Reminiscences of a Bachelor, by Sheridan Le Fanu

Second paragraph of “The Fatal Bride”, as presented here:

With these few preliminary remarks, now offered once for all, I shall end the te- dious task of introduction, and plunge at once into the business of my story, mere- ly reiterating, by way of supplemental caution, that names and titles, and a few de- tails of locality, which I fancied might indicate individuals, and lead to detection, have been suppressed and altered; but that in the substance, and, indeed, with those exceptions, in all the minor details of these narratives, I shall observe a strict adherence to the facts, as they were either related to me, or came within my own personal knowledge.

Le Fanu is one of those overlooked nineteenth-century Irish writers of the Weird, and this slim volume presents two of his stories told by a narrator identified only as “a Bachelor”. There are good forewords and afterwords by Matthew Holness, Jim Rockhill and Brian J. Showers, and the two stories themselves are prefaced by an introduction which is actually lifted from the original publication of the second story, “The Fatal Bride”.

The first story, “The Watcher”, is much weirder and to be honest much more interesting; “The Fatal Bride” resolved in a rather prudish nineteenth-century way, and the dark hints of what is going on in “The Watcher” are better executed. However, both of them give a very strong impression of eighteenth-century Dublin – even though Le Fanu was born i 1814 so would not have known it personally.

A nice little gem, though I hope I did not pay the €25 that I see as a price tag on my copy. You can get it here.

This was the shortest unread book on my shelves acquired in 2018. Next on that pile is Belfast City Hall: One Hundred Years, by Gillian McIntosh.