‘The Judge’s House’ by Bram Stoker **** (Reading Ireland Month)

The next Irish story I read for Reading Ireland Month, hosted by Cathy746books and The Fluff Is Raging, is Bram Stoker’s The Judge’s House.

Bram Stoker is mostly well-known for his gothic horror novel Dracula, a tale which has inspired numerous adaptations in many artistic media. The story of Count Dracula is known by pretty much everyone nowadays, regardless of them being fans of the horror genre or not.

3014867-M Dracula‘s immense success, however, has resulted in Stoker’s other stories to be rather neglected and not so widely read. The Judge’s House is a short story, first published in a magazine called Holly Leaves the Christmas Number of The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News in 1891. The story was not published in book form during Stoker’s lifetime, since it was included in the short story collectionย Dracula’s Guest and Other Weird Stories merely two years after his death, in 1914.

The story begins when Malcolm Malcolmson, a university student, decided to move into a rather old and abandoned house in a small English village in order to find some peace and quiet to concentrate on his studies. He rents the house for some months, despite the horrified looks on everyone’s face when he tells them about his decision.

Things go smoothly at first, as he manages to get a lot of his studying done (and drink quite generous amounts of tea in the process), but it is not long before strange things begin happening. The sudden appearance of rats in the house, the creepy and dusty portraits that loom over him and the unexplained presence of a hanging rope beside the fireplace are just some instances.

Since it is a short story, I do not want to get into much detail and give it out. I really enjoyed reading this, as it contained all the Victorian gothic and horror elements that I adore in such stories. Stoker’s writing is really captivating and it manages to keep you at the edge of your seat until you finally find out what happens.

On a side note, the edition I got of this story is a really pretty one belonging to the Travelman Short Stories, by Travelman Publishing. It does not have the format of a regular book, but rather that of a map. You open it like a map and read each page as it unfolds. I thought it to be an excellent and really innovative idea – traditional books are always beautiful but such unconventional formats are really refreshing once in a while. I also have one more short story by this series, William Trevor’s The Summer Visitor, which I will be reviewing in the next couple of days.

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8 thoughts on “‘The Judge’s House’ by Bram Stoker **** (Reading Ireland Month)

    • Thank you, Alex ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s a really quick and fun read, so I definitely think you should give it a try ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • I didn’t know of its existence either until I came across it in the bookshop. Oh yes, ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ was so brilliantly spooky! Your Gothic course must have been so much fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. Having just read Dracula, I’d be interested in reading Stoker’s short stories now. Only “problem” is… I want a copy of the edition you have. A fold-out format? Brilliant idea!

    • It is so very pretty indeed! I’m pretty sure you can order a copy online if you can’t find it in your local bookshop – it was really cheap, about 1 euro, and I think they even have boxsets with other short stories as well ๐Ÿ™‚ Do let me know what you thought of it when you get around to reading it ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Hi Akylina! I really really adore Dracula so it was really great to hear about another horror short story written by Stoker as well! Thanks for brining it to my attention! Sincerely, Nora

    • Hi Nora! You’re very welcome ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you get to read this story soon, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

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