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Ritual and Other Stories
Introduction by R.B. Russell
'The Flower-Tunicked Priest of Nightmare', Arthur Machen (1863-1947) is best known for his horror and supernatural fiction and has been a cult writer since the 1890s. The publication of this revised third edition of Ritual and Other Stories reflects the continued interest in Machen's work, and collects together his more elusive short fiction. Through the publication of Ritual and its companion 'best of' volume Tales of Horror and the Supernatural, Tartarus has now reissued all Machen's short stories in accessible form.
As R.B. Russell writes in his new Introduction, 'the great strength of Ritual is that it spans Machen's career and thus reveals his development as a writer'. As well as two early pieces from the 1880s, Ritual contains from the 1890s stories that compare well with Machen's better-known decadent work, such as The Great God Pan. These include the exquisite prose-poem 'Rus in Urbe' (1890), and the stories from the Ornaments in Jade collection, written in the 1890s but not published until 1924. Machen's much underrated later work is represented by, amongst others, 'The Tree of Life' (1936), 'one of the most sympathetic stories Machen ever wrote', and the title story 'Ritual', which although written in 1937 'could have been penned at any time in his career, and is undeniably Machen at his best'.
Ritual & Other Stories contains: The Priest and the Barber, The Spagyric Quest of Beroaldus Cosmopolita, The Town of Long Ago, Candletime, Cidermas, Over the Gate, Of the Isle of Shadows, A Further Account of the Academy of Lagado, Tales from Barataria, Sir John's Chef, Rus in Urbe, By the Brook, The Autophone, The Brook Farm, A Remarkable Coincidence, A Double Return, A Wonderful Woman, The Lost Club, An Underground Adventure, Jocelyn's Escape, The Red Hand, The Rose Garden, The Turanians, The Idealist, Witchcraft, The Ceremony, Psychology, Torture, Midsummer, Nature, Holy Things, The Young Man in the Blue Suit, The Soldiers' Rest, The Monstrance, The Dazzling Light, The Little Nations, The Men from Troy, The Light That Can Never Be Put Out, Drake's Drum, A New Christmas Carol, 7B Coney Court, Munitions of War, The Gift of Tongues, The Islington Mystery, Johnny Double, The Cosy Room, Awaking, Opening the Door, The Compliments of the Season, The Dover Road, The Exalted Omega, The Tree of Life, Out of the Picture, Change, Ritual.
'Stories of the macabre exert their pull from Hallowe'en onwards, such as the stories of Arthur Machen, republished by Tartarus Press in handsome editions, made for reading by a flickering fire.' Suzi Feay, The Independent (29/10/05)
'If you want an overall picture of Machen the man . . . secure a copy of Ritual from Tartarus while stocks last.' Reggie Oliver, All Hallows
'Offering genuine emotion and passages that reach the ecstasy for which Machen so often attained, Ritual and Other Stories delights and disturbs in equal measure, embodying within its bewitching narratives an alchemist's brew of wisdom and wonder.' William P. Simmons, Cemetary Dance
Copyright Tartarus Press 2021