Tag Archives: Barry Pain

THE OCTAVE OF CLAUDIUS (1897): HALLOWEEN READING

Balladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween continues. 

Octave of claudiusTHE OCTAVE OF CLAUDIUS (1897) – By Barry Pain. This obscure little Gothic honey is just good enough that you wish it had been better. There are so many elements that make it appealing but it falls just short of being a worthwhile read for anybody except obsessive fools like me.  

Claudius Sandell, a once-promising young man who has wound up disinherited and poverty-stricken is broken and suicidal but is saved by mad scientist Dr Gabriel Lamb. Lamb is a wealthy sadist whose macabre experiments on human beings have already cost his wife her sanity and their infant child its life.

Since Claudius feels he has nothing to lose he accepts Dr Lamb’s proposition to become his most recent human guineau pig in exchange for eight days (the “octave” of the title) with enough money to indulge himself in ways Oscar Wilde would have found gaudy and excessive. He can also pretend to be wealthy and successful to impress all the people in his life who had written him off as a failure. Continue reading

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THE WEREWOLF (1896) AND THE OCTAVE OF CLAUDIUS (1897)

WerewolfTHE WEREWOLF (1896) – By Clemence Annie Housman. Halloween month continues at Balladeer’s Blog! Here are two more neglected works of Gothic Horror, this first one features a female author writing about a FEMALE WEREWOLF so that makes it a bit special right there.

The Werewolf is set in 1890’s Denmark. Amidst werewolf attacks plaguing the countryside a Danish family finds itself being charmed by a sultry, seductive woman who calls herself White Fell. The woman travels alone by night so is obviously the werewolf at large. Unfortunately her potent beauty allays suspicion and even pits brothers Sweyn and Christian against each other.   Continue reading

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