Classic Horror Lovers discussion

In a Glass Darkly
This topic is about In a Glass Darkly
44 views
Tales to Chill Your Blood Reads > Tales to Chill Your Blood Anthology Group Read: In a Glass Darkly by Sheridan LeFanu *Spoilers*

Comments Showing 1-26 of 26 (26 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (last edited Sep 29, 2017 03:21PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
Our 2017 Tales to Chill Your Blood October/Halloween Group Read will be the Anthology of stories by J. Sheridan Le Fanu, In a Glass Darkly.

For those of us who will read the stories online, here is a list of the stories in this volume:



"Green Tea"
"The Familiar"
"Mr. Justice Harbottle"
"The Room in the Dragon Volant"
"Carmilla"

This book is available for free via Project Gutenburg:
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/37174...



message 2: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (last edited Oct 06, 2017 09:20AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
I will try to post prompts for questions for each story. Feel free to reply to them with questions or comments you'd like to make as we read the stories.

Tentatively, we could split the stories into weeks or you could read them as you'd like.

Week 1: "Green Tea"
Week 2: "The Familiar"
Week 3: "Mr. Justice Harbottle"
Week 4: "The Room in the Dragon Volant"
Week 5: "Carmilla"



Quirkyreader | 5 comments I hope everyone likes "Green Tea". That one is a massive creeper.


message 4: by Laurel (new)

Laurel (elizabethlavenza) Got my copy set aside!


Charles (scatterhell) | 3 comments Carmilla is one of my all time favorites


message 6: by Robert (new) - added it

Robert (robertdavies) | 1 comments I'd love to take part! I'll start the book later this week.


message 7: by Werner (new)

Werner If we follow the tentative schedule suggested in message 2, "Mr. Justice Harbottle" won't be discussed at all (and it's one of three in this collection that I've actually read). Personally, I'd be inclined to favor letting each person taking part in the read do so at his/her own speed, and allowing the discussion to be more open-ended.

Besides "Mr. Justice Harbottle," I've read "Green Tea" and Carmilla (if anyone's interested, my review of the latter is here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... ). This month, I'll be tied up reading a couple of other books; but I'll try to contribute to the discussion of the selections that I've read.


message 8: by Werner (new)

Werner It turns out that I've read "The Familiar," too! I just didn't recognize it at first by its title. So the only story in the collection that I haven't read is "The Room in the Dragon Volant."

"Volant," BTW, means "flying or nimble." My guess would be that the Dragon Volant means an inn named after the picture on its signboard (as inns generally were in Le Fanu's time) of a flying dragon.


message 9: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new) - rated it 3 stars

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
Werner wrote: "If we follow the tentative schedule suggested in message 2, "Mr. Justice Harbottle" won't be discussed at all (and it's one of three in this collection that I've actually read). Personally, I'd be ..."

That was a mistake on my part. I will alter the schedule. Sorry about that.


message 10: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new) - rated it 3 stars

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
Thoughts on Green Tea?


Randolph (us227381) Don’t drink too much of it, it will give you reflux.


Quirkyreader | 5 comments Be very careful not to pass any odd little things with red eyes while walking at night.


message 13: by Werner (new)

Werner "Green Tea" is certainly a more memorable tale than "The Familiar," and the two stories do share a similarity in that the author concentrates heavily on the psychological effects of the phenomena on the haunted person, rather than just on descriptions of the manifestations themselves. (E. F. Bleiler, a distinguished literary critic of supernatural fiction, sees this as a significant difference between Le Fanu and other Victorian writers of supernatural tales, and a mark of his superiority; but I haven't read enough of the work of the latter to assess that myself.)

There is, though, a significant conceptual difference between the two stories. The protagonist of "Green Tea" just has a susceptible nervous system which, under the stimulus of the heavy caffeine content in green tea, can see the demonic beings that surround us but which most people can't perceive. He's not suffering from moral guilt. But in "The Familiar," Captain Barton is pursued by an avenging ghost with a grudge against him personally, for guilty actions that he did, and knows to be guilty. That gives the two works a different moral atmosphere and message.

Dr. Hesselius, of course, appears in both stories. Some have suggested that this character is literature's first "occult detective." But, IMO, in the stories I've read where the doctor figures, his function is just to be a listening ear for haunted characters to tell their stories to, and a collector of occult lore. His role is passive, not active like that of true occult detective characters like Carnacki or Flaxman Low, who get out of the office, take on supernatural baddies on their own turf, and actively thwart them. Where he appears, Hesselius has more in common with figures like Irving's Geoffrey Crayon or Diedrich Knickerbocker: a filtering narrative voice to add, to use Irving's term, "resonance" to the tale.


message 14: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new) - rated it 3 stars

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) wrote: "Thoughts on Green Tea?"

I've read this one before. This time I listened, and the listening experience was pretty rich, even with the mechanical Kindle voice. It's fairly horrible what this poor guy was experiencing. This vision seemed to be wearing down his will until he couldn't take it anymore.

Interesting observation: I didn't drink green tea around the 1st time I read this, and now I do, so it's kind of funny to think that I might be susceptible to this thinning of the veil. :)


message 15: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new) - rated it 3 stars

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
Comments/Questions about "The Familiar"?


message 16: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new) - rated it 3 stars

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
Werner, I agree with you comments on Hesselius. To me, he seems like more of a plot device and a way to construct a frame story around interconnected stories. I would have liked to see him interact more in the narrative.


message 17: by Robert (new)

Robert Kratky (bolorkay) | 14 comments Where can I find a free copy of "Carmilla", online?

Thank You


Quirkyreader | 5 comments Robert,

Try Project Gutenberg or feed books.


message 19: by Werner (new)

Werner Robert wrote: "Where can I find a free copy of "Carmilla", online?

Thank You"


Here's the Project Gutenberg link: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/10007


message 20: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new) - rated it 3 stars

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
What did you guys think about Mr. Justice Harbottle?"


message 21: by Werner (last edited Oct 18, 2017 06:56AM) (new)

Werner "Mr. Justice Harbottle" is one of my favorite (in fact, probably my top favorite!) among Le Fanu's short stories; Carmilla is really more of a novella. It's an example of one of the basic story-line types in supernatural fiction, in which supernatural agency functions as an instrument of justified retribution on a very unlikable character, a motif that I happen to like (I think it appeals to my sense of justice); and it's a very effective and original treatment of the theme, with the explicit use of the milieu of the court system --the locus where justice is actually supposed to be meted out.


message 22: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new) - rated it 3 stars

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
Werner wrote: ""Mr. Justice Harbottle" is one of my favorite (in fact, probably my top favorite!) among Le Fanu's short stories; Carmilla is really more of a novella. It's an example of one of the basic story-lin..."

I agree with you on liking the concept of supernatural justified retribution, Werner. I think this was a very well-written story.


message 23: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new) - rated it 3 stars

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) wrote: "Comments/Questions about "The Familiar"?"

I thought it was okay. I am not a big fan of the plot twist of gas lighting. I hate how it seemed like the main character was going crazy. Also, I wasn't sure if he had abused the ghost's daughter or if he stopped abuse of the daughter by the man who became his tormentor. If the latter, than I didn't like that he was being stalked.


message 24: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new) - rated it 3 stars

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
How are you liking The Room in the Dragon Volant"?


message 25: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new) - rated it 3 stars

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
It's the final full week of the read. Let's talk about Carmilla.


message 26: by Werner (new)

Werner Danielle, you ought to link to your own excellent review of Carmilla here! (Or with your permission, I'd be glad to do it for you if that would save you some time.)


back to top