Traces of Light and Dark: History, Memory, and Landscape in the Ghost Stories of E. F. Benson

Heholt, Ruth ORCID logoORCID: (2022) Traces of Light and Dark: History, Memory, and Landscape in the Ghost Stories of E. F. Benson. In: 'Reading the Trace in Modern and Contemporary Fiction', edited by Rosario Arias and Lin Pettersson,. Gylphi Press., Canterbury UK, pp. 15-32. ISBN 978-1-78024-100-5

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Abstract / Summary

Cornwall itself signifies a trace to the ghost story writer E. F. Benson. A young contemporary of M. R. James (they knew each other and Benson attended his readings), Benson spent much of his childhood in Cornwall in a ‘perfectly lovely house’ (Masters 1991: 44) just outside Truro where his father was Bishop. Benson’s Cornish ghost stories start with the trace of memory and often nostalgia. His tales come from within – from his intimate knowledge of Cornwall as a child. Yet they are written from without; he had been living away for many years when he wrote the stories. In this way, his tales involve a re-turning, a remembering and themselves constitute a trace of the past and of his personal experience. Of over fifty ghost stories, there are only six located in Cornwall, but these form distinctive set. Benson has a very specific view of Cornwall, the Cornish and its landscape. This chapter examines his visions of what he calls ‘that soft remote Lotus-land’ (2012: 593). Yet not all is soft here and there is not only granite lying just beneath the surface.

Item Type: Book Section
ISBN: 978-1-78024-100-5
Subjects: Writing & Journalism > Literature > English Literature
Writing & Journalism > Literature
Writing & Journalism
Courses by Department: The School of Writing & Journalism > English & Writing
Depositing User: Ruth Heholt
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2023 09:56
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2023 09:56


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