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Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton (Wordsworth Mystery & Supernatural) (Tales of Mystery & the Supernatural) [Paperback]

Edith Wharton
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 Jan 2009 Tales of Mystery & the Supernatural

This Wordsworth Edition is Selected by and includes an exclusive Introduction by David Stuart Davies.

Traumatised by ghost stories in her youth, Pulitzer Prize winning author Edith Wharton (1862 -1937) channelled her fear and obsession into creating a series of spine-tingling tales filled with spirits beyond the grave and other supernatural phenomena. While claiming not to believe in ghosts, paradoxically she did confess that she was frightened of them. Wharton imbues this potent irrational and imaginative fear into her ghostly fiction to great effect.

In this unique collection of finely wrought tales Wharton demonstrates her mastery of the ghost story genre. Amongst the many supernatural treats within these pages you will encounter a married farmer bewitched by a dead girl; a ghostly bell which saves a woman's reputation; the weird spectral eyes which terrorise the midnight hours of an elderly aesthete; the haunted man who receives letters from his dead wife; and the frightening power of a doppelganger which foreshadows a terrible tragedy.

Compelling, rich and strange, the ghost stories of Edith Wharton, like vintage wine, have matured and grown more potent with the passing years.


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Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton (Wordsworth Mystery & Supernatural) (Tales of Mystery & the Supernatural) + Ghost Stories of M R James (Wordsworth Mystery & Supernatural) (Tales of Mystery & the Supernatural) + Classic Victorian and Edwardian Ghost Stories (Wordsworth Mystery & Supernatural) (Tales of Mystery & the Supernatural)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd (5 Jan 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184022164X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840221640
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 127,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Edith Wharton was born in 1862 into one of New York's older and richer families and was educated here and abroad. Her works include "The Age of Innocence, Ethan Frome, The House of Mirth, " and "Roman Fever and Other Stories." As a keen observer and chronicler of society, she is without peer. Edith Wharton died in France in 1937. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great stories by a great writer 25 Jan 2009
Format:Paperback
To my knowledge, this is the first complete paperback collection of Edith Wharton's ghost stories, and a solid collection it is too. There are the famed chillers 'Afterwards' and 'The Triumph Of Night', but even the weaker tales have their merits, which is what raises Wharton above many of the other authors who wrote horror in the style of Henry James (by whom the tales in this volume are very clearly influenced).

Her stories are completely devoid of antiquarians and scholars, as in the modern ghost story tradition, being concerned instead with inter-personal relationships and the way the supernatural impinges on them. The deconstruction of the husband-wife relationship in 'Pomegranate Seed' is a good example of this, in its examination of the wife's fear of the-other-woman. Wharton is at her best when she's at her most under-stated, whereas her weakest work is when she merely recycles gothic staples. 'The Eyes' for example, with it's looming evil eyes that appear by a bed, isn't sufficiently chilling for a modern reader.

The prose is surprisingly accessible. You don't need a humanities degree to enjoy Edith Wharton's stories, so if you're new to ghost stories I think you'll find her work more easy going than some of the other NAME writers. There's a nice balance of description and dialogue and the issues she addresses, for these are stories about people first and ghosts second, are universal. She doesn't have command of the chilling structure of Le Fanu, but her endings are always enjoyable and give you a good sense of the "ah, so that's it", which any good short must do.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable book. Great for a rainy Saturday afternoon and I'd say it's an obligatory purchase for anyone who likes a good ghost story. Of the few truly great American ghost story writers, Edith Wharton is very, very near the top.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll be surprised! 9 Mar 2004
By C. M. Collier VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Edith Wharton is best known for her classic books such as Ethan Frome and The Age of Innocence,but she also wrote superb ghost stories.She has the knack of making her characters so believable that it really seems these things could happen.M R James is the same,which is why I love his stories too.
These are not stories that drip with gore,but when it dawns on you what is going on you get a definite frisson down the spine.
I particularly liked Miss Mary Pask,with its surprise ending.But then,most of these tales do have a surprise ending!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good stories that chill frequently 25 Aug 2008
Format:Paperback
Any collection of tales is a mixed bag, for each will have a handful of excellent stories as well as a somewhat larger amount of unmemorable ones, at least such is the general rule, and the best way to judge any such collection, strange as it may sound, is to assess the quality of the lesser tales, for if these are worth reading in spite of their flaws then you have a splendid collection.

The Ghost Stories Of Edith Wharton is not exemption from the above mentioned axiom. There are the famed chillers 'Afterwards' and 'The Triumph Of Night', but even the weaker tales have their merits. Wharton is almost as far from the M.R. James school as you can get. I would not say her work is as explicitly psychological as Vernon Lee or Henry James, but her stories are completely devoid of antiquarians, being concerned instead with inter-personal relationships and the way the supernatural impinges on them. The deconstruction of the husband-wife relationship in 'Pomegranate Seed' is a good example of this, in its examination of the wife's fear of the-other-woman.

Wharton's prose is surprisingly accessible. You don't need a humanities degree to enjoy her stories, so if you're new to ghost stories I think you'll find her work more easy going then some of the other aforementioned writers. There's a nice balance of description and dialogue and the issues she addresses, for these are stories about people first and ghosts second, are universal. She doesn't have command of the chilling structure of Le Fanu, but her endings are always enjoyable and give you a good sense of the "ah, so that's it", which any good short must do. This is a thoroughly enjoyable book. Great for a rainy Saturday afternoon and I'd say it's an obligatory purchase for anyone who likes a good ghost story.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars some brilliant stories here, some less so 5 Feb 2008
Format:Paperback
There is a story about vampirism which is great, some other good ones too. a couple of clunkers.
Her style is wonderful and elegant. if your a fan of short horror fiction you must read this book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton 2 May 2014
By Gamer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I didnt enjoy this book very much,she is a good writer but I prefer the more modern ghost stories these days,however they are readable but I wouldnt want to re-read them,I bought this one as a friend recommended her to me,.............
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4.0 out of 5 stars Strange 9 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Edith Wharton's ghost stories are most unusual. They leave the reader suspended in a state of puzzlement and unease. Atmospheric, but, for me anyway, not quite ghostly enough. Definitely worth reading!
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