The English Ghost: Spectres Through Time

The English Ghost: Spectres Through Time


By (author) Peter Ackroyd

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  • Publisher: CHATTO & WINDUS
  • Format: Hardback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 146mm x 198mm x 28mm | 380g
  • Publication date: 8 November 2010
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0701169893
  • ISBN 13: 9780701169893
  • Sales rank: 84,232

Product description

The English, Peter Ackroyd tells us in this fascinating collection, see more ghosts than any other nation. Each region has its own particular spirits, from the Celtic ghosts of Cornwall to the dobies and boggarts of the north. Some speak and some are silent, some smell of old leather, others of fragrant thyme. From medieval times to today, stories have been told and apparitions seen - ghosts who avenge injustice, souls who long for peace, spooks who just want to have fun. "The English Ghost" is a treasury of such sightings - which we can believe or not, as we will. The accounts, packed with eerie detail, range from the door-slamming, shrieking ghost of Hinton Manor in the 1760s and the moaning child that terrified Wordsworth's nephew at Cambridge, to the headless bear of Kidderminster, the violent demon of Devon who tried to strangle a man with his cravat and the modern-day hitchhikers on Blue Bell Hill. Comical and scary, like all good ghost stories, these curious incidents also plumb the depths of the English psyche in its yearnings for justice, freedom and love.

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Author information

Peter Ackroyd is an award-winning historian, biographer, novelist, poet and broadcaster. He is the author of the acclaimed non-fiction bestsellers London: The Biography and Thames: Sacred River as well as biographies of Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Charles Dickens, William Blake, Wilkie Collins, Thomas More and, most recently, Charlie Chaplin. He has won the Whitbread Biography Award, the Royal Society of Literature's William Heinemann Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Guardian Fiction Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award and the South Bank Prize for Literature. He holds a CBE for services to literature.

Review quote

"Ackroyd's tales of ghosts are all the more touching for the common humanity of the awestricken witnesses - labourers and vicars, nurses and seamstresses - striving to describe the indescribable. Funny, bizarre and frightening by turns, this is a rich and compelling assembly of stories for winter nights." -- Rebecca Stott New Statesman "Ackroyd remains a spectral presence throughout, appearing now and then to introduce a story" -- Edward King Sunday Times "To spend time with this compact, handsome volume in the darkening nights of autumn is to lay oneself open to feelings of persistent disquiet...It represents Ackroyd's latest exploration of interests that have dominated his professional life: the weird, promiscuous mingling of present, past and future which he perceives to be threaded through human existence." -- Jonathan Barnes TLS