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A Case of Eavesdropping & The Other Wing — Algernon Blackwood

A Case of Eavesdropping & The Other Wing   Algernon Blackwood is one of Britain’s great unheralded champions of the literary imagination. His short stories give profound and unsettling insight into the human condition at the beginning of the 20th century. As these stories suggest, he had a miraculous ability to conjure up immediately adjacent… Read More

The Story of an Hour & The Storm — Kate Chopin

The Story of an Hour & The Storm   The writing of the relatively unknown Kate Chopin is typified by a silent gymnastics of the spirit. In the most constrained of circumstances, it is women who must exert the most extreme mental and emotional athleticism to survive, even thrive. The storm will one day pass.… Read More

The Door in the Wall & The Flowering of the Strange Orchid — HG Wells

The Door in the Wall & The Flowering of the Strange Orchid   We cannot think about the future without first thinking of HG Wells. And yet we miss a huge amount of our understanding of him without understanding also the urgency of his imagination and his profound sympathy for those for whom imagination is… Read More

The Horla & The Inn — Guy de Maupassant

The Horla & The Inn   Guy de Maupassant can quite easily be credited with creating the modern short story. He understood first that the form tracked and even second-guessed the evolving study of psychology and evolutionary biology in his time. He was a writer who prefigured all and still speaks – in his solipsism-… Read More

The Singular Speculation of the Housing Agent & The Invisible Man — GK Chesterton

The Singular Speculation of the Housing Agent & The Invisible Man   Are we working from home or are we living from work? If the paradoxes of our time are to be unpicked then we will need to turn to the subtle empiricism of a writer like GK Chesterton. These two stories brilliantly examine what… Read More

Room in a Tower & Philip’s Safety Razor — EF Benson

Room in a Tower & Philip’s Safety Razor   EF Benson was a writer whose popularity in his lifetime – he was published by Mills and Boon – belies a remarkable formal sophistication. Simultaneously deploying repetition as a literary device and examining its psychological impact, he conjures up both terror and farce in these two… Read More

The Shunned House and The Temple — HP Lovecraft

The Shunned House and The Temple   HP Lovecraft presents one of the great conundrums of our time: a deeply unpleasant racist who wrote superlative stories in which the sordid details of our current existence; the squalid artefacts of our specific place, are suddenly made meaningless by a glimpse into a terrifying, timeless sublime. Author… Read More

The Bet & The House with the Mezzanine — Anton Chekhov

The Bet & The House with the Mezzanine   A pair of Chekhov’s most uncomfortable short stories: the first is a highly pertinent concept-led tale and the second is a more naturalistic dilemma, set in a house that is both an oasis of culture and a metaphor for the closely corralled world of the Russian… Read More

The Furnished Room & The Cop and the Anthem — O Henry

The Furnished Room & The Cop and the Anthem   Along with Damon Runyan, O. Henry wrote fables of New York in its youth. Amidst the ribaldry and manic energy, the latter captured some of the extreme loneliness that huge expansion causes. Henry’s two stories – minor masterpieces of empathy – capture his pertinence to… Read More

The Yellow Wallpaper & The Rocking Chair — Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper & The Rocking Chair   The real purpose of our confinement may be as hidden as we are. In these stories, the American writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman describes the growing obsessions of a woman with the interior decor of a rented house and two men with a woman in a rocking chair.… Read More
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