The Spell Of Shiel

It is rather quiet at Hooting Yard at the moment. Partly this is because I am recovering from the ague which felled me last week, and partly, I think, because I am reading a stout collection of short stories by M P Shiel. It is two decades since I last immersed myself in the works of that master of purple prose, but I am a sensible person, and, as Rebecca West so wisely said, “Sensible people ought to have a complete set of Shiel”. I do not own such a set, but that may be a small mercy. Reading Shiel may not exactly fuddle the brain, but I must be very careful not to try to imitate his highly-wrought outpourings when tippy-tapping my own prose. Long-time readers may recall what happened to Dobson when he fell under Shiel’s spell…


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