The Haunted Man
15.2 x 10.9 cm. exclusive of frame
Dickens's The Haunted Man and The Ghost's Bargain — A Fanncy for Christmas Time, The Pears' Centenary Edition, vol. 5, frontispiece.
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As he fell a musing in his chair alone, the healthy holly withered on the wall, and dropped — dead branches.
As the gloom and shadow thickened behind him, in that place where it had been gathering so darkly, it took, by slow degrees, — or out of it there came, by some unreal, unsubstantial process— not to be traced by any human sense, — an awful likeness of himself!
Ghastly and cold, colourless in its leaden face and hands, but with his features, and his bright eyes, and his grizzled hair, anddressed in the gloomy shadow of his dress, it came into his terrible appearance of existence, motionless, without a sound. As heleaned his arm upon the elbow of his chair, ruminating before the fire, it leaned upon the chair-back, close above him, with itsappalling copy of his face looking where his face looked, and bearing the expression his face bore.
This, then, was the Something that had passed and gonealready. This was the dread companion of the haunted man! ["Chapter One: The Gift Bestowed," p. 42, 1912 Pears edition]
The short title on page 15 ("The Haunted Man") is augmented by a direct quotation beneath the actual whole-page illustration: "As he leaned his arm upon the elbow of his chair, ruminating before the fire, it leaned upon the chair-back, close above him" (adapted from page 42). Reacting to the elegant psychomachia wreath design of Sir John Tenniel, Green imparts a certain dreaminess to the chemistry professor lost in a reverie before thefire. No warring goblins surround the wistful, middle-aged university teacher; rather, Green highlights his face by throwing the rest of the picture into deep shadow. Since readers of 1912 would have been inclined to interpret the story as a psychological parable rather than a ghost story, Green's stripping away the metaphysical components of the original designs makes complete sense: this is a "post-Freudian" Haunted Man. And whereas Tenniel had shown the malevolentspirit bending over, as if whispering in Redlaw's ear, Green has the Doppelganger duplicate exactly Redlaw's posture in the upper body; although the phantom is evidently standing behind Redlaw's arm-chair, the spirit's legs and feet dissolve into the darkness behind his chair.
Stripping the scene of the metaphysical dimension, Green invests both the original and his double with a melancholic turn of the head, although he misses the sinister quality in the phantom that, for example, Harry Furniss retains in The Phantom, a closeup of the careworn college professor and his sardonic spiritual double.Green draws the eye down toward the pool of firelight at Redlaw's slipperedfeet, suggesting that the creature's origins lie in the gazer's memories andimagination. In his costume and physiognomy, Green's Redlaw is very muchthe upper-middle-class natural philosopher, but his inactivity, his ruminativenature, is uncharacteristic of this well-known type. There is nothing in thisdespondency to indicate Tenniel's psychological or Manichaean conflict between the dualistic forces of good and evil in the lives of humanity.
The two original illustrations of this moment in the 1848 edition of the novella — Sir John Tenniel's wreathed image of Redlaw and the Phantom in the Frontispiece and John Leech's first contribution, a full-page vignette on page 34 that presents the Doppelganger scene in Redlaw's book-lined study — Redlaw and the Phantom — invest the double with supernatural force almost entirely lacking in the 1912 Green frontispiece. E. A. Abbey in the Harper and Brothers American Household Edition presents no such other-worldly visitation, but Fred Barnard in the Chapman and Hall Household Edition volume of 1878 does present graphically Redlaw's second dramatic confrontation with the hovering, malignant spirit in "Chapter 3: The Gift Reversed," "You speak to me of what is lying here," the Phantom interposed. Whereas Tenniel's Redlaw merely possesses a receding hairline, Furniss's exhibits an advancing baldness, thereby accentuating his forehead and imparting to him an intellectual aspect appropriate to Dickens's only intellectual character. In this respect, Green's somewhat elderly Redlaw is different in that, although white, his hair is abundant, curly, and long. The Green composition, like the Furniss illustration of just two years earlier, might be termed a "dark plate" in imitation of the engravings of Phiz in Bleak House since only the faces of Redlaw and the Phantom are lit. The melodramatic darkness of the 1848 illustrations is displaced in Furniss and Green by something less theatrical and more natural, perhaps even more psychological. In Green's composition, everything surrounding the figures is devoid of books and other academic properties, emphasizing Redlaw's alienation.
The image that most closely corresponds to Charles Green's naturalistic treatment is one that he likely never saw, the frontispiece for The Christmas Books in the New York "Household Edition" (1861-70) by Felix Octavius Carr Darley — As he leaned his arm upon the elbow of his chair, ruminating before the fire (1861).
Relevant Illustrations from the 1846 and later Editions
Left: John Tenniel's atmospheric study of Redlaw and his ghostly double, looking into the fire, Frontispiece. Right: Harry Furniss's more realistic treatment of the same notion, The Phantom, possesses that later illustrator's characteristic sense of humour. [Click on images to enlarge them.]
Dickens, Charles. The Haunted Man; or, The Ghost's Bargain. Illustrated by John Leech, Frank Stone, John Tenniel, and Clarkson Stanfield. London: Bradbury and Evans, 1848.
___. The Haunted Man. Illustrated by John Leech, Frank Stone, John Tenniel, and Clarkson Stanfield. (1848). Rpt. in Charles Dickens's Christmas Books, ed. Michael Slater. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971, rpt. 1978. Vol. 2, p. 235-362, 365-366.
___. The Haunted Man and The Ghost's Bargain. A Fancy for Christmas Time. Illustrated by Charles Green, R. I. London: A & F Pears, 1912.
___. Christmas Books. Illustrated by Sol Eytinge, Jr. The Diamond Edition. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1867.
___. Christmas Books, illustrated by Fred Barnard. Household Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1878.
___. Christmas Books, illustrated by A. A. Dixon. London & Glasgow: Collins' Clear-Type Press, 1906.
___. Christmas Books. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. London: Educational Book, 1910.
___. Christmas Stories. Illustrated by E. A. Abbey. The Household Edition. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1876.
___. The Haunted Man. Christmas Stories. Illustrated by Felix Octavius Carr Darley. The Household Edition. New York: James G. Gregory, 1861. Vol. 2, 155-300.
Last modified 21 June 2015