Sunday 13 March 2011

Vernon Lee and the supernatural

It must have been around 1990 that I picked up a second hand copy of a 1976 re-edition of The Supernatural Omnibus by Montague Summers. In that volume he included two stories by Vernon Lee: Amour Dure and Oke of Okehurst. In his introduction he praised her work highly as stated his disappointment that she had given us no more ghost stories after 1890. I loved the two stories but it was many years later before I realized that Vernon Lee was still alive at the time Summers wrote his introduction.

Sometime in 2008 or 2009 I found out that Montague Summers' grave still existed in Richmond near London. In 2009 I visited his grave that had been nameless until a small stone with his name was erected in 1988. It can be seen on the page dedicated to Summers on this site. Earlier this year I visited Florence for the first time in my life and I finally had the chance to search for the grave containing the ashes of Vernon Lee. I didn't exactly know where to look but it was found quicker than expected. I haven't read any other story by Vernon Lee during the last twenty years. I guess it's about time to look for further supernatural fiction by her hand. :-)