Clemence Annie Housman was born in 1861 in the United Kingdom. She is known as an author, illustrator, and suffragette. Housman worked as an illustrator, producing wood engravings for illustrated papers. In 1909, Clemence and her younger brother Laurence Housman founded the Suffrage Atelier, a company focused on producing political art for the women’s suffrage movement. As an author, Housman is best known for writing Unknown Sea (1898) and The Life of Sir Aglovale De Galis (1905). Housman’s short story “The Were-Wolf,” published in 1896, is an allegorical fairy tale. Unlike other pieces of werewolf literature, the short story features a female werewolf as the main antagonist rather than a male one. Echoing both gothic Victorian and Christian fantasy literature, “The Were-Wolf” is an alluring and frightening look into the unknown, uncontrolled, and holy.

Plot Summary

“The Were-Wolf” begins with a welcoming indoor scene of a family farm in the evening. It is winter, and the farm is on rural land surrounded by woods. The family is hard at work, with the men woodworking and the women spinning thread. The family is disturbed by a mysterious knocking upon the door, and a voice yelling, “Open, open; let me in!” The eldest brother, Sweyn, answers the door, only to find nothing there. This occurs two more times. The family’s dog, Tyr, is disturbed and howls at the voices outside. The family is frightened as they recall several ominous superstitions.

Another knock sounds on the door, but this time there is no voice. The mother suggests that it is Sweyn’s younger brother, Christian, finally coming home. Sweyn opens the door, but instead of Christian, a tall, beautiful woman dressed in white enters. Tyr leaps at her, barking, and tries to attack her, but Sweyn restrains him. The family is taken aback by the woman’s beauty and grace and the white fur...

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