The Death Spancel


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The Death Spancel by Katharine Tynan

Swan River Press – Oct 2021 – 199 pages

“Come to me, a lonely ghost, / Out of the night and rain.” – “The Ghost”

Katharine Tynan is not a name immediately associated with the supernatural. However, like many other writers of the early twentieth century, she made numerous forays into literature of the ghostly and macabre, and throughout her career produced verse and prose that conveys a remarkable variety of eerie themes, moods, and narrative forms.

From her early, elegiac stories, inspired by legends from the West of Ireland, to pulpier efforts featuring grave-robbers and ravenous rats, Tynan displays an eye for weird detail, compelling atmosphere, and a talent for rendering a broad palette of uncanny effects.

The Death Spancel and Others is the first collection to showcase Tynan’s tales of supernatural events, prophecies, curses, apparitions, and a pervasive sense of the ghastly.


“Introduction” by Peter Bell
“The First Wife”
“The Dead Mother”
“The Sea’s Dead”
“The Dead Tryst”
“The Death Spancel”
“The Death-Watch”
“The Ghosts”
“A Bride from the Dead”
“Miss Mary”
“The Ghost”
“A Sentence of Death”
“The Dead Coach”
“The Body Snatching”
“The Spancel of Death”
“The Dream House”
“The Call”
“A Night in the Cathedral”
“The Little Ghost”
“The Little Ghost”
“The Picture on the Wall”
“The Fields of My Childhood”
“Sweet Singer from Over the Sea”
“Ghost Story of a Novelist”

Katharine Tynan (1859-1931) was born in Dublin and raised at Whitehall, the family home in Clondalkin. Her literary salon there attracted notables such as W. B. Yeats, with whom she formed a lifelong friendship. Tynan became a prolific writer, authoring more than a hundred novels in addition to memoirs and numerous volumes of poetry. Her works deal with feminism, Catholicism, and nationalism — Yeats declared of her early collection Shamrocks (1887) that “in finding her nationality, she has also found herself”.

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Hardcover, Trade paperback


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