Image Gallery of the Week: Kisses

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of our readers!  We may have gone quiet for a while, but we’ve not been idle – just busy working on a few new projects. As an apology, please enjoy a selection of our favourite kisses from Flickr Commons!  Some of these are quite romantic… others, not so much.  (Perhaps…

Quotation of the Week: Impressions of Ireland

This week’s quotation is provided by Sydney Owenson/Lady Morgan’s The Wild Irish Girl: A National Tale  (1806). Fed up with his son Horatio’s  feckless behaviour, The Earl of M dispatches him to Connaught where he hopes he will focus on his legal studies. Upon his arrival in Dublin, Horatio writes a letter to a friend to share his initial impressions of Ireland… “…I feel the…

Images of the Week: “A Hymn to the Moon”

In honour of this week’s supermoon,  we have uncovered some beautiful moonscapes from the British library and the Internet Archive. They are reproduced below alongside Lady Wortley Montague’s (1689-1762) fitting poem “A Hymn to the Moon” from the 1805 collection, Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montague, written during her travels in Europe, Asia, and Africa. A HYMN TO THE…

Charlotte Riddell’s Weird Stories

Although the Halloween season on the blog is coming to a close, we couldn’t resist posting one more  19th-century ghost story – this time by Charlotte Riddell. Born in County Antrim in 1832, Charlotte Cowan moved to London with her mother after her father’s death. Much of her early work was published under the pseudonym F.G Trafford and…

A Thrilling Dublin Tale of Shapeless Terror

This week, we’ve decided to reproduce a tale of Dublin haunting from one of the best ghost-story writers of the Victorian era, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-1873). His tale of terror, An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street was originally published in Volume 42 of the Dublin University Magazine in December 1853. The version here comes from Project Gutenberg’s digitisation…

6 Vintage Halloween Costumes to Frighten and Confound

1. Bat-Woman: The creation of this costume involves some amateur taxidermy but the end result may (or may not) be worth it – just look at that headpiece. 2. Spring-heeled Jack: Impress your friends with a costume inspired by an obscure figure from English folklore and Victorian periodical culture! 3. Little Demon: This is a scaled-down version of…

John William Polidori’s The Vampire

John Polidori’s The Vampyre is often heralded as the first modern vampire story. It was written during the young doctor’s stay in a rented villa near Lake Geneva alongside Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary (Godwin) Shelley and Claire Clarmont in June of 1816, (during the year without a summer). While there, Byron challenged each of his guests to…

Image Selection of the Week: The Countess of Munster’s Ghostly Tales

This week’s image selection is taken from  Ghostly Tales – an 1896 collection by the Countess of Munster, Wilhelmina Fitzclarence. While the eleven supernatural stories vary in terms of quality, they are accompanied by some wonderfully atmospheric illustrations of ghostly visitation. You can view an edition scanned by the British library here.

Your 1920s Guide to Halloween Party Planning

Plan an authentic 1920 Halloween party with the help of Dennison’s Bogie Book! “Why not invite your friends to a Hallowe’en party and join the fun of trying some of the time-honored ways of finding out what the future holds in store?”  Step 1: Decorate your venue with an inordinate amount of crepe paper. Step 2: Entertain…

“On Hallow-Mass Eve the Night-Hag will ride”

In Sir Walter Scott’s Waverley  (1814), a book often heralded as one of the first historical novels, Edward Waverley pays a visit to the Baron of Bradwardine at Tully-Veolan. While there, the Baron’s daughter, Rose Bradwardine sings a haunting ballad about “a projecting peak of an impending crag” that had acquired the strange name of ‘Saint Swithin’s Chair.’ Saint…

Six Great 19th Century Novel Bakes

  There are 62 references to cake so far in our 19th- century corpus, ranging from Jane Eyre’s slightly depressing “oaten-cakes” (also found in Shelley’s Frankenstein) to the more lavish offerings of plum-cake, plum-pudding, tea-cake, sponge-cake, and cheese-cake that appear in works by Dickens, Le Fanu and others. Here are a few of the most famous – although…

Image Collection of the Week: A Fleet of Sailing Ships

Today’s image collection comes in honour of that most solemn and dignified of annual celebrations: Talk Like A Pirate Day. And what better source of swashbuckling quotes is there than Robert Louis Stevenson’s formative pirate novel Treasure Island?  Not only has this work given us such celebrated tropes as “Shiver my timbers!”, “Yo-ho-ho and a…