The Door of the Unreal (1919) by Gerald Biss

Werewolves … Have We Forgotten to be Afraid of Them?

Mystery and Imagination

Door of the Unreal 1

“I, a strange American in London, advancing a theory so bizarre as to astound even the heads of Scotland Yard!”

A classic of werewolf fiction, this was crime writer Gerald Biss’s only supernatural novel. Having greatly admired Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), Biss uses a similar technique of presenting a casebook of ‘evidence’ to place an ancient evil convincingly within a thoroughly modern England. In doing so, Biss turns the werewolf into a threatening symbol of a regressive past, returning to invade a progressive, modern civilization in which urban expansion is on the increase and whose symbol is the ubiquitous motor car. As with Stoker’s vampire Biss’s werewolf is also a figure of the invading foreigner. The theme is especially resonant in Biss’s novel which, in the immediate aftermath of the First World War, presents its readers with a band of British and American allies who come together to fend off…

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