The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories Hardcover – 1 Dec 1986
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"A splendid book."--The Chicago Tribune"The 42 stories gathered here are luminous examples of how affecting an immaculately wrought ghost story can be."--Booklist
About the Author
About the editors: Michael Cox is editor of M. R. James's ghost stories for the Oxford World's Classics series; R. A. Gilbert is an antiquarian bookseller and author of A. E. Waite: A Bibliography.
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Top Customer Reviews
The works ranged from the 1820s (Walter Scott) to the 1960s (Aickman, Simon Raven). All but seven of the works were from the period between 1890 and 1960. Nine of the writers in the collection were women.
The editors tried to select stories that (1) featured -- naturally -- a ghost, (2) described dramatic interaction between the living and the dead, (3) had literary quality, (4) contained definite English settings such as characters, institutions, styles and themes representative of the English ghost story, and (5) weren't overlong. They tried to strike a balance between classics and lesser-known tales and show the development of stories particularly from 1890 to 1940, when they said the genre was at its peak. The pieces from writers outside Great Britain were included because they were deemed to show clearly their English roots.
An introduction briefly surveyed the English ghost story. The editors saw it as beginning to develop into a distinct form in the 1820s with Sir Walter Scott, with maturity furthered by LeFanu and Dickens and the greatest creativity achieved between 1890 and 1940. The contribution of many female authors was noted. The editors stated that at the time of the anthology's publication in the 1980s the literary ghost story still appealed, though it had been overtaken in popularity by science fiction and "crude horror."
Before 1890 or so, stories often went like this: a strange or tragic event occurred, it turned out to be caused by a ghost, especially a bad one, the end. Or someone saw a ghost repeating a tragic event. Later authors offered a much greater variety of tales.Read more ›
If I were to make a suggestion on how you could improve the book, it would be the inclusion of a more comprehensive introduction, with more detail about the authors and what by what criteria the editors made their selection. However it would be a bit churlish to view this as a criticism, it doesn't detract from the quality of the stories.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Some of the stories were repeats. There seems to be, in this genre, a tendency to reprint the most-popular [sometimes, the same errors! Read morePublished on 21 Mar. 2013 by Miss N. J. Grundy