The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales

The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales

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The Gothic tale has been with us for over two hundred years, but this collection is the first to illustrate the continuing strength of this special fictional tradition from its origins in the late eighteenth century. Gothic fiction is generally identified from Horace Walpole's Castle of Otranto and the works of Ann Radcliffe, and with heroes and heroines menaced by feudal villains amid crumbling ruins. While the repertoire of claustrophobic settings, gloomy themes, and threatening atmosphere established the Gothic genre, later writers from Poe onwards achieved an ever greater sophistication, and a shift in emphasis from cruelty to decadence. Modern Gothic is distinguished by its imaginative variety of voice, from the chilling depiction of a disordered mind to the sinister suggestion of vampirism. This anthology brings together the work of writers such as Le Fanu, Hawthorne, Hardy, Faulkner, and Borges with their earliest literary forebears, and emphasizes the central role of women writers from Anna Laetitia Aikin to Isabel Allende and Angela Carter. While the Gothic tale shares some characteristics with the ghost story and tales of horror and fantasy, the present volume triumphantly celebrates the distinctive features that define this powerful and unsettling literary form.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 560 pages
  • 128 x 196 x 36mm | 580.6g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reissue
  • 0199561532
  • 9780199561537
  • 140,648

Table of contents


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Review quote

Review from previous edition the perfect book to put beside the bed of a timorous guest you wish would go home The Economist a sumptuous spread of eeriness, horror and decay, plus an astute introduction that lays bare the gothic's vitals...there will be something in this book to chill the blood of any reader. John Carey, Sunday Times Armed with this anthology...the faint-hearted connoisseur can make his way down the gloomy halls and secret passageways of the genre. Peter Ackroyd, The Times this is a generous selection from the eighteenth century up to the present day ... Deliciously unsettling. The Observer

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