1 August 2008

Stefan Grabinski, The Dark Domain, 1993

Grabinski was an early 20th Century Polish writer who achieved brief notoriety with a few self-published collections of his own stories, before disappearing almost without trace, as he himself fully expected he would. All written between 1918 and 1922, these eleven stories are urban supernatural horrors in a fashion perhaps more populist than Lovecraft and more akin to Edgar Allan Poe, fairly straightforward in plotting and yet at the same time somehow more maverick. Best is the slightly science fictional ‘Saturnin Sektor’, in which a madman tries to kill off our concept of time and replace it with his own, but it’s the solitude and imagined-horror-made-real impact of ‘The Area’ which perhaps best expresses Grabinski’s own sense of artistic alienation. The re-emergence of Grabinski has been slow, starting in 1949 with his inclusion in an anthology of influential Polish fantasy tales, yet he’s now often mentioned in the same breath as Arthur Machen and Algernon Blackwood, and it’s not difficult to see why.  PY


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