Reclaimed from the sea through draining, the Fens, not unlike the Frisian region, mark a liminal space where the boundaries between the land and the sea, the earth and the sky are constantly blurred. Situated along England's largest bay, the Wash, and stretching into Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire, the Fen Country and its flat, coastal marshland have thus been prone to literary and cultural landscape constructions that highlight often uncanny notions of the in-between – where nothing is ever stable or permanent and where narratives have been fabricated to resist the constant flux of growth and decay, becoming and passing, even as they succumb to it. As a consequence, the Fens as well as other wetland regions of East Anglia have traditionally inspired three supposedly very different genre traditions: nature writing, the ghost story, and historiographic metafiction. The literary interaction between these genres, however, has shaped the idea of the Fens as a haunted country for a long time and moreover, it continues to produce ever new varieties of this regional literature, among them stories of the weird, the English eerie, new folk horror, or memoirs in which the identities of people and places are in fact inextricably intertwined.
Primary Texts (Mandatory Reading):
James, M.R. "'Oh , Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad.'" 1903. Collected Ghost Stories. Oxford: OUP, 2013. 76-93. Print.
---. "The Fenstanton Witch." (unpublished) [available online]
Johnson, Daisy. Fen. London: Vintage, 2016. Print. [selected short stories]
Malden, R.H. "Between Sunset and Moonrise." Nine Ghosts. London: Edward Arnold, 1943. n. pag. Print. [available online]
McGregor, Jon. This Isn't the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You. 2012. London: 4th Estate, 2017. Print. [selected short stories]
Parnell, Edward. Ghostland: In Search of a Haunted Country. London: William Collins, 2019. Print. [selected chapters; paperback edition available in October]
Swift, Graham. Waterland. 1983. London: Picador, 2010. Print.
Further Texts (Recommended Reading):
Sebald, W.G. Die Ringe des Saturn. 1995. Frankfurt a.M.: Eichborn, 2008. Print