Ghost Story Review: "The Ghost of Lord Clarenceux" by Arnold Bennett
March 14, 2016 9:32am CST
The narrator of this little tale is in something of a pickle. He and the ghost of Lord Clarenceux are joined in a battle of wills over the affections of one Rosetta Rosa. The narrator meets the ghost, relaxing in a chair in the sitting room outside his bedroom. The ghost seems almost to be a living man, except the narrator can see a table and the doorknob on the French doors through him. The ghost doesn’t speak. The two communicate via telepathy. Their eyes are locked. The ghost demands that the narrator release her. The narrator refuses and enters his bedroom. There, horrified at the idea of the ghost sitting in an empty room, capable of all sorts of unspeakable acts, he decides he must return. The atmosphere is heavy and gothic almost to the point of oppressive. The reader is supposed to feel for the narrator’s predicament, the threat from the malicious ghost who is described as terrible, white and who seeks to kill him. But the premise is so silly I couldn’t buy into it. Why didn’t the narrator simply stop and say, “Dude, you’re dead. The lady prefers her men have a pulse. Be a gentleman and move into the light”? This one just didn’t work for me. This story is available from Project Gutenberg in the collection The Haunters and the Haunting _____ Title: “The Ghost of Lord Clarenceux” Author: Arnold Bennett (1867-1931) First published: 1907 Source: ISFDB
3 people like this
• United States
15 Mar 16
I appreciate that you commented on the atmosphere in your review. Not everyone remarks on that aspect of a story, yet it is one of the most crucial elements. Since you say "Lord Clarenceux" is heavy on the gothic, I probably will avoid it--I prefer subtlety. Thanks!