Posted in Female Author, Short Story

Deal Me In Lunar Extra ~ “Death And The Woman”


Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis

“Death And The Woman” by Gertrude Atherton

Card picked: A Four

From: Available at Read Book Online

Thoughts: Atherton weaves a tense tale of a woman who is waiting alone for death, or rather waiting for her husband to die. He is the victim of a wasting disease and Atherton is surprisingly frank when talking about the physicality that the man now lacks. The young woman’s thoughts wander and she becomes convinced that death personified is creeping slowly up the staircase.

There are similarities to Wharton’s “A Journey” which preceded “Death and the Woman” by two years. Both focus on the (impending) loss of a husband by a young woman and touch on the social aspects of such widowhood, though to a lesser extent in “Death and the Woman.” Both dwell on the changes in expectations as a woman goes from wife to widow.

Something that caught my attention:

How many steps had the stair? She wished she knew. No need! The colossal trampling announced the lessening distance in an increasing volume of sound not to be misunderstood.

I wonder how often female horror writers of this era (and somewhat later) investigate the cosmic, forbidden-knowledge terrors. I can’t think of too many that stray outside of the more domestic horrors, but my knowledge is extremely incomplete.

About the Author: Despite being a very prolific writer, I am not at all familiar with Gertrude Atherton. After perusing her Wikipedia entry, I’m really interested in reading her Adventures of a Novelist and wish there was a collection of her correspondence with Ambrose Bierce. Thanks to Paula Cappa for featuring Gertrude last year during Women in Horror month.