Mar. 23rd, 2011

joysilence: (Default)
[personal profile] joysilence
As some of you may know, my especial favourite strand of supernatural fiction is pagan or sylvan horror. Although fear of the woods has been with us since for ever, and has always appeared intermittently in ghost stories by classic genre authors like J S LeFanu and M R James, the full-blown "pagan horror" story only really appeared at the turn of the 19th century, with the writings of Arthur Machen and later Algernon Blackwood followed by a raft of fine writing by the likes of John Buchan, Saki and Walter de la Mare in the first half of the 20th century.

But going back to the beginnings of the subgenre, we encounter an author who is often overlooked - all but unheard-of today, in fact - but who made a big splash at the time just like Machen did with the succes de scandale that was The Great God Pan (1890) I'm talking about Edgar Jepson and his 1910 novel The Garden at No.19. I first heard about this novel when John Pelan's Nightshade Press published a new edition of it a few years ago, but was sadly unable to afford a copy at the time! Luckily, a few weeks ago, Fate (or possibly Pan himself?) threw me a bone. Kessinger Publishings Legacy Reprints have now done a facsimile reprint of the first edition of The Garden... - which is available in paperback for under £10 via the Fantasticfiction website! Naturally I leaped at the chance to order it.

But was it worth the excitement? Does the novel live up to the hype? Let's find out, as they say on Blue Peter.

Pan's People )

If you want more Jepson facts check out the wikipedia page, and you can even read his most famous short story 'The Tea-Leaf' here at the Gaslight website.


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