A Beleaguered City And Other Tales Of The Seen And The Unseen

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Canongate Books, Jul 1, 2010 - Fiction - 420 pages
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Edited and introduced by Jenni Calder. Haunted by a sense that the living and the dead are separated by no more than a narrow and disputed borderland, the tales that Margaret Oliphant liked to call her ‘stories of the seen and the unseen’ are now recognised as among the most remarkable explorations of the supernatural to appear in Victorian times. A prolific writer with many novels to her name, Margaret Oliphant could produce her few supernatural tales ‘only when they came to me’. And they came with the twilight uncertainties and the philosophical depth of ‘The Library Window’, or with the extraordinary vision of purgatory imagined as modern city life mixed with metaphysical terror in ‘The Land of Darkness’ or in A Beleaguered City, her extraordinary short novel of the returning dead. Like the old Scottish ballads where the dead and the living rub shoulders, these remarkable tales are among Oliphant’s finest work, mixing the subtlety of Henry James with the uncanny strangeness of George MacDonald or David Lindsay.
 

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Contents

A Beleaguered City
1
The Secret Chamber
107
Earthbound
137
The Open Door
171
Old Lady Mary
211
The Portrait
275
The Land of Darkness
313
The Library Window
363
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About the author (2010)

Margaret Oliphant Wilson Oliphant (née Margaret Oliphant Wilson) (4 April 1828 - 25 June 1897), was a Scottish novelist and historical writer who married her cousin, Frank Wilson Oliphant. Oliphant's first novel was published in 1849, Passages in the Life of Mrs. Margaret Maitland. The book dealt with the Scottish Free Church movement. Oliphant, during an often difficult life, wrote more than 120 works, including novels, books of travel and description, histories, and volumes of literary criticism. Among the best known of her works of fiction are: Adam Graeme (1852), The Marriage of Elinor (1892), The Ways of Life (1897). She died at Wimbledon, London, on 25 June 1897.

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