A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 
Editors
 
 
  A.E. COPPARD
b.1878 d.1957
A.E. Coppard was a master of the short story, whose work is rarely overtly supernatural: but there is often nevertheless a strangeness and folkloric or wonder tale quality that is close to the borderland of that realm. Often regarded as one of the finest English short-story writers of the last century, he won high praise from eminent fellow authors. Walter de la Mare commented, "I think he has written some of the very best short stories in the English language": L.P. Hartley, Elizabeth Bowen, Rebecca West and Ford Madox Ford, amongst others, also praised him highly. He saw the short story form as "an ancient art originating in the folk tale, which was a thing of joy even before writing, not to mention printing, was invented." His own tales often do have a timeless, primeval quality.
 
Coppardís father died when he was aged nine and after that Coppard left school altogether to take up a series of low-paying jobs to help his mother eke out the family income: there were two sisters to support as well as himself. His autobiography, Itís Me, O Lord! (1957) gives a sturdy and unsentimental account of the hardships he endured. But amongst the drudgery and often some privation, Coppard fortified himself with wide reading and gradually began to get his own work accepted.
 
He wrote: "I embarked upon a literary life on the first of April 1919. I took a cottage in the country, lived sparely, and hawked my first collection of tales, Adam and Eve and Pinch Me, around the publishers." The book was eventually accepted as the first title for the fledgling Golden Cockerel Press.
 
The twelve full-flavoured, curious and highly individual stories in Adam and Eve and Pinch Me quickly achieved acclaim for Coppard and the Press, and several of them, including the title story, "Dusky Ruth", "Arabesque - The Mouse" and "Marching to Zion" have become anthology favourites. Coppardís very full and active life had given him a clear-eyed insight into the mingling of comedy and tragedy in the world. He does not shrink from portraying cruelty and the hard blows of fate, but he celebrates also the richness and quirkiness of existence. His stories usually have rural settings and characters, and draw on the Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside where he lived. Many further collections of similar enduring quality followed.
 
Fearful Pleasures is a collection of his "weird stories" which was first published by Arkham House in 1946: the first British edition followed from by Peter Nevill in 1951. In his foreword, Coppard noted that while rationally he had an absolute unbelief in the supernatural, nevertheless that had not stopped him experiencing instinctive fears when in dark and lonely corners of the countryside: and he instanced some curious encounters of his own.

Mark Valentine

 
 
Short Stories
Adam and Eve and Pinch Me, Golden Cockerel Press, 1921
(Includes Adam and Eve and Pinch Me: A fine story in which the narrator finds himself watching his as yet unborn playing. Arabesque - The Mouse: Macabre rather than supernatural, a man inflicts on a mouse the same terrible wounds that his mother died from. King of the World: A young assyrian captain enters a temple of the god Namu-Sarkkon and finds the worhippers turned to stone. While he is there a woman comes to life and explains that she is waiting for the King of the World - presumably death. Marching to Zion: A strange story full of Christian symbolism. Piffincap: A shaving mug stops the growth of hair and threatens to put a barber out of business, but it's baleful influence goes further still.)
ditto, Cape, 1921
ditto, Knopf (U.S.), 1922
 
Clorinda Walks in Heaven, Golden Cockerel Press, 1922
(Includes: Clorinda Walks in Heaven: In heaven Clorinda meets the many men she had been married to in all her previous incarnations. The Elixir of Youth: The story of a fairy bestows upon a man all that he wants but he finds that it disappears to nothing when he becomes dissatisfied with it. Another man hears the tale and when he meets the fairy he asks for the elixir of youth. When too much of it is greedily taken by another man he sees him grow younger until he finally disappears.)
 
The Black Dog and Other Stories, Cape, 1923
ditto, Knopf (U.S.), 1924
(Includes: Simple Simon: A man finds that heaven is an idealised version of his previous life. A scholar had given him a coat in which there were sins hidden in a wallet, but in heaven the scholar finds that they are no longer there. The Old Man from Kilsheenan: very borderline - two silly old lunatics escaping from an assylum mixed up in murder.)
 
Fishmonger's Fiddle, Cape, 1925
ditto, Knopf (U.S.), 1925
(Includes: Old Martin: Old Martin is upset to hear that the last person buried in the local graveyard, his niece, is meant to serve the ghosts of others, including the lascivicious Stinch.)
 
The Field of Mustard, Cape, 1926
ditto, Knopf (U.S.), 1927
(Includes: The Bogey Man: Sheila steals a little box which turns out to be the home of an evil imp, Shiloh.)
 
The Silver Circus, Cape, 1928
(Includes: The Almanac Man:. The Martyrdom of Solomon:. Polly Morgan: A splendid ghost story about missed oportunity and fate. Aunt Agatha is in love with a ghost, but her relationship is pointlessly ruined by her niece, who in turn loses her own, corporeal, lover.)
 
The Gollan, privately printed, 1929
(Including: The Gollan: The Gollan receives from a leprechaun the gift of being imperceptible except when asleep, but this has greater disadvantages than advantages. He tries exchanging senses with animals but this is worse and he returns to his former state.)
 
Fares Please! An Omnibus, Jonathan Cape, 1931
(Includes: Simple Simon: A man finds that heaven is an idealised version of his previous life. A scholar had given him a coat in which there were sins hidden in a wallet, but in heaven the scholar finds that they are no longer there. The Old Man from Kilsheenan: very borderline - two silly old lunatics escaping from an assylum mixed up in murder. The Bogey Man: Sheila steals a little box which turns out to be the home of an evil imp, Shiloh. The Almanac Man:. The Martyrdom of Solomon:. Polly Morgan: A splendid ghost story about missed oportunity and fate. Aunt Agatha is in love with a ghost, but her relationship is pointlessly ruined by her niece, who in turn loses her own, corporeal, lover.)
 
Nixey's Harlequin, Cape, 1931
ditto, Knopf (U.S.), 1932
(Includes: The Gollan. The Post Office and the Serpent: In a lake dwells a serpent which is bound there until judgement day. When a traveller passes it asks the date.)
 
Crotty Shinkwin, The Beauty Spot, Golden Cockerel Press, 1932
(Includes: Crotty Shinkwin: A fantasy in which Crotty and P.J. get their anchor caught on an island and when they try and pull it free they tip the island over. After odd adventures there they turn it the right way up and return home.)
 
Dunky Fitlow, Cape, 1933
(Includes: "Ahoy, Sailor Boy!: An entertaining and bawdy ghost story. Crotty Shinkwin.)
 
Polly Oliver, Cape, 1935
(Includes: Gone Away: An Aickmanesque story of tourists on holiday in France. After some disturbing episodes they start to disappear.)
 
The Ninepenny Flute, Macmillan, 1937
(Includes: Jack the Giantkiller. Jove's Nectar. Speaking Likeness.)
 
You Never Know, Do You? and Other Tales, Methuen, 1939
(Includes: Ale Celestial?: Barnaby Barnes learns the recipe for a wonderful ale, but then tries to adulterate it with cheaper ingredients. It tastes just as good to him, but foul to others. Rocky and the Bailiff: Rocky shows the bailiff the magic cure for cattle plague, and the Bailiff receives all the credit.)
 
Ugly Anna and Other Tales, Methuen, 1944
(Including: Cheese: Errick has stolen a recipe for cheese from a gypsy. Through magic other gypsies treat him like a mouse in a cage, and when he is finally released he is back in the time of George IV and is placed in an assylum. The Drum: Kinsella leaves his uncle to seek his fortune and stays with a giant who is keeping a Princess captive. he tries to release her but her beating of a drum causes her to be disliked and she returns to the giant, and Kinsella is unceremoniously booted home by the giant. Father Raven: At the gates of Heaven Father Raven promises that his congregation are all sinless and they are allowed to pass. In saying so, Father Raven has lied, though, and is not admitted.)
Fearful Pleasures, Arkham House (U.S.), 1946
(Includes: Adam and Eve and Pinch Me, Clorinda Walks in Heaven, The Elixir of Youth, Simple Simon, Old Martin, The Bogie Man, Polly Morgan, The Gollan, The Post Office and the Serpent, Crotty Shinkwin, Ahoy, Sailor Boy!, Gone Away, Rocky and the Bailiff, Ale Celestial?, The Fair Young Willowy Tree, Father Raven, The Drum, Cheese, The Homeless One, The Kisstruck Bogie, The Tiger, The Gruesome Fit.)
ditto, Peter Nevill, 1951
 
Dark-Eyed Lady: Fourteen Tales, Methuen, 1947
(Includes: The Kisstruck Bogey: Kisstruck tells of a haunting by a ghost that is invisible and nude. The Homeless One: An old man in an assylum who had previously tried to commit suicide believes that he may be Judas.)
 
Collected Tales, Knopf (U.S.), 1948
(Including: Adam and Eve and Pinch Me, Father Raven, Clorinda Walks in Heaven, Ahoy, Sailor Boy!.)
 
Father Raven and Other Tales, Tartarus Press (Carlton-in-Coverdale), 2006
(Including: Adam and Eve and Pinch Me: A fine story in which the narrator finds himself watching his as yet unborn playing. Arabesque - The Mouse: Macabre rather than supernatural, a man inflicts on a mouse the same terrible wounds that his mother died from. King of the World: A young assyrian captain enters a temple of the god Namu-Sarkkon and finds the worhippers turned to stone. While he is there a woman comes to life and explains that she is waiting for the King of the World - presumably death. Marching to Zion: A strange story full of Christian symbolism. Piffincap: A shaving mug stops the growth of hair and threatens to put a barber out of business, but it's baleful influence goes further still. Clorinda Walks in Heaven: In heaven Clorinda meets the many men she had been married to in all her previous incarnations. The Elixir of Youth: The story of a fairy bestows upon a man all that he wants but he finds that it disappears to nothing when he becomes dissatisfied with it. Another man hears the tale and when he meets the fairy he asks for the elixir of youth. When too much of it is greedily taken by another man he sees him grow younger until he finally disappears. Simple Simon: A man finds that heaven is an idealised version of his previous life. A scholar had given him a coat in which there were sins hidden in a wallet, but in heaven the scholar finds that they are no longer there. The Old Man from Kilsheenan: very borderline - two silly old lunatics escaping from an assylum mixed up in murder. Old Martin: Old Martin is upset to hear that the last person buried in the local graveyard, his niece, is meant to serve the ghosts of others, including the lascivicious Stinch. The Bogey Man: Sheila steals a little box which turns out to be the home of an evil imp, Shiloh.The Almanac Man:. The Martyrdom of Solomon:. Polly Morgan: A splendid ghost story about missed oportunity and fate. Aunt Agatha is in love with a ghost, but her relationship is pointlessly ruined by her niece, who in turn loses her own, corporeal, lover. The Gollan: The Gollan receives from a leprechaun the gift of being imperceptible except when asleep, but this has greater disadvantages than advantages. He tries exchanging senses with animals but this is worse and he returns to his former state. The Post Office and the Serpent: In a lake dwells a serpent which is bound there until judgement day. When a traveller passes it asks the date. Crotty Shinkwin: A fantasy in which Crotty and P.J. get their anchor caught on an island and when they try and pull it free they tip the island over. After odd adventures there they turn it the right way up and return home. "Ahoy, Sailor Boy!: An entertaining and bawdy ghost story. Gone Away: An Aickmanesque story of tourists on holiday in France. After some disturbing episodes they start to disappear. Jack the Giantkiller. Jove's Nectar. Speaking Likeness. Ale Celestial?: Barnaby Barnes learns the recipe for a wonderful ale, but then tries to adulterate it with cheaper ingredients. It tastes just as good to him, but foul to others. Rocky and the Bailiff: Rocky shows the bailiff the magic cure for cattle plague, and the Bailiff receives all the credit. Cheese: Errick has stolen a recipe for cheese from a gypsy. Through magic other gypsies treat him like a mouse in a cage, and when he is finally released he is back in the time of George IV and is placed in an assylum. The Drum: Kinsella leaves his uncle to seek his fortune and stays with a giant who is keeping a Princess captive. he tries to release her but her beating of a drum causes her to be disliked and she returns to the giant, and Kinsella is unceremoniously booted home by the giant. Father Raven: At the gates of Heaven Father Raven promises that his congregation are all sinless and they are allowed to pass. In saying so, Father Raven has lied, though, and is not admitted. The Kisstruck Bogey: Kisstruck tells of a haunting by a ghost that is invisible and nude. The Homeless One: An old man in an assylum who had previously tried to commit suicide believes that he may be Judas.)
 
 
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Page updated 2nd May 2008