All Souls’ Day (November 2) had a special meaning for Edith Wharton. In 1935 she dedicated her memoir, A Backyard Glance, to “the friends who every year on All Souls’ Night come and sit with me by the fire.” Remembering dear ones was an annual custom for Wharton. Writing on All Souls’ night in 1921 she led off her litany of “all my dead” with her childhood nurse, “my darling Doyley,” and included Henry James and Howard Sturgis.

Over the course of her life Wharton moved from having a phobic terror of an “undefinable menace” to becoming one of literature’s most accomplished practitioners of the ghost tale. (from article "What All Soul's Day meant to Edith Wharton" from the Library of America reader's Almanac)

A thin moon faints in the sky o’erhead,
And dumb in the churchyard lie the dead.
For it’s turn of the year and All Souls’ night,
When the dead can hear and the dead have sight.

Shandon Loring, live in voice.

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