28 December 2011
A True Relation of the Apparition of One Mrs. Veal (etc etc), by Daniel Defoe (maybe)
I downloaded the free version of this on amazon. Which was neat, because it included Walter Scott's Afterword, which turns out to be the best part of the book (book might be putting it generously - the whole thing can't be more than 20 pages). The story itself is pretty stock - Mrs Veal, who is dead, comes over to a friend's house and chats with her for awhile, in the process mentioning that Drelincourt's Book of Death is a very accurate characterization of the afterlife. The story itself is pretty stock, but becomes much more entertaining once Walter Scott tells you that the whole thing is meant to be a commercial for that Drelincourt book. What is also really interesting to me about the Walter Scott portion is that he sort of genially mocks the people of "back then" for being taken in by the hoax, but also says that the book is so well written that it's almost hard not to believe it, and that if something like that ever would happen, it would be described in exactly that way. De-lightful.