Thursday, January 29, 2009

Classic Spooky

The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories by Michael Cox

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
The reader of this volume of Victorian ghost stories must come equipped with a pre-existing fondness for the form. Any reader with that fondness would do well to obtain the spooky tome. The editors have done a fine job of pulling together some of the many gems of the genre. It has a nice mix of big names and lesser knowns, along with a couple of stories by our old friend “anonymous.” Among the biggies are Mrs Gaskell, Dickens, Henry James, M.R. James, Wilkie Collins, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, Jerome K. Jerome, and Algernon Blackwood. I like the way the editors arranged the stories in chronological order. The careful reader will notice growth and change in the form as the years roll on, as well as seeing how the changing times affects the stories. If you are a sensitive soul like myself (I feel a case of the vapors coming on right now) you may want to read something cheerful between the ghastly tales. Such a concentrated dose of dark Victoriana does tend to darken one's mood.

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