Masters of the Weird Tale

Stefan Grabiński


“His output was eventually acknowledged as the product of a sick imagination, the bizarre work of an eccentric, maybe even a madman.” Here Grabiński not only speaks of the struggling and misunderstood writer in “The Area” but also of himself. They are the words of a man who occupied the same weird space inhabited by his absorbing creations. As an author who was often maligned and under-appreciated, his work echoed his frustrations as much as it manifested his idiosyncratic and lascivious sides that time has now vindicated.
       Translator Miroslaw Lipinski has brought out the best in this massive collection of Grabiński’s weird tales, tales that highlight the morally flawed characters of a bygone era whose redemption can only be found in a world that’s just as damaged as them. These are people driven to the brink of insanity by supernatural forces outside and within that no rational mind could explain. Both the unnamed narrator from “The Frenzied Farmhouse” and Wrzecki from “On a Tangent” fall under this spell of otherworldly authority, which beckons their hands in acts that could only satisfy a maker of vile intentions.
       Then there’s the vampiric succubi masquerading as innocent vixens who indulge in Grabiński’s devilish dalliances for physical gratification. “At Sara’s House” finds Wladek as the focus of a woman who’s already siphoned all his friend’s energy and maybe even his soul. But in “Fumes,” one of Grabiński’s most atmospheric and succinct stories, the lecherous instigator is a man who seeks refuge from the arctic night. He soon regrets the lustful impulses imparted on his gracious host.
       The locomotive as a mysterious, organic entity plowing through a misty, saturnine evening is an obsession that Grabiński approached with a spirited intensity. It features prominently in stories like “The Sloven,” “Engine Driver Grot,” “The Motion Demon,” “The Wandering Train,” and many others included in this collection. The engineers and conductors are the ambivalent trainers of this uncaged and thunderous beast, guiding their passengers through the perilous depths of Grabiński’s depraved universe.
       Call him the “Polish Poe” or the “Polish Lovecraft,” but don’t mistake Grabiński for mere parody or derivative hackwork. His is the voice of mercurial originality, evoking a cerebral and lurid sense of awakening. There’s nothing to comfort you here, if only to open your third eye and uncover the truth behind the psychosis that befalls his characters. Just don’t say you weren’t warned!

This single volume collection is enclosed in a handsome slipcase with ribbon marker and new illustrations by Piotr Jabloński. It is signed by Jabloński and Miroslaw Lipinski, who translated the works and who has written an excellent comprehensive introduction. The complete contents are shown below.
       The edition is limited to 250 signed and numbered copies, with around 100 unsigned copies.

edition information

  • Limited to 250 copies, each signed by Piotr Jabloński and translator Miroslaw Lipinski, with a facsimile signature by Stefan Grabiński.
  • Oversize at 7½ × 11 inches.
  • New introduction by Miroslaw Lipinski.
  • Slipcase, ribbon marker, head and tail bands, full color wraparound dustjacket art.
  • 648 pages.
  • Original book price: $325.
  • Published April 2022.
  • ISBN 978-1-61347-289-7.