A Phantom Lover
If you are the housewife of a very good, very kind husband, parade your bad attitude in the most careless fashion possible. Refuse to have children. Fall in love with the resident ghost. Obsess over your namesake, doppelgänger ancestor. Wear her musty clothes to the dinner party instead of the ones your husband wants you to wear. Stoke his jealousy for weeks. When he accuses you, gaslight him: "No one was walking with me near the pond, at five o'clock or any other hour." Spend your days in the yellow room, luxuriating in love letters written to your beloved murderess. Do this all while eluding the gaze of the male portrait painter, yet another man who would define you.
With echoes of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca and Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper," A Phantom Lover creates an otherworldly space for this provocative femme fatale to live and love as she pleases.
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About the Author
Vernon Lee (1856-1935) was the pen name of Violet Paget, a British author of supernatural fiction. Born in France to British expatriate parents, Paget spent most of her life in continental Europe. A committed feminist and pacifist, she joined the Union of Democratic Control during the First World War to express her opposition to British militarism. A lesbian, Paget had relationships with Mary Robinson, Amy Levy, and Clementina Anstruther-Thomson throughout her life. Paget, a dedicated follower of Walter Pater's Aesthetic movement, lived for many years in Florence, where she gained a reputation as a leading scholar of the Italian Renaissance. In addition to her work in art history, Paget was a leading writer of short fiction featuring supernatural figures and themes. Among her best known works are Hauntings (1890), a collection of four chilling tales, and "Prince Alberic and the Snake Lady," a story which appeared in an 1895 issue of The Yellow Book, a controversial periodical that featured the works of Aubrey Beardsley, George Gissing, Henry James, and William Butler Yeats. Although Paget was largely forgotten by the mid-twentieth century, feminist scholars have rekindled attention in her pioneering work as a leading proponent of Aestheticism.
". . . as dangerous and uncanny as she is intelligent . . ." --Henry James