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Irish Gothic: The Ghost Stories of J S Le Fanu

3 Oct

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-1873) was a ghost story writer who left an impressive legacy – any author who M R James says “stands absolutely in the first rank as a writer of ghost stories” demands to be taken seriously. J S Le Fanu was born in Dublin, the grandson of the famous playwright, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and eventually became a journalist in his native city. After graduating at Trinity College Dublin (which was later to become the alma mater of that other master of the macabre, Bram Stoker), Le Fanu was called to the bar but never practised, for he saw a career in writing as his true calling. He had been fascinated by Irish folklore, with its tales of ghosts and hauntings, from an early age and he soon produced a vast body of novels and short stories which earned him an early comparison with Edgar Allan Poe.

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