity forgotten by modern science, but as a potent feature of the collective memory of myth is a compelling approach to the subject. It can be downloaded in multiple formats from Project Gutenberg.

The second work on the agenda is Clemence Housman’s The Were-Wolf (1896). Housman was the sister of the poet and classicist A.E. Housman and the author Laurence Housman. As well as being a writer, she was an active campaigner for woman’s suffrage. I had hoped to prepare an ebook edition of Housman’s book for download from this blog but, since it’s still in copyright in the UK, I won’t be able to do this. However, since this is one of the earliest examples of the werewolf novel, it would be a shame not to draw attention to the online version at Project Gutenberg. This edition is fully illustrated and available to download in multiple formats!

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