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Synopsis

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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