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Walter De-La-Mare

Walter John de la Mare, OM, CH (1873 – 1956) was an English poet, short story writer, and novelist. He is probably best remembered for his works for children and for his poem “The Listeners.” He also wrote some subtle psychological horror stories, amongst them “Seaton’s Aunt” and “Out of the Deep.” His 1921 novel Memoirs of a Midget won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction and his post-war Collected Stories for Children won the 1947 Carnegie Medal for British children’s books.

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The Return: Mystifying and challenging, but not without its rewards

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The Return by Walter de la Mare

In Prague-born author Franz Kafka’s 1915 novella The Metamorphosis, a man named Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning and discovers that he has somehow been transformed into a cockroach. But this, it seems, was not the first time that a human being had undergone a baffling overnight transformation. I give you, for example, British author Walter de la Mare’s novel The Return, which was initially published in 1910, when the author was 37 and just recently retired, and which subsequently saw two revised editions, in 1922 and ’45. To tell you the truth, I’m really not sure which version of this classic tale of psychic possession I just experienced, but can say that it was in a Dover edition that came out in 1997, with a scholarly introduction by S.T. Joshi. And I can also say that my uncertainty as to wh... Read More