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 the stories still retain their original power to surprise and unsettle.

In Victorian Ghost Stories, 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 emphasizes the key role played by women writers—including Elizabeth Gaskell, Rhoda Broughton, and Charlotte Riddell—and offers one or two genuine rarities. Other writers represented include Charles Dickens, Henry James, Wilkie Collins, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and R. L. Stevenson. There is also a fascinating Introduction and a chronological list of ghost story collections from 1850 to 1910.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780192804471
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 04/24/2003
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 587,394
Product dimensions: 7.72(w) x 5.12(h) x 1.16(d)

About the Author

Michael Cox is Editor of A Dictionary of Writers and Their Works, and The Oxford Book of Twentieth-Century Ghost Stories. R. A. Gilbert is a well-known antiquarian bookseller.

Table of Contents

The Old Nurse's Story (1852)1
An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street (1853)19
The Miniature (1853)37
The Last House in C--Street (1856)44
To be Taken with a Grain of Salt (1865)55
The Botathen Ghost (1867)65
The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth (1868)74
The Romance of Certain Old Clothes (1868)83
Pichon & Sons, of the Croix Rousse (1868)100
Reality or Delusion? (1868)115
Uncle Cornelius His Story (1869)130
The Shadow of a Shade (1869)150
At Chrighton Abbey (1871)163
No Living Voice (1872)190
Miss Jeromette and the Clergyman (1875)198
The Story of Clifford House (1878)218
Was it an Illusion? (1881)239
The Open Door (1882)256
The Captain of the 'Pole-star' (1883)283
The Body-Snatcher (1884)303
The Story of the Rippling Train (1887)319
At the End of the Passage (1890)328
'To Let' (1890)346
John Charrington's Wedding (1891)360
The Haunted Organist of Hurly Burly (1891)367
The Man of Science (1892)379
Cannon Alberic's Scrap-book (1895)385
Jerry Bundler (1897)396
An Eddy on the Floor (1899)403
The Tomb of Sarah (1900)431
The Case of Vincent Pyrwhit (1901)442
The Shadows on the Wall (1902)445
Father Macclesfield's Tale (1907)459
Thurnley Abbey (1908)466
The Kit-bag (1908)480
Sources490|-1Select Chronological Conspectus of Ghost Stories, 1840-1910493

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The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
ishtahar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ghost stories were ludicrously popular during the Victorian period -- a time of huge transition, an age shaped more than any other by change, mostly industrial, but with the final consequences of these changes remaining unclear. With this shadow of change falling across life in general culminating, no doubt, in anxiety, the ghost story not only gave the Victorian reader an outlet for this anxiety but the ghosts themselves anchored a stable past in an unstable present.Having said all this I was quite disappointed with this anthology. Some of the stories are brilliant; those by Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Jerome K Jerome, RLStevenson and Conan Doyle stand out particularly of course (although Kipling's offering is poor in the extreme); but most of them are formulaic, haunted house stories, which perhaps in the context of the time, read once a week in a magazine or so forth, were entertaining but when read one after another are a little tiresome.My favourite was that by Elizabeth Gaskell. However, I'm not entirely sure if this is because it's any better than the others or because it was the first one and therefore still maintained an element of surprise!