John Steinbeck’s lost Werewolf novel discovered!

“Even a man who is pure in heart,
And says his prayers by night,
May become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms,
And the moon is full and bright.”
― Curt Siodmak

The discovery of a complete John Steinbeck novel would always be big news, but the fact that it is a werewolf novel from the time before he was famous makes it a ‘Wow’ find. Called Murder at Full Moon, despite the author’s best efforts, it failed to find a publisher when he wrote the book back in 1930.

The story is a pulp detective work set in a Californian coastal town beset by a series of gruesome murders. And is very different in style, tone and content from the works that would eventually win the Nobel prize for Steinbeck. Sadly, as yet, there is no planned publication date for the work.

Werewolves as a concept were widespread in European folklore from medieval times onwards, indeed at the same time as the notorious witch trials there were werewolf hunts. Indeed werewolves as supernatural creatures date from much earlier times and feature in many world cultures; there are a few references to men changing into wolves in ancient Greek literature. There is even reference to a potential lover jilted because she had turned her previous mate into a wolf in The Epic of Gilgamesh (the oldest known work of Western prose circa  2100 BC). They feature in several gothic horror works from the 19th century and, of course, werewolves have taken on a romantic mantle in many recent novels, inspired in part by Stephenie Meyer’s  hugely popular Twilight series of books and films.

Just remember, as they say in the fabulous What We Do in the Shadows, they are “werewolves, not swearwolves.” Below are just a few werewolf related picks from our collections.

The buried book : the loss and rediscovery of the great Epic of Gilgamesh / Damrosch, David
“Composed in Babylonia more than three thousand years ago, The Epic of Gilgamesh is the story of one hero’s travels in search of immortality, of a vengeful goddess, a cunning serpent, and a devastating flood. It was the world’s first great epic, which would later be echoed in The Odyssey, the Bible, and The Thousand and One Nights. But in 612 B.C., the clay tablets that bore the story were lost – buried in the burning ruins of the palace of Ashurbanipal, the last great king of Assyria, as his enemies laid his kingdom to waste.”(Adapted from Catalogue)

What we do in the shadows
“A comedy Horror Mocumentary by Taika Waititi set in Wellington and revolving round a group of flat sharing vampires and their adventures with amongst others Wellington based Werewolves. The film boasts great well timed humour throughout, and went on to spawn not one but two,  television series:-   one a reimaging of the movie itself the other the  Wonderful Wellington Paranormal. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

Mongrels / Jones, Stephen Graham
“Set in the deep South, Mongrels is a deeply moving, sometimes grisly, and surprisingly funny novel that follows an unnamed narrator as he comes of age under the care of his aunt and uncle — who are werewolves.” (Catalogue)

 

 

Weird women : classic supernatural fiction by groundbreaking female writers: 1852-1923
“As railroads, industry, cities, and technology flourished in the mid-nineteenth century, so did stories exploring the horrors they unleashed. This anthology includes ghost stories and tales of haunted houses, as well as mad scientists, werewolves, ancient curses, mummies, psychological terrors, demonic dimensions, and even weird westerns. Two acclaimed experts in the genre  Lisa Morton and Leslie S Klinger  compile this  brand-new volume of supernatural stories showcasing  female horror writers from 1852-1923.”  (Adapted from Catalogue)

Blood bound / Briggs, Patricia
“Jalopy mechanic and were-creature Mercedes Thompson can change into a coyote whenever she wants to. As a favor, she agrees to back up vampire friend Stefan when he confronts another of his kind. But, being demon-possessed, that vampire proves deadlier than most and before she can do anything to help, Mercedes is in the middle of a war with vampires and werewolves.” (Catalogue)

 

The bloody chamber and other stories / Carter, Angela
“The bloody chamber — The courtship of Mr. Lyon — The tiger’s bride — Puss-in-Boots — The Erl-King — The snow child — The lady of the house of love — The worewolf — The company of wolves — Wolf-Alice.” (Catalogue)

 

 

Shiver / Stiefvater, Maggie
“In all the years she has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house, Grace has been particularly drawn to an unusual yellow-eyed wolf who, in his turn, has been watching her with increasing intensity.” (Catalogue)

 

 

The last werewolf / Duncan, Glen
“Jake Marlowe has been alive too long. For two hundred years he has roamed the world, enslaved by his lunatic appetites, tormented by his first and most monstrous crime. But as Jake counts down to suicide, a violent murder and an extraordinary meeting plunge him back into the desperate pursuit of life, and the dangerous possibility of love.” (Catalogue)

 

Wolf rain / Singh, Nalini
“Kidnapped as a young girl, her psychic powers harnessed by a madman, Memory lives a caged and isolated existence . . . until she comes face-to-face with a wolf. Labelled an empath by her bad-tempered rescuer, Memory knows that her ‘gift’ is nothing so bright. It is a terrible darkness that means she will always be hunted. But Memory is free now and she intends to live. A certain growly wolf can just deal with it. Alexei prefers to keep his packmates at bay, the bleak history of his family a constant reminder that mating, love, hope is not for him, but soon, he must make a choice: risk everything or lose Memory to a murderous darkness that wants to annihilate her from existence .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Twilight / Meyer, Stephenie
“In spite of her awkward manner and low expectations, she finds that her new classmates are drawn to this pale, dark-haired new girl in town. But not, it seems, the Cullen family. These five adopted brothers and sisters obviously prefer their own company and will make no exception for Bella. Bella is convinced that Edward Cullen in particular hates her, but she feels a strange attraction to him, although his hostility makes her feel almost physically ill. He seems determined to push her away – until, that is, he saves her life from an out of control car. Bella will soon discover that there is a very good reason for Edward’s coldness. He, and his family, are vampires – and he knows how dangerous it is for others to get too close.” (Catalogue)
Click here for the availability of the film on DVD.

Gothic Revival: our selection of modern gothic novels

“Our ways are not your ways, and there shall be to you many strange things. Listen to them — children of the night. What music they make”
– Dracula referring to the howling of the wolves to Jonathan Harker.

The 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole is commonly regarded as the first ever Gothic novel and since then the genre, defined by heightened emotional states, pleasurable terror, elements of romanticism and often containing one or several of the following elements: churchyards, coffins, graveyards, skeletons or ghosts, has had enduring popularity. Some of the most iconic, popular, and influential books of all time are encompassed in its arms such as Dracula, Northanger Abbey, Rebecca Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde to name but a few. This popularity has endured and below is our very small collection of modern gothic novels for your delight, edification and to chill your blood and freeze your soul.

Beloved / Morrison, Toni
“Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has borne the unthinkable and not gone mad, yet she is still held captive by memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Meanwhile Sethe’s house has long been troubled by the angry, destructive ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Sethe works at beating back the past, but it makes itself heard and felt incessantly in her memory and in the lives of those around her.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Fledgling : a novel / Butler, Octavia E
“An apparently young, amnesiac girl whose alarmingly un-human needs and abilities lead her to a startling conclusion: she is in fact a genetically modified, 53-year-old vampire.  Forced to discover what she can about her stolen former life, she must at the same time learn who wanted–and still wants–to destroy her and those she cares for, and how she can save herself. Fledgling is a captivating novel that tests the limits of otherness and questions what it means to be truly human.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an Audiobook.

Mexican gothic / Moreno-Garcia, Silvia
“Lovecraft meets the Bronte’s in Latin America.” After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noem Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. There are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noem digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness. And Noem , mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The night circus : a novel / Morgenstern, Erin
“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. And it is only open at night. But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway–a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The shadow of the wind / Ruiz Zafón, Carlos
Hidden in the heart of the old city of Barcelona is the ‘Cemetery of Lost Books’, a labyrinthine library of obscure and forgotten titles that have long gone out of print. To this library, a man brings his 10-year-old son Daniel one cold morning in 1945. Daniel is allowed to choose one book from the shelves and pulls out ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ by Julian Carax. But as he grows up, several people seem inordinately interested in his find. Then, one night, as he is wandering the old streets once more, Daniel is approached by a figure who reminds him of a character from the book, a character who turns out to be the devil. This man is tracking down every last copy of Carax’s work in order to burn them.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell / Clarke, Susanna
The year is 1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation’s past. But scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains- the reclusive Mr Norrell whose displays of magic send a thrill through the country. Proceeding to London, he raises a beautiful woman from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French. Yet the cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of another magician- the brilliant novice Jonathan Strange. Young, handsome and daring, Strange is the very opposite of Norrell. So begins a dangerous battle between these two great men which overwhelms the one between England and France. And their own obsessions and secret dabblings with the dark arts are going to cause more trouble than they can imagine.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of leaves / Danielewski, Mark Z
“A blind old man, a young apprentice working in a tattoo shop, and a mad woman haunting an Ohio institute narrate this story of a family that encounters an endlessly shifting series of hallways in their new home, eventually coming face to face with the awful darkness lying at its heart. Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story — of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.” (Catalogue)

The secret history / Tartt, Donna
“Donna Tartt’s The Secret History is the original American campus novel. When Richard Papen joins an elite group of clever misfits at his New England college, it seems he can finally become the person he wants to be. But the moral boundaries he will cross with his new friends – and the deaths they are responsible for – will change all of their lives forever. The Secret History recounts the terrible price we pay for mistakes made on the dark journey to adulthood.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Chain-mail

Craft, it’s not just about fibres, paper and glue, but also indulges in the hard stuff.  Metals that have been beaten into panels, rolled into sheets extruded into wires and drops of solder to hold stuff together.  This post is a product of wire, consecutive loops conjoined to form chain mail that can be presented as adornment or battle dress. You probably could use #8 fencing wire if you wanted to make a colloquial statement.  Wearable Arts ideas anyone?
So break out your pliers and try your hand at a technique over 2000 years old.

Sources on library shelves vary from the practical instruction manual to visual inspiration and ideas for utilising other media.   Anticraft : knitting, beading, and stitching for the slightly sinisteroffers clear instructions in chain-mail creation.  The instructions in the back of the book can be adapted for any form you choose to assemble.
The authors have also posted more information online about chain-mail.

Chain mail jewelry is on order, so get your reserve in and be the new kid on the block with chain mail creations.   This book offers techniques and designs for links, which brings us neatly to the next book title: Links.  These techniques might be incorporated in something you’re creating that evokes the days of yore.  In fact the name chainmail dates back to the gothic revival of the Victorian era (thank you Wikipedia).

If you want some visual inspiration for a revival of your own there are some great resources to dip your senses in. The Medieval World Complete.   Another great source of visual kicks is Princely Feasts and Festivals; this portrayal of mind blowing  extravagance is worth a peek.
Often the look of an item, the visual impact doses the viewer with a package of era specific resonance.  Stage costuming often relies on audience perception rather than dutiful replication.  Piecework magazine, the January/February 2010 ‘Historical Knitting Issue’ has an article on knitting for the stage which includes a pattern for a short chain-mail hood or coif.  There’s more info on theatrical costuming and other chain-mail creations through our Ebsco databases: MasterFILE Premier.  Searching with the keywords “chain mail” brings up links to articles on mesh purses from the 1800’s to 1960’s iconic dresses.

Let us know if these ideas inspire you or if you’ve found other sources through the library for chain mail or other metal crafting. Ever seen those suitcases made from re-purposed cans?…They’re clever!