In a Glass Darkly
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In a Glass Darkly

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  1,968 ratings  ·  96 reviews
Included in this volume are the classic Le Fanu tales, "Green Tea," "The Familiar," "Mr. Justice Harbottle," "The Room in the Dragon Volant," and "Carmilla."
Paperback, 276 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by Aegypan (first published 1872)
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Jeffrey Keeten
"What a fool I was! and yet, in the sight of angels, are we any wiser as we grow older? It seems to me, only, that our illusions change as we go on; but, still, we are madmen all the same."

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DEMON MONKEY

I read the Folio Society edition of this book and that red-eyed demon monkey was on the front cover. It was disconcerting to me and to my daughter who every time she saw it would ask me to turn the book over, so she wouldn't feel the intensity of the monkey's gaze.

I read this book predominately i...more
Shovelmonkey1
Mar 29, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: horror fans and anyone who likes a good ghostly yarn
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list
*applause*
Once again those good old boys from the days of "classic" literature show everyone how it's done without the aid of special effects, bells and whistles and ludicrous vampire based sex scenes (any who has ever seen or had Tru blood described to them will know what i'm talking about). This is a great book of short stories (Green Tea, The Familiar, Mr Justice Harbottle, The Room in Le Dragon Volant and Carmilla) all linked by the fact that they are case studies brought to the attention of...more
Jacob
October 2011

The one about the distressed Reverend haunted by a demonic monkey? Yeah, that was ok.

The one about the retired Navy man haunted by a figure from his past? Eh, sure.

The one about the judge haunted by the ghost of an innocent man he condemned to death? Oh, yeah, whatever.

The one about the young and naïve Englishman travelling in France, haunted by nothing but an ever-growing sense of danger and unease as he befriends a mysterious Marquis, pines for the young and equally mysterious Coun...more
Genia Lukin
Sometimes oldies are, in fact, goodies.

Le Fannu is one of the fathers (parents, I should say, before Mary Shelley whacks me over the head with a lightning rod) of the Gothic horror and Gothic fantasy genres. And it's quite clear he deserves his place in the speculative hall of fame.

The short stories of ghosts and apparitions in the book are quite ordinary - for the modern reader. But if one takes into account that they were written before ghost stories became a staple and a cliche, they could be...more
Laura
In a Glass Darkly, v. 1/3
2* Green Tea
3* The Familiar
3* Mr. Justice Harbottle
In a Glass Darkly, v. 2/3
5* The Room in the Dragon Volant
In a Glass Darkly, v. 3/3
The Room in the Dragon Volant - Part II
4* Carmilla

Excellent stories written by one of the masters of the gothic style.

In a Glass Darkly, v. 1/3: free download available at Gutenberg Project

In a Glass Darkly, v. 2/3: free download available at Gutenberg Project

In a Glass Darkly, v. 3/3: free download available at Gutenberg Project
Wendy
This is a fun little collection of Victorian era horror by Irish writer Le Fanu. There's a little bit of everything here: demon ghost monkeys, premature burial, lovely lesbian vampires...oh, and my personal favorite character, (bit part though he had) the guy who said this:

‘At Ligny, the other day, where we smashed the Prussians into ten hundred thousand milliards of atoms, a bit of a shell cut me across the leg and opened an artery. It was spouting as high as the chimney, and in half a minute I
...more
Alex
Most people reading In A Glass Darkly today are going to be doing so because they've heard about Carmilla. Not only did Le Fanu write one of the earliest vampire stories (although there are several that predate this by some distance, most notably Polidori's The Vampyr and Varney the Vampire) he's also written one of the earliest popular stories I can recall that introduce lesbian desire in any significant way. True enough, Carmilla is the high point of this excellent set of short stories. As a V...more
Cody
A wonderful, well-made example of Victorian Gothic horror. Sheridan le Fanu' s stories range between the fearfully haunting and the hauntingly sensuous—particularly the sapphic vampire tale "Carmilla"—and are all slow-burning. My only complaint, which is really no fault of the author, is with the repetition intrinsic to this sort of narrative. Gothic horror stories generally have the same plot arc, which can grow trying after two or three in a row. Instead, read these at intervals: Pick the book...more
Katie Grainger
In a Glass Darkly is a collection of short stories written by the Irish master of the supernatural Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. Firstly I have to say the author has a fantastic name so in my view that alone makes him well qualified to write stories with supernatural themes.

I think I preferred the first three stories in this collection compared to the final two. The first three were deliciously Gothic tension builders which had spooky endings. The final two were slightly long winded in comparison. S...more
Danelle
In a Glass Darkly is a collection of 5 short stories based on the posthumous papers of a 'metaphysical doctor' (a psychiatrist) who is willing to believe in ghosts.

The first story is Green Tea in which an English clergyman claims he is being followed by a demon that takes the form of a monkey with red eyes. This monkey is invisible to everyone else and is driving the clergyman to madness, ruining his life.

The second story is The Familiar in which a sea captain comes back to Dublin and is engag...more
Francis
It's kinda creepy, like..

You're walking down a road with your yellow haired dog. He's happy just looking around, tongue hanging out, ears up. But You're sure thirsty and wish you had yourself a drink of water or something wet like. When before you know it, this old boy comes along with his pretty daughter, who seems kinda shy, but in an odd kinda way.

There both real friendly and they both go on, telling you how much they admire that cute old yellowed hair dog of yours and how funny it is, you an...more
Tonk82
Sheridan Le Fanu es un maestro de las historias de fantasmas y espíritus. No solo tuvo una extensa producción de novelas y relatos de misterio/terror como El tío Silas o La casa junto al Cementerio, sino que influenció totalmente a escritores posteriores (aunque se llevaron muy poco tiempo) de la talla de Henry James o M. R. James. Con el tiempo la fama de sus mejores obras se ha mantenido hasta cierto punto, pero desgraciadamente parece que su obra, al margen de "Carmilla", está un poco olvidad...more
Kim
This was a good series of short stories. The first three were definitely following the same theme and thought processes about what would happen if our poor decisions or attitudes were manifested as demons and how it would affect us. The last two stories were only linked to the others in that they also had supernatural elements, but every single story was unsettling and suspenseful like any horror book ought to be. Lately I have been on a Gothic Horror kick and this satisfied wonderfully. The fir...more
Rene' Riddle
I only read the first volume of these stories, and they were ok. I am a big fan of Poe and seeing as how this author lived during the same time period as he I was hoping for stories as eerie as Poe's but was disappointed. The stories aren't terrible, just sort of anti-climatic. Started out pretty well, then I would start to anticipate the ending - is what's going on real? Or will there be a twist in the story? But it was sort of like ending a really great ghost story with.... "and it turns out h...more
Millicent
A brilliant veiling technique which adds to its gothic creepiness, including paranormal investigation by a 'physician'.
As has already been mentioned, In a Glass Darkly features one of the first vampire stories that predates even Bram Stoker's Dracula. What makes it all the more intriguing is its incorporation of lesbian vampire obsession. Gothic novels often feature the repressed parts of society coming to the surface as something twisted and evil, and in relation to vampires this could be sexu...more
Jessica
An excellent collection of traditional yet unfamiliar tales of the supernatural. I even enjoyed "Carmilla", despite not being into vampire stories. For me, however, the standout was "Mr. Justice Harbottle", a truly creepy ghost story, that's made even more interesting in that it was written by a Victorian but set in the "old days" of the 18th century. Highly recommended for fans of classic horror.
Sarah
I picked up this collection of Sheridan Le Fanu's stories after having spent a tremendously enjoyable few hours listening to the audiobook edition of Carmilla. I have always been a sucker for a good gothic, classic horror story, and Le Fanu's Carmilla hit the spot.

This particular edition contains two of his longer tales: the so-gothic-it's-practically-Bauhaus "Room in the Dragon Volant," the above-mentioned Carmilla, and assorted shorter tales of Things Gone Wrong.

As one tends to find with tales...more
Adam Clark
Very good indeed. 'Carmilla' is obviously a classic, and hugely influential, but my other favourite was 'The Room in the Dragon Volant', which I don't remember having read before.
Benjamin
Interesting mystery stories, Carmilla, the last one, being the most famous one.
Drew
After reading Carmilla by itself last summer, someone suggested that I keep reading J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s works. I picked up a beautiful edition of In a Glass Darkly and read it during the last few months. I moved slowly, due to being busy and distracted, but also so that I could savor his writings. This collection of five stories (three short stories and basically two novellas) were so perfect for me that this volume has jumped high onto my favorites list.

Since I mentioned the physicality of t...more
Mel
I read "Green Tea" a couple of years ago and while I did enjoy it, the style and the story were very good, I just couldn't quite get past the part where it was green tea that was making him crazy. It was just a tiny bit amusing. So I didn't re-read it this time. I found "The Familiar" to be a little disappointing, particularly after enjoying "Carmilla" so much. It was nice to see a continuation of the creepy walking home story, but I felt that there wasn't enough characterisation to carry me thr...more
Scrittevolmente
Alzi la zampa chi in vita sua ha mai letto Carmilla. *Alza la zampa*
Carmilla è la novella più famosa uscita dalla penna di questo autore. Le Fanu, assieme a Coleridge e Polidori, è il precursore della figura del vampiro moderno visto come un essere mefistofelico, pieno di un fascino oscuro, attraente e maledetto. No, comunque neanche allora i vampiri erano Mary Sue o Gary Stu, quindi non cercate giustificazioni.
Un oscuro scrutare è per la prima volta tradotto e pubblicato interamente in Italia,...more
Vishy
In ‘Middlemarch’, at one point, George Eliot starts a chapter (Book III, Chapter XXIX, first paragraph, in case you are interested) with this sentence : “One morning, some weeks after her arrival at Lowick, Dorothea…”. And then immediately she asks – “but why always Dorothea? Was her point of view the only possible one…?” And then she promptly goes on to tell us about other characters and Dorothea doesn’t make an appearance for a long while. Something similar happened to me when I was trying to...more
Bookhode
I liked how this collection of stories (actually 3 short stories and 2 novellas) grew in importance and dread towards the end of the book.

It starts off with a strange introductory tale about a young priest who used green tea to effectively open his third eye, but that only led to his possession by an evil spirit, insanity and death. What I found interesting here was Le Fanu's scientific approach in explanation of the phenomenon, and the fact that the main character had no chance in his battle wi...more
Lee Foust
Some of the best ripping yarns of one Anglo-Irish mid-century Victorian weaver of ghost, adventure, and vampire tales. Perfect for the winter weather; perfect for those rainy, dark, and dimly-lit chilly days and nights beneath the eiderdown, warm drink in hand, in my late 19th century Continental European digs. Ah, you see, atmosphere is everything here, there, in both tale told and in the setting of one's reading. The mists swirl and the first-person narrators stand clueless before all-too-obvi...more
Matt
the first three short stories are really quite enjoyable (Green Tea being the real stand-out), but it's the final two stories that really did it for me.

the framing device -- that these are the lightly edited case-notes of the famed Dr. Hesselius -- was fun, even if it seems somewhat silly and cliched now. i started reading this when i went to Dublin for the weekend, and my wandering around the Georgian streets gave an interesting dimension to The Familiar.

The Room in the Dragon Volant was probab...more
J.M. Hushour
Framed as the 19th century equivalent of 'The Ghostbusters' (Who ya gonna call? Dr. Hesselius!), these five stories are presented as 'case studies' of the occult and are treated with a subtle hue of skepticism that doesn't detract from them completely. The first three stories are largely unremarkable, if prettily written, gothic tales where 'visitants' annoy, pester, and finally drive to death/insanity their victims. Nothing special. The longest, 'The Room in the Dragon Volant' which is up for o...more
J.L. Dobias
Dec 05, 2013 J.L. Dobias rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Paranormal mystery lovers
Shelves: book-shelf-11
In A Glass Darkly by Sheridan Le Fanu

Through a glass, darkly (1 Corinthians 13)

I enjoyed these stories and of course this includes Carmilla which I've already spoken about. The other stories here often come close to making me ask what's the the point. But these are early ghost stories that set the template for many of the strange stories I read in my youth and so I think I understand a bit about the stories.

The first volume of a three volume set that I downloaded has three short stories that wou...more
minnie
Mar 11, 2008 minnie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Dracula, Gothic novels or horror in general
The five stories in this collection by the Irish author Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu are all presented as case histories of Dr. Martin Hesselius (His conclusions are somewhat bizarre, especially in the case of Green Tea).The first story Green Tea is a chilling tale of a good man being terrorized by a horrible phantom- I don't want to give away what form this takes- who eventually urges him to self-destruction.The scene where he first sees this creature in an empty omnibus on a lonely road is extremel...more
Debbie
This book is a collection of six Victorian ghost/horror stories first published in 1872. Though the stories were predictable, I reminded myself of the time period during which these stories were first published.

I enjoyed Green Tea (I can still see the monkey’s eyes!), The Familiar (What a way to go completely mad!), and my favorite, Carmilla (the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula??). Though the story was interesting, The Room in the Dragon Volant was my least favorite. The story was quite l...more
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Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu was an Irish writer of Gothic tales and mystery novels. He was the premier ghost story writer of the nineteenth century and had a seminal influence on the development of this genre in the Victorian era.
More about Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu...
Carmilla Uncle Silas Best Ghost Stories of J. S. Le Fanu Madam Crowl's Ghost & Other Stories Green Tea and Other Ghost Stories

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“What a fool I was! and yet, in the sight of angels, are we any wiser as we grow older? It seems to me, only, that our illusions change as we go on; but, still, we are madmen all the same.” 12 likes
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