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Old 9th April 2012, 12:22 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Lady Cynthia Asquith

I meant to post something on this a few days ago, and didn't find the time to look up the list, but...

I was wondering who here has read any of Cynthia Asquith's ghostly tales? Though I don't believe she is particularly well known today, I would say that at least some of her stories deserve to be mentioned as examples of the form as a fine art, most notably (in my estimation) "'God Grante That She Lye Stille'", a tale which has haunted me for more than four decades. (Elspeth Clewer remains one of my favorite characters of all time -- not that one can particularly like her, but she is certainly memorable; something of a feat, given her rather elliptical presence throughout the tale!)

In his Sixty Years of Arkham House, S. T. Joshi had this to say:

Quote:
This British author and editor (1887-1960) is better known for her anthologies, including three volumes of The Ghost Book (1927, 1952, 1955). Her own tales, however, are distinguished by delicate characterization and occasionally powerful weird effects.
-- p. 39

He also notes that the the book under discussion (This Mortal Coil) has had no reprints as such, but that her later collection What Dreams May Come (1951) reprinted several, though leaving out two and adding a new one.

The contents of This Mortal Coil are:

"In a Nutshell"
"The White Moth"
"The Corner Shop"
"'God Grante That She Lye Stille'"
"The Playfellow"
"The Nurse Never Told"
"The Lovely Voice"
"The First Night"
"The Follower"

More information on her work can be found here:

http://homepages.pavilion.co.uk/users/tartarus/a18.htm
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Old 10th April 2012, 01:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Lady Cynthia Asquith

Yet another thread I wish I could add something to. On the other hand, thanks, J.D. for alerting me to her stories. Looking through the ISFDB I see a few anthologies I own but haven't read with stories by Lady Asquith. Before long, I'll try to remedy that.


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Old 11th April 2012, 05:38 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Lady Cynthia Asquith

You're welcome.

My first exposure to her was in an old children's book I acquired when I was ten, titled More Tales to Tremble By (edited by Stephen P. Sutton), which also introduced me to the work of H. Russell Wakefield ("The Red Lodge"), Saki ("Sredni Vashtar"), Perceval Landon ("Thurnley Abbey"), William Hope Hodgson ("The Voice in the Night"), August Derleth ("The Extra Passenger"), M. R. James ("Casting the Runes"), and Margaret Irwin ("The Book"). Very few of these have suffered over the years; if anything, they have tended to grow with me, and Asquith's story (which also had a rather good adaptation on the old Thriller series hosted by Boris Karloff) certainly ranks high among them.
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