A History of the Modern British Ghost Story places the ghost story in the contexts of historical period and literary form. It reads ghost stories as continuously engaging with, or even a kind of shadow form of, the novel: as the dominant mode of novelistic writing moves, in the nineteenth century, through the historical novel, Dickensian realism and naturalism, ghost stories develop new modes and techniques for exposing and critiquing these novelistic forms. Throughout this period, the book argues, ghost stories are one of the key ways that literature has addressed empire, class, property, history and the traumatic emergence of capitalism. By the end of the nineteenth century, usually considered the genre's golden age, ghost stories begin to seem set on autopilot, the same basic techniques repeated with minimal variation. But this book follows the way that modernist and then postcolonial writers deploy ghosts in new contexts, radically changing the work that the figure of the ghost does: in modernism, the ghost becomes a central image for representing not the past's persistence into the present, but the alienation and abstraction of modern life; and in postcolonial writing, where both the emergence of modernity and the pressures of the past are different, the ghost plays a key role figuring the intersection of indigenous traditions with those of capitalist modernity, in the emergence of magic realism.