The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories

The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories

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The Victorians excelled at telling ghost stories. In an age of rapid scientific progress the idea of a vindictive past able to reach out and violate the present held a special potential for terror. Throughout the nineteenth century fictional ghost stories developed in parallel with the more general Victorian fascination with death and what lay beyond it. Though they were as much a part of the cultural and literary fabric of the age as imperial confidence, the best of them still retain their original power to surprise and unsettle. The editors map out the development of the ghost story from 1850 to the early years of the twentieth century and demonstrate the importance of this form of short fiction in Victorian popular culture. As well as reprinting stories by supernatural specialists such as J. S. Le Fanu and M. R. James, this selection also emphasizes the key role played by women writers - Elizabeth Gaskell, Mrs Craik, Rhoda Broughton, and Charlotte Riddell, among many others - and offers one or two genuine rarities for the supernatural fiction enthusiast to savour. Other writers represented include Charles Dickens, Henry James, Wilkie Collins, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and R. L.
Stevenson. The editors also provide a fascinating introduction, detailed source notes, and a chronological list of ghost stories collections from 1850 to 1910.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 528 pages
  • 128 x 192 x 34mm | 381.02g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0192804472
  • 9780192804471
  • 189,986

Table of contents

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Review quote

a fat collection of some 31 tales, with a knowledgeable and useful introduction ... What is most fascinating about these stories is the indirect picture of Victorian life they give ... this mammoth Oxford volume illustrates the richness of that lamented literary harvest. * Financial Times * In the midst of life we are in death' had real meaning for the Victorians, so perhaps it's not surprising that they excelled at ghost stories. Here are 35 of the best of them. * Books * Gripping tales perfect for reading aloud. * Independent on Sunday * Cox and Gilbert's canny rummagings into the spooky annals of a century or so ago unearth some relishable lesser-known blood-curdlers ... Victorian Ghost Stories contains a tremendous clutch of tales and, as the era nears its end, they tighten their gruesome grip. * Sunday Times * you'll want nothing more than morning to come darned quick * SHE * finely produced * Times Literary Supplement * the perfect literary shop of horrors * The Observer * the genuine article, not an anthology that crumbles at a touch ... This is an anthology far larger than its 500 pages, for it will have readers hastening to a decent library to follow up the authors here sampled. * Daily Telegraph * splendid collection...Just the thing for long dark evenings. * Andrew Langley, Bath & West Evening Chronicle * They have produced a thoroughly eclectic sampling of the era. * Evening Standard * Review from previous edition The Oxford editors have tried to be comprehensive, to map out the development of the Victorian ghost story from c.1850. As a result, they have given us some gems. * Daniel Easterman, Books *
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About R. A. Gilbert

Michael Cox is Senior Commissioning Editor, Reference Books, at OUP and is currently compiling The Oxford Chronology of English Literature on a freelance basis. His previous books include A Dictionary of Writers and Their Works, The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories, and The Oxford Book of Twentieth-Century Ghost Stories.
R. A. Gilbert is a well-known antiquarian bookseller and a world authority on the historiography of esoteric thought in general, and on the occult currents of the nineteenth century in particular.
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Rating details

817 ratings
4.1 out of 5 stars
5 38% (311)
4 40% (325)
3 17% (142)
2 4% (30)
1 1% (9)
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