These five stories represent the complete supernatural writing of D.H. Lawrence, the celebrated English modernist. All of the stories appear in The Woman Who Rode Away and other stories (1928) – the final collection of Lawrence’s short fiction to appear in his lifetime – and were written in the three or four years leading up to the publication of that volume. ‘Glad Ghosts’ received its first book publication in the short story collection of the same name, which appeared in 1926 – it had originally been written for Lady Cynthia Asquith’s Ghost Book. Asquith rejected it on account of its strange symbolism and difficult narrative style. ‘The Lovely Lady’ is a satiric vampire story. Each of the stories betray the bitter sarcasm characteristic of Lawrence’s work, and make for challenging and unsettling reading.
Francis Marion Crawford was a prolific and popular author of fiction on both sides of the Atlantic at the turn of the last century, producing countless novels and short stories as well as several plays and a number of historical works about Italy. Crawford was an American citizen, but was widely travelled, having been born to an artistic American family in Italy and attending school in India. Today, he is perhaps best known for his supernatural fiction, his reputation resting largely on this collection of tales published in 1903.
The collection contains his most-anthologised story, ‘The Upper Berth’, which can also be downloaded elsewhere on this blog, where it can be read in the context of its original publication as part of The Broken Shaft, T. Fisher Unwin’s Christmas Annual for 1885. Also in the collection is Crawford’s unsettling vampire story, ‘For the Blood is the Life’.