Published by Wakefield Press. By Michel de Ghelderode. Introduction and translation by George MacLennan.
Hitherto unavailable in English, Spells, by the Belgian dramatist Michel de Ghelderode, ranks among the 20th century’s most noteworthy collections of fantastic tales. Like Ghelderode’s plays, the stories are marked by a powerful imagination and a keen sense of the grotesque, but in these the author speaks to us still more directly. Written at a time of illness and isolation, and conceived as a fresh start, Spells was Ghelderode’s last major creative work, and he claimed it as his most personal and deeply felt one: a set of written spells through which his fears, paranoia and nostalgia found concrete form.
By turns mystical, macabre and whimsically humorous, and set in the unsettled atmosphere of Brussels, Ostend, Bruges and London, Spells conjures up an uncanny realm of angels, demons, masks, effigies and apparitions, a twilit, oppressed world of diseased gardens, dusty wax mannequins and sinister relics.
Combining the full contents of both the 1941 and 1947 editions, this translation of Spells is the most comprehensive edition yet published.
Michel de Ghelderode was born in Brussels in 1898. After nearly a decade of penning fiction, drama, literary journalism and puppet plays, in 1926 he began to write almost entirely for the theater and the following ten years saw the creation of most of his major plays. After 1936 he suffered from poor health and his involvement with the theater diminished. In the later 1940s, performances of his plays in Paris sparked a major awakening of interest in his work. Ghelderode died in 1962; the interior of his apartment, packed with books, pictures, puppets and masks, has been reassembled in Brussels as the Musée-Bibliothèque Michel de Ghelderode.
Published by Reel Art Press. By Christopher Frayling.
Frankenstein lives! 200 years of the book, the movies and the monster in pop culture and beyond
On New Year’s Day 1818, Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein was first published in an anonymous three-volume edition of 500 copies. Some thought the book was too radical in its implications; a few found the central theme intriguing; no-one predicted its success.
Since then, there have been many, many adaptations—120 films alone, at the last count—on screen, stage, in novels, comics and graphic novels, in advertisements and even on cereal packets. From a Regency nightmare, Frankenstein became a cuddly childhood companion—thoroughly munstered, so to speak. The story has been interpreted as a feminist allegory of birthing, an ecological reading of mother earth, an attack on masculinist science, the origin of science fiction, an example of “female gothic,” a reaction to the rise of the industrial proletariat and much else besides. Frankenstein lives! The F word has been applied, since the 1950s, to test-tube babies, heart transplants, prosthetics, robotics, cosmetic surgery, genetic engineering, genetically modified crops and numerous other public anxieties arising from scientific research. Today, Frankenstein has taken over from Adam and Eve as the creation myth for the age of genetic engineering.
This book, celebrating the 200th birthday of Frankenstein, traces the journey of Shelley’s Frankenstein from limited-edition literature into the bloodstream of contemporary culture. With text by renowned Gothic scholar Sir Christopher Frayling, it includes new research on the novel’s origins; a facsimile reprint of the earliest-known manuscript version of the creation scene; visual material on adaptations for the stage, in magazines, on playbills, in prints and in book publications of the 19th century; visual essays on many of the film versions and their inspirations in the history of art; and Frankenstein in popular culture—on posters, advertisements, packaging, in comics and graphic novels.
America's decoration frenzy: graveyard cemeteries, ghosts, guillotines, skeletons in coffins, dismembered body parts, giant spiders and creatures turn up on the front lawns and exteriors of suburban homes in America every year. Families across the country decorate and stage their porches and gardens with horror themed scenes to celebrate Halloween on October 31st. In 1984, American artist Cameron Jamie started photographing these front exteriors in his old neighborhood in a suburban area of Los Angeles. Even while living full-time in France for the past fifteen years, Jamie continued to travel back to Los Angeles each year, just to continue this photographic ritual. One aspect of what makes these photographs extraordinary is the fact that they were all shot during the day rather than at night, which changes the meaning and whole context of how we normally perceive the horror and death culture surrounding Halloween. Thus, Front Lawn Funerals and Cemeteries is not a book about Halloween, but rather about the opposing tensions of themes and imagery of death staged in these daylight domestic environments, between feelings of something at once very calm, humorous, violent, and uncanny.