American Gothic Tales

Overview

Joyce Carol Oates has a special perspective on the “gothic” in American short fiction, at least partially because her own horror yarns rank on the spine-tingling chart with the masters. She is able to see the unbroken link of the macabre that ties Edgar Allan Poe to Anne Rice and to recognize the dark psychological bonds between Henry James and Stephen King. This remarkable anthology of gothic fiction, spanning two centuries of American writing, gives us an intriguing and entertaining look at how the gothic ...

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Overview

Joyce Carol Oates has a special perspective on the “gothic” in American short fiction, at least partially because her own horror yarns rank on the spine-tingling chart with the masters. She is able to see the unbroken link of the macabre that ties Edgar Allan Poe to Anne Rice and to recognize the dark psychological bonds between Henry James and Stephen King. This remarkable anthology of gothic fiction, spanning two centuries of American writing, gives us an intriguing and entertaining look at how the gothic imagination makes for great literature in the works of forty-six exceptional writers.

In showing us the gothic vision—a world askew where mankind’s forbidden impulses are set free from the repressions of the psyche, and nature turns malevolent and lawless—Joyce Carol Oates includes Henry James’s “The Romance of Certain Old Clothes,” Herman Melville’s horrific tale of factory women, “The Tartarus of Maids,” and Edith Wharton’s “Afterward,” which are rarely collected and appear together here for the first time.

Added to these stories of the past are new ones that explore the wounded worlds of Stephen King, Anne Rice, Peter Straub, Raymond Carver, and more than twenty other wonderful contemporary writers. This impressive collection reveals the astonishing scope of the gothic writer’s subject matter, style, and incomparable genius for manipulating our emotions and penetrating our dreams. With Joyce Carol Oates’s superb introduction, American Gothic Tales is destined to become the standard one-volume edition of the genre that American writers, if they didn’t create it outright, have brought to its chilling zenith.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In compiling 40 short stories that represent the 200-year history of "gothic" fiction in America, from Washington Irving's classic "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" to Stephen King's "The Reach," Oates employs a eclectic and elastic definition of the genre. In her cogent introduction, she writes that she sought "the range, depth, audacity and fantastical extravagance of the human imagination." The result is a tad confusing, straying as far as science fiction and surrealism, but Oates's taste in the quality of stories is always impeccable. The pieces also all share a certain darkness. Entries range from Edgar Allen Poe's sadistic "The Black Cat" to Charlotte Perkins Gilman's classic psychological horror story, "The Yellow Wallpaper." Shirley Jackson, Anne Rice and Katherine Dunn are also represented. Among the more idiosyncratic selections are Herman Melville's "The Tartarus of Maids"; Don DeLillo's beautiful tale of astronauts floating above the earth in "Human Moments in World War III"; and Paul Bowles's strange and powerful "Allal," about a Moroccan orphan boy who so identifies with a snake that they mysteriously change bodies-and meet gory fates. Fright-seekers and those with a taste for the frankly macabre might be won over by Oates's more artistic, subtle and compelling take on the gothic, where the "essential subject is the human psyche in confrontation with something divine? demonic? beyond human comprehension and control." Dec.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452274891
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/28/1996
  • Series: William Abrahams Series
  • Pages: 560
  • Sales rank: 240,868
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

In addition to many prize-winning and bestselling novels, including We Were the Mulvaneys, Black Water, and Because It Is Bitter and Because It Is My Heart (available in Plume editions), Joyce Carol Oates is the author of a number of works of gothic fiction including Haunted: Tales of the Grotesque (Plume), a 1995 World Fantasy Award nominee; and Zombie (Plume), winner of the 1996 Bram Stoker Award for Best Horror Novel, awarded by the Horror Writers' Association. In 1994, Oates received the Bram Stoker Lifetime Achievement Award in Horror Fiction. She is the editor of American Gothic Tales and her latest novel is Broke Heart Blues (Dutton). She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Charles Brockden Brown (1771-1810), from Wieland, or the Transformation
Washington Irving (1783-1859), The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864), The Man of Adamant, Young Goodman Brown
Herman Melville (1819-1891), The Tartarus of Maids
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), The Black Cat
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935), The Yellow Wallpaper
Henry James (1843-1916), The Romance of Certain Old Clothes
Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?), The Damned Thing
Edith Wharton (1862-1937), Afterward
Gertrude Atherton (1857-1948), The Striding Place
Sherwood Anderson (1876-1941), Death in the Woods
H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937), The Outsider
William Faulkner (1893-1962), A Rose for Emily
August Derleth (1909-1971), The Lonesome Place
E.B. White (1899-1985), The Door
Shirley Jackson (1919-1965), The Lovely House
Paul Bowles (1910- ), Allal
Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904-1991), The Reencounter
William Goyen (1915-1983), In the Icebound Hothouse
John Cheever (1912-1982), The Enormous Radio
Ray Bradbury (1920- ), The Veldt
W.S. Merwin (1927- ), The Dachau Shoe, the Approved, Spiders I Have Known, Postcards from the Maginot Line
Sylvia Plath (1932-1963), Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams
Robert Coover (1932- ), In Bed One Night
Ursula K. LeGuin (1929- ), Schrödinger's Cat
E.L. Doctorow (1931- ), The Waterworks
Harlan Ellison (1934- ), Shattered Like a Glass Goblin
Don DeLillo (1936- ), Human Moments in World War III
John L'Heureux (1938- ), The Anatomy of Desire
Raymond Carver (1938-1988), Little Things
Joyce Carol Oates (1938- ), The Temple
Anne Rice (1941- ), Freniere
Peter Straub (1943- ), A Short Guide to the City
Steven Millhauser (1943- ), In the Penny Arcade
Stephen King (1947- ), The Reach
Charles Johnson (1948- ), Exchange Value
John Crowley (1942- ), Snow
Thomas Ligotti (1947- ), The Last Feast of Harlequin
Breece D'J Pancake (1952-1979), Time and Again
Lisa Tuttle (1952- ), Replacements
Melissa Pritchard (1948- ), Spirit Seizures
Nancy Etchemendy (1952- ), Cat in Glass
Bruce McAllister (1946- ), The Girl Who Loved Animals
Kathe Koja and Barry N. Malzberg, Ursus Triad, Later
Katherine Dunn, The Nuclear Family: His Talk, Her Teeth
Nicholson Baker (1957- ), Subsoil

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2012

    Perfect Combination of Gothic Tales

    This book is perfectly done with all the classic gothic tales you could ever ask for in one book! Would highly recommend this book for anyone that loves the classic horror tales!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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