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DARK DOMAIN, 2nd Ed. (Dedalus European Classics) Paperback – February 25, 2015

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Editorial Reviews


'Grabinski's commitment to a marriage of the newly announced unconscious with the supernatural gives his extravagances some conviction. These short stories offer the pleasure of myths we can crack and skilfully chilling denouements.' David Buckley in The Observer

'Psycho-fantasies, doom-saturated tales of lonely men lost in hostile terrain, but the melancholy lifts to provide wonderful odd scenes, like the watchmaker whose death stops all the town clocks and the phantom train that always turns up unannounced, surprising the station staff' Time Out

'Stories that brilliantly convey his love of supernatural horror. It is not the horror of haunted houses or castles, but that found in everyday modernity around him. In this dark selection, lonely souls travel on trains, coming face to face with sinister conductors and wanton women.' The Herald --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Stefan Grabinski (1887-1936) is considered Poland's greatest writer of fantastic fiction. He suffered from tuberculosis of the bone and his sickly nature, coupled with an introspective disposition, led to him to write. He published his first collection of stories, On the Hill of Roses in 1918, followed by The Motion Demon in 1919 and The Book of Fire in 1922.

Miroslaw Lipinski is a writer and translator. He is of Polish descent and lives in New York.

Madeleine Johnson Madeleine Johnson after a career in bookselling works in publishing as an editor.


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Product Details

  • Series: Dedalus European Classics
  • Paperback: 100 pages
  • Publisher: Dedalus Limited (February 25, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903517419
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903517413
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,823,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Gregg Zimmerman on October 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
Great horror story writers have a unique imaginative inner vision that distinguishes them from other writers. Stories by Poe, Lovecraft, Arthur Machen, and W. H. Hodgson could have come only from them. Stefan Grabinski is one of the great ones. His work reflects bizarre personal obsessions that recur throughout his tales: the metaphysical meaning of fire; trains as a symbol of the vast, implacable power that machines give man over his surroundings and also of man's relentless journey to who knows where; strange sexual phantoms that emerge from either unplumbed dimensions or from man's own twisted pshyche. These stories are gripping, haunting, and have the power to pull you into Grabinski's warped but somehow universal reality and to keep a part of you there long after you have turned the last page and read the last word. As with the other great horror story writers, Grabinski's inner demons make a connection with each of his reader's inner demons and create an indelible impression.

My favorite of the stories in the collection is "Fumes", but the others are all strangely great and compelling as well. Two other exquisite Grabinski tales are unfortunately not in this book. However, English translations of "The Dark Hamlet" can be found in "The Dedalus Book of Polish Fantasy", and "The White Wyrak" can be found in "100 Creepy Little Tales". I look forward to the day when all of Grabinski's horror shorts are available in English translation.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Flippy on February 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
I read this book in an evening. The stories are intoxicating, grim, beautiful and pensive. Grabinski's world is filled with foreboding, the sensual one step away from the macabre. For me, Dedalus continues to be the most reliable source of the ghoulish and supernatural in literary European fiction. This book is its own reward. (However...I seem to get a little sad after finishing a great read - story collections like this are few and far between. Each story is worth a second, if not a third, fourth or fifth read.)

As for the author: Stefan Grabinski was relatively unknown in his native land, fantasy writing at the beginning of the 20th century was not especially popular amongst the Polish reading public. He died in near obscurity. Thankfully, his works have been revisited by a new generation of readers. Roman Polanski, the controversial filmmaker has been said to be inspired by the Grabinski' horror style. Stanislaw Lem, the great Polish sci-fi author is a big fan of his works.

Reading through this collection, you might see the world with Grabinski-esque glasses - I don't think I'll be able to look at trains, snow drifts, empty houses and watchmakers in the same light. (I also recommend the story collections of Bruno Schulz, they are very comparable to Grabinski's work.)

Once again, Dedalus delivers.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
For everyone interested in fantasy in its purest state this is a gemm. This anthology mixes the many themes that cross the polish author's short stories. The pure horror, the ghost story, the surrealist (before its time), really erotic images, all of this with just enough hints of a certain modernism or post-modern that rends the stories an extra quality.
It's a must and will certainly fill a gap on fantasy literature.
The train stories are just amazing - This guy wrote one collection of stories just around trains he worked with the modern concept of speed as a moto for the future society which would be obliterated by it... I wonder if he didn't just get it right...
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Simon Murphy on September 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
Every so often, I stumble across a writer who has the power to genuinely thrill, horrify and tantalize.

In my teens in began with my first ecstatic reading of Poe, and with discovery of H.P. Lovecraft following shortly after with comparably potent effect. The stories of Grabinski likewise have the power to engage the reader's imagination and evoke a curious blend of horror and wonder - a skill very few writers have mastered.

Grabinski's tales are suffused with dark symbolism, strange fluctuations of consciousness, and a pervasive sense of surrounding evil. Unlike many other early weird writers, Grabinski's horror taps into the primal sexuality of the subconscious to cultivate a surreal and disturbing morass of disturbing psychological interactions. The only other weird writer comparable to Stefan Grabinski is the similarly underappreciated fiction of Robert Aickman (if you only read one story, read 'The Inner Room' - possibly the creepiest tale in literary history).

Anyone who enjoys the fiction of Poe, Lovecraft, Arthur Machen, M.R. James, W.H. Hodgson, and Algernon Blackwood owe it to themselves to check out Stefan Grabinski. Consider yourself lucky to have happened upon one of the lesser known gems of weird horror/fantasy!
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By Steven Davis on April 9, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The Dark Domain is a collection of Stefan Grabinski’s short stories. There is quite a bit of variety here: some are macabre, some surrealistic, some ironic and some erotic. Grabinski was particularly fascinated by trains and their symbolic properties. In one story a man draws his life-force from high-speed train travel, gaining or losing energy as the train speeds and slows. Another story features a ghost train that haunts the rails of eastern Europe. Trains are places for strange encounters and bold seductions where we commit acts we would never conceive on solid ground. Other stories are more abstract and allegorical. A man’s beautiful but silent and secretive mistress stands for the act of masturbation, and an aged clockmaker represents Time itself. I didn’t find anything exceptional in this collections, but these are all good stories and worth a look if you have a taste for the bizarre.
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