“The tales of mummies, sarcophaguses and ancient curses here run the gamut from chilling horror to darkly comic.”
‘As he rushed madly and wildly through the night, he could hear a swift, dry patter behind him, and could see that this horror was bounding at his heels, with blazing eyes and one stringy arm out-thrown.‘ A mummy disappears from its sarcophagus in the dead of night; a crazed Egyptologist entombs a beautiful young woman; a student at Oxford reveals the terrible secrets of an ancient papyrus. These are among the twelve tales from the golden age of the mummy story collected here – stories that still cast a spell with their different versions of the mummy’s curse, some chilling, others darkly romantic and even comic. Including tales by major writers such as Arthur Conan Doyle and Louisa May Alcott, as well as rare discoveries unearthed for the first time in over 100 years, this enthralling collection is introduced by Andrew Smith, a leading expert on ghost stories and Victorian gothic.
Why We’re Excited About This Book:
The mummy is a somewhat neglected figure in the horror pantheon, perhaps because today’s readers saw too many episodes of Scooby Doo as children. But in Victorian and Edwardian times ancient Egypt was all the rage, as the stories collected together in this new volume from The British Library show. The tales of mummies, sarcophaguses and ancient curses here were all written between 1869 and 1910 and run the gamut from chilling horror to darkly comic. Featuring works from Arthur Conan Doyle, Louisa May Alcott, Sax Rohmer, Grant Allan and more, many of the stories here are reprinted for the first time.
Frequently based on Westerners seeking to ‘liberate’ the treasures of the Pharaohs, these stories display the British prejudices of the time. But the central characters are not portrayed uncritically either and the frequent manifestation of a ‘mummy’s curse’ is a sign that, for all they might look down on the natives, they cannot steal the wealth and jewels of another land without consequence.
Lost In A Pyramid is a fine, eclectic and surprisingly thought-provoking anthology.
“Literary Wonderlands is a beautifully illustrated book that describes the history of humanity’s imaginary worlds.”
Literary Wonderlands is a thoroughly researched, wonderfully written, and beautifully produced book that spans two thousand years of creative endeavour. From Spenser’s The Fairie Queene to Wells’s The Time Machine to Murakami’s 1Q84 it explores the timeless and captivating features of fiction’s imagined worlds including the relevance of the writer’s own life to the creation of the story, influential contemporary events and philosophies, and the meaning that can be extracted from the details of the work.
With hundreds of pieces of original artwork, illustration and cartography, as well as a detailed overview of the plot and a ‘Dramatis Personae’ for each work, Literary Wonderlands is a fascinating read for lovers of literature, fantasy, and science fiction.
Why We’re Excited About This Book:
One of the purest pleasures of reading is the sense of being transported to a different world, whether one almost like our own or a place and time utterly different. Literary Wonderlands: A Journey Through The Greatest Fictional Worlds Ever Created is a beautifully illustrated book that describes the history of humanity’s imaginary worlds, from The Epic Of Gilgamesh (1750 BC) to works by contemporary authors such as Anne Leckie and Nnedi Okorafor.
Naturally, horror and the weird are represented in such an undertaking, and Literary Wonderlands features chapters on H.P Lovecraft, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Charlotte Perkins Gillman, Borges, Kafka–not to mention the horror to be found in Dante’s depiction of Hell or the monsters of Beowulf. Each piece is accompanied by maps, artwork and commentary.
A wonderful book for lovers of the fantastic and literature of all stripes.
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