COLLECTION by Arthur Machen
INTRODUCTION by R.B. Russell
PUBLICATION Tartarus Press
The Flower-Tunicked Priest of Nightmare', Arthur Machen (1863-1947) is best known for his horror and supernatural fiction and has been a cult writer since the 1890s. The publication of this revised third edition of Ritual and Other Stories reflects the continued interest in Machen's work, and collects together his more elusive short fiction. Through the publication of Ritual and its companion 'best of' volume Tales of Horror and the Supernatural, Tartarus has now reissued all Machen's short stories in accessible form.
As R.B. Russell writes in his new Introduction, 'the great strength of Ritual is that it spans Machen's career and thus reveals his development as a writer'. As well as two early pieces from the 1880s, Ritual contains from the 1890s stories that compare well with Machen's better-known decadent work, such as The Great God Pan. These include the exquisite prose-poem 'Rus in Urbe' (1890), and the stories from the Ornaments in Jade collection, written in the 1890s but not published until 1924. Machen's much underrated later work is represented by, amongst others, 'The Tree of Life' (1936), 'one of the most sympathetic stories Machen ever wrote', and the title story 'Ritual', which although written in 1937 'could have been penned at any time in his career, and is undeniably Machen at his best'.