Vernon Lee

I’ve been re-reading Lee’s Hauntings and I REALLY recommend them. 

My favourite story in particular is ‘Oke of Okehurst’ about a painter commissioned by a couple to paint their portraits (shockingly!).  Once he arrives he is immediately stuck by the wife, Alice who always seems as if she is in a distant place and mercilessly teases her husband (who is also her cousin, of course) about a murder committed by their ancestors who also share their names.  Alice is enthralled by their family’s history and even dresses in her ancestor, Alice Oke’s clothing- much to the annoyance and concern of her young husband.  

I won’t spoil the end of the story but it is a ghost story, although it makes you consider whether the ghosts are that of the past, or of our own making. 

The use of clothing as masquerade, as costume, as heirloom and as haunted item is really interesting to me and it is one of things I’m looking at in my research.  

This is the version I’m reading from; I like this one because it has a fantastic introduction by Patricia Pulham and Catherine Maxwell (you should also read Pulham’s book on Art and the Transitional Object in Lee’s fiction – the chapter ‘Madonna Portraits and medusa Mirrors’ should draw you in alone!).  Also there are some interesting essay snippets at the back, one by Lee herself writing about the Supernatural in Art. 

If anyone else has any recommendation of stories/articles/books, gothic/ghost/creepy clothing or otherwise, I would love you to share them! 

— I’ve also not forgotten about Vampire Knight and I’m going to try and get a few more episodes in this weekend with a mid-season review! 

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