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Uncle Silas
     

Uncle Silas

4.2 5
by J. Sheridan LeFanu, J. Sheridan Lefanu
 

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Perhaps no other writer in the history of English fiction so completely mastered the technique of creating an atmosphere of unrelieved suspense and terror as Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-73). This is surely evident in all of his supernatural fiction: such superb examples of the English ghost story as "Carmilla," "The Haunted Baronet," "Squire Toby's Will," and

Overview

Perhaps no other writer in the history of English fiction so completely mastered the technique of creating an atmosphere of unrelieved suspense and terror as Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-73). This is surely evident in all of his supernatural fiction: such superb examples of the English ghost story as "Carmilla," "The Haunted Baronet," "Squire Toby's Will," and others (many available in Dover's Best Ghost Stories of J. S. Le Fanu). But nowhere is Le Fanu's success as great as in Uncle Silas.
Death prowls the 400-odd pages of this book — in Maud Ruthyn, her father Austin, the grotesque Madame de la Rougierre, in the shadowy suspicion that surrounds Uncle Silas, in the chilly atmosphere at Knowl and the even more haunting terror pervading Bartram-Haugh, in the gloomy night thoughts and somber reflections about death that occur and reoccur. With consummate skill, Le Fanu has truly captured the secret fears and dreads that grip us all.
One of a half dozen or so nineteenth-century novels still read for pleasure rather than as a school exercise, Uncle Silas is the Victorian mystery story par excellence, displaying both Le Fanu's considerable narrative ability and his emotional power. It has remained in print since its first appearance in 1864, has been translated into several languages, and has been filmed in England as The Inheritor. Its longevity and perennial appeal are both well established and well deserved, for as Frederick Shroyer says in his Introduction, "It is one of the most effective, gripping novels of terror … ever written. Today, as in the past, Uncle Silas continues to serve diabolically well to chill the reader's psychic bones."
Despite its continuous popularity, Uncle Silas has of late been virtually unobtainable in America. Now republished by Dover, this chilling Victorian novel will be a welcome treat for all Le Fanu admirers, mystery fans, English majors, and every reader who enjoys a well-told tale.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780486217154
Publisher:
Dover Publications
Publication date:
11/02/2011
Series:
Thrift Edition Series
Pages:
480
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

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Uncle Silas (Large Print Edition) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm not a big fan of Victorian novels, but I'm a huge fan of Sheridan Le Fanu, one of the foremost writers of ghost stories in the English language. 'Uncle Silas' has been described as a short story unfortunately gotten in a family way, but it was very popular in its day and is now included in World Classics. Unlike the ghost stories, the novel sticks to the more explicable evil of living beings, but is still heavy on the chills. The basic plotline---young, naive heiress is thrust into great danger by the death of her father/protector---is a familiar enough theme, and resonates clearly in any period. To our modern sensibility, she cries too much and takes too much for granted, but it's consistent with the age and circumstance. What makes the novel special is the gradual but inexorable building of fear and foreboding as the story unfolds, punctuated with Le Fanu's uncanny eye and ear for the grotesque detail. In an age when books were often read by candlelight, 'Uncle Silas' must have troubled the nights of many a reader, young or old. The Penguin edition has a comprehensive introduction and is loaded with chapter-by-chapter endnotes, which illuminate a lot of period vernacular and references that might otherwise be missed. Practiced readers of Gothic and Victorian fiction would probably classify 'Uncle Silas' as a 19th-century beach book, but that quality is what makes it particularly approachable for a modern reader.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Uncle Silas is filled with very colorful characters set amongst dreary, but delightfully so, backdrops that, as a fan of Gothic Lit, keeps one entranced
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