COLLECTION by Arthur Machen
INTRODUCTION by James Machin
PUBLICATION Tartarus Press
Jacketed Hard Cover - ISBN 978-1-905784-81-3 [£35]
The Cosy Room and Other Stories is a collection of Arthur Machen’s short stories curated by John Gawsworth (aka Fytton Armstrong) in 1936. As well as exhuming some very early tales published in the first half of the 1890s, Gawsworth included Machen’s decadent prose poems from Ornaments in Jade, and later work commissioned by Lady Cynthia Asquith for collections such as The Ghost Book(1926) and Shudders (1929).
Among other curious items, The Cosy Room collected ‘The Islington Mystery’, an account of the likely murder of a taxidermist’s wife by her husband that, as James Machin writes in his Introduction, ‘wouldn’t be out of place in Borges’s A Universal History of Infamy.’ But the highlight of the collection is ‘N’, the only original contribution to The Cosy Room, and perhaps the most interesting and thought-provoking story of Arthur Machen’s later career. ‘ “N” … is a distillation of many ideas he had previously explored, but they are perhaps more perfectly expressed in this tale than in any other.'