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"Fitz-James O'Brien is the most important figure after Poe and before Lovecraft in modern horror literature . . . and [was] imitated by such authors as Ambrose Bierce, Guy de Maupassant, and F. Marion Crawford." Jessica Amanda Salmonson "Fitz-James O'Brien was the most distinguished short story teller between Edgar Allan Poe and Bret Harte." Edward J. O'Brien
"[When O'Brien] turned to science fiction & fantasy he begin to display the full force of his truly outstanding talents." Sam Moskowitz
"O'Brien's early death undoubtedly deprived us of some masterful tales of strangeness and terror." H.P. Lovecraft
For the first time, all the major writings of Fitz-James O'Brien will be published in a multi-volume edition. This is an important publishing event, making the writings of this long-lost nineteenth-century Irish-American writer available to the public in a uniform and scholarly edition.
Fitz-James O'Brien (1826/8-1862) came to the United States from Ireland in 1852 looking to make his way in the literary world. With impressive recommendations in hand, he had no trouble finding work and immediately started editing and publishing stories and poetry, along with other things, in some of the most influential magazines of the day. When the Civil War began, he joined the Union army and was fatally wounded in 1862. H.P. Lovecraft said of O'Brien, in his important survey of supernatural literature, Supernatural Horror in Literature, "O'Brien's early death undoubtedly deprived us of some masterful tales of strangeness and terror."
O'Brien is one of the most important American writers in between the first and the second half of the nineteenth-century. His short stories follow the same natural and supernatural horror, philosophical observations of human nature, and social criticisms as those of the great American triumvirate - Irving, Hawthorne, and Poe. It was Poe that had a particularly strong influence on his writing, but the influence of all three of these writers can be seen in his stories.
This is the third volume of an anticipated five-volume edition of The Collected Writings of Fitz-James O'Brien. This volume will include all his poetry and music. For the introduction of these volumes, William Winter's sketch of O'Brien (from the introduction of the first collected edition of his works) has been included. Volume One will include all his short stories from the periods 1851 - 1855. Volume Two will include all his short stories from the periods 1856 through 1862, the year of his death. Volume Four will include miscellaneous writings, including the complete "The Man About Town" series, and other journalism, as well as the novella "The Phantom Light" and his popular play, "A Gentleman from Ireland." And Volume Five will include all biographical material about O'Brien.
A Bit O'Irish Press is pleased to offer the writings of this important Irish-American writer of supernatural and weird fiction.