The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories

Front Cover
Michael Cox, R. A. Gilbert
Oxford University Press, 2008 - Literary Collections - 504 pages
6 Reviews
With their evocative settings amid mists and shadows, in ruinous houses, on lonely roads and wild moorlands, in abandoned churches and over-grown gardens, ghost stories have long exercised a universal fascination. Responding to people's overwhelming attraction to anything frightening, this marvelous anthology of some of the very best English ghost stories combines a serious literary purpose with the simple intention of arousing a pleasurable fear of the doings of the dead. As the first volume to present the full range and vitality of the ghost fiction tradition, this selection of forty-two stories, written between 1829 and 1968, demonstrates the tradition's historical development, as well as its major themes and characteristics. Though the genre reached its peak in the nineteenth century, it enjoyed a second flowering between the two World Wars and even now still attracts dedicated practitioners and readers. The anthology includes stories by Walter Scott, M. R. James, Bram Stoker, Rudyard Kipling, Edith Wharton, Somerset Maugham, T. H. White, and many others. According to Edith Wharton, we can judge the success of a story by what she called its "thermometrical quality; if it sends a cold shiver down the spine, it has done its job and done it well." A host of writers have taken up the challenge of succeeding at this most demanding form of literary art, including both "specialists" such as J.S. Le Fanu and Algernon Blackwood, and other writers such as Henry James and H.G. Wells, for whom ghost stories constituted only a portion of their literary output. Stressing the important contribution women writers have made to the genre, the collection also offers eight stories by women, ranging from Amelia Edward's "The Phantom Coach" (1864) to Elizabeth Bowen's "Hand in Glove" (1952).--Publisher description.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
2
4 stars
4
3 stars
0
2 stars
0
1 star
0

Review: The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories

User Review  - EAM Harris - Goodreads

This is a collection of classic ghost stories and most of them I've read before. Many of them are really old and the most recent dates from 1981, I enjoyed both the unfamiliar and the familiar ones and the introduction was interesting. A good book to dip into. Read full review

Review: The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories

User Review  - Puja - Goodreads

Pretty scary. Now THAT is a huge compliment! Read full review

About the author (2008)

Michael Cox was formerly Senior Commissioning Editor of Reference Books, at Oxford University Press.

Bibliographic information