Ghost stories were something at which the Victorians excelled. In an age of rapid material and scientific progress the idea of a vindictive past able to reach out and violate the present held an especial potential for terror, and throughout the 19th century fictional ghost stories developed in parallel with the more general Victorian fascination for death and what lay beyond it. In this anthology, the editors of the "Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories" map out the development of the ghost story from 1850 to the early years of the 20th 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, M.R. James and Algernon Blackwood, this selection also emphasizes the key role played by woman writers - Elizabeth Gaskell, Mrs Craik, Rhoda Broughton, Mrs Henry Wood, M.E. Braddon, Amelia B. Edwards, Charlotte Riddell, B.M. Croker and E. Nesbit, among many others - and offers one or two rareties for the supernatural fiction enthusiast to savour. Other writers represented include Charles Dickens, Henry James, George MacDonald, Wilkie Collins, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, R.L. Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, Jerome K. Jerome, Bernard Capes, R.H. Benson and W.W. Jacobs. This collection is aimed at lovers of traditional ghost stories: here are 35 well-wrought tales of haunted houses, vengeful spirits, spectral warnings, invisible antagonists, and motiveless malignity from beyond the grave.
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