“Zulalie Laila” by Regina Miriam Bloch

Here’s a situation that’s as unusual as everything else about Regina Miriam Bloch: although we used her short fable “The Swine Gods” in Weird Women, we’d still like to share this story because it merits attention as well.

As we note in the introduction to “The Swine Gods”, Bloch is probably the most enigmatic author in Weird Women. She published only two collections – The Swine Gods and Other Visions (1917) and The Book of Strange Loves (1918) – before all but vanishing. Over the next twenty years, Bloch,who had also been a popular poet and had received very favorable reviews for the two collections, would publish only a handful of reviews and poems, mainly in spiritualist or metaphysical publications. She died in London in 1939.

Both of Bloch’s books have become very rare, with copies fetching hundreds in the secondhand market. The Swine Gods is a short book made up of dreamlike fables, but the stories in Strange Loves are more traditional in form (all are historical pieces). “Zulalie Laila” paints a lovely, eerie portrait of a woman struggling to deal with her fading beauty, and the extraordinary measure she attempts to retain it.