The second issue of Brian J. Showers' excellent journal of writings on 'Irish Gothic, Supernatural, and Fantastic Literature' is pretty splendid.
It's always good to see Richard Dalby's name because he's one of he most knowledgeable experts on the ghost story tradition. In this issue he contributes a fascinating account of the life and works of Mervyn Wall, an author who has eluded me till now. He seems like a fascinating chap and I think I'll seek out his books, especially his mediaeval fantasies concerning an unfortunate monk.
Equally erudite is Albert Power, whose long essay 'Towards an Irish Gothic' reaches the high Romantic era and offers quite a few insights. I particularly like Power's learned but often humorous approach. Thus the author Regina Roche's novel Children of the Abbey 'displays a loose-limbed flakiness', a phrase as amusing as it is useful in genre criticism.
The big surprise of the issue (for me) was an article on Ray Bradbury. In 'The Long Reach of Green Shadows' Steve Gronert Ellerhof tackles the rather odd phase in Bradbury's screenwriting career when he was told by John Huston to go to Ireland and write a script for Moby Dick. There was, as Ellerhof observes, no legitimate reason to yank Bradbury out of Hollywood. Houston was just being massively egotistical and jerking a young author around. But Bradbury's time in Ireland did have an interesting influence on some of his later work.
Lord Dunsany was another eccentric egotist, and one whose work I must admit I find a bit difficult to get through. However, I was entertained by Nicola Gordon Bowe's essay on the eccentric baronet's collecting antics. Who'd have thought anyone could care that much about carpets?
As well as essays, The Green Book offers a very good review section, tackling an excellent range of publications. Again, much erudition and wit is on display, not least by Reggie Chamberlain-King who - to begin his review of a Rosa Mulholland collection with 'On average, one hundred and forty-four respectable authors are forgotten annually...'
I'm still working my way through the reviews, but I can highly recommend this volume on the strength of what I have read. It is good to know that the ghosts, banshees, witches, depraved monks, mad aristos, and of
course Little People of fair Hibernia are getting the attention they deserve.