Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Posts That Go Bump in the Night

We’ve not had very much to say about Halloween on NineteenTeen, mostly because it wasn’t all that much of a “holiday” to the 19th century misses we often write about....though I can't imagine that they wouldn't have enjoyed parts of it as celebrated in the 21st century.

But that doesn’t mean that our 19th century misses didn’t enjoy a shiver or two, whatever day the calendar said it was … and those shivers could generally be found in a circulating library. Spooky stories had become to come into their own in the second half of the 18th century, and authors such as Horace Walpole, Ann Radcliffe, and Matthew Lewis wrote hugely popular "horrid" fiction—stories that would eventually be gently lampooned by Jane Austen. Later in the century and up to this day, tales of ghosts and the supernatural were more likely to be popular in Britain around a different holiday; authors like M.R. James wrote ghost stories for the Christmas season that still raise goosebumps on readers today.

And, after all, maybe Halloween was not widely observed because unexplained phenomena—ghosts and other echoes of the past—are so common in Britain. When unexplained footsteps and cold drafts happen every day, who needs a special spooky holiday?

Hmm. Then again, if Reece's Peanut Butter Cups are involved, I just may have to raise my hand...


Have a sweet, shivery evening, everyone!

No comments: