Review of “Green Tea” (1872)


Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (writer).

Depression and delusion, or Swedenborg.

Readable as dysteleological horror, particularly in the choice of the victim, an apparently pious clergyman. However, this is part of the story’s celebrated ambiguity: In the supernatural reading, the imp, unfortunately disguised as a monkey, is targeting Mr Jennings because he is pious and the whole thing is as teleological as Paradise Lost (1667/1674). I suppose the ambiguity is celebrated in part because the sweep of its implication is that wide. It’s certainly an improvement over “The White Cat of Drumgunniol” (1870), where the titular animal appears to presage deaths in a family, and the people likewise try to ignore it.

References here: The Turn of the Screw (1898), The Babadook (2014).

text fiction