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Basil Davenport – Tales To Be Told In The Dark

Posted by demonik on September 8, 2007

Basil Davenport (ed.) – Tales To Be Told In The Dark (Faber: undated. Originally Dodd Mead, 1953)

A selection of stories from the great authors, arranged for reading and telling aloud

Basil Davenport – On Telling Stories

W. F. Harvey – The Beast With Five Fingers
Stephen Hall – By One, By Two, By Three
Saki – Sredni Vashtar
Lord Dunsany – The Two Bottles Of Relish
Margaret Irwin – The Book
John Collier – Thus I Refute Beelzy
James Thurber – The Whip-Poor-Will
Arthur Machen – The White People
Lafcadio Hearn – Mujina
Saki – The Open Window
Anonymous – Two Anecdotes
Anonymous – The Closed Cabinet
Basil Davenport – The Closed Cabinet, Retold

Davenport includes notes on all of the stories, many of which will be familiar (the Hall and Dunsany horrors were revived by Van Thal and the Saki brace turn up just about everywhere). The editor does a fine job but the final three items – especially the two versions of The Closed Cabinet (Victorian melodrama minus the drama) – are something of a waste. As E. F. Bleiler puts it: Davenport, recognizing that “The Closed Cabinet” is cumbersome, badly plotted and barely intelligible, has shortened the narrative greatly and reworked the story. It was not worth the effort.

Davenport also edited Ghostly Tales To Be Told (Dodd Mead, 1950) and Deals With The Devil (Dodd Mead, 1958).

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