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The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories Paperback – Feb 18 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 504 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; New edition edition (Feb. 18 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192826662
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192826664
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 13 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,814,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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Format: Paperback
The horror genre is cluttered with hackwork, and imitations of hackwork--H.P. Lovecraft seems to have spawned a particularly virulent strain of the latter. However one of its subgenres, i.e. the ghost story seems to attract a better quality of writer--perhaps because a truly frightening tale of the returned dead is so difficult to write.
(Believe me, I've tried and after almost half a century of trying, have sold exactly one ghost story).
L. P. Hartley, who wrote "The Travelling Grave" and other great stories of the supernatural, described the ghost story as "certainly the most exacting form of literary art, and perhaps the only one in which there is almost no intermediate step between success and failure. Either it comes off or it is a flop."
Cox and Gilbert have collected mostly successes (and one or two flops) in "The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories" and its companion volume, "The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories." If you suffer from what Virginia Woolf called "the strange human craving for the pleasure of feeling afraid," both of these volumes will satisfy. Each contains a good mix of familiar and lesser-known ghost stories.
Here is a sampling from 'English Ghost Stories':
"The Monkey's Paw" by W.W. Jacobs -- A horrible variant on 'Be careful what you wish for. It might just come true.' This is a sad, frightening story--maybe 'the' perfect tale of the supernatural.
"The Confession of Charles Linkworth" by E.F. Benson -- A telephone call from a hanged man.
"Man-Size in Marble" by E. Nesbit -- An overly sweet Victorian marriage comes to a tragic end on All Saints' Eve.
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Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful collection of ghost stories. Included are some of the classics of the genre. For instance, The "Monkey's Paw" (son is killed in an accident at work, parent wishes on creepy monkey's paw charm for son to come back to life, so please don't open the front door!) has been adapted a number of times for TV and film.
My personal favorite is probably "Smee," the quintessential between-the-wars British country house ghost story. Perhaps a scary little teleplay with Jeremy Irons, Hugh Grant and Judy Davis?
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Format: Paperback
This anthology, superbly edited and introduced by Michael Cox and R.A. Gilbert, is a great way to begin your library of supernatural fiction. Even the connoisseur will find some rare gems. From the first of the chronologically arranged stories, "The Tapestry Room" by Sir Walter Scott, you'll be intrigued by the incredible variety. Whether you enjoy the swooning Romanticism of Vernon Lee's "A Wicked Voice," the dry restraint of M.R. James "Oh, Whistle," or the naturalistic American dialogue of Mary Wilkins-Freeman's "The Lost Ghost," you'll find stories that will linger in your mind. Almost every story is of high literary quality as well as great entertainment. The anthology also shows how differently good writers can handle the stringent requirements of good supernatural tales. These tales are on the surface escapist fiction, but on closer study prove to address themes of life after death, guilt, fear, love, the effect of inner states on outward perception, and the struggles of the individual within society. Not every story will appeal to every reader, because there's such a wide range of styles. But I think every reader will find many to savor time and again.
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By C Jones on July 2 2000
Format: Paperback
This superb book of classic ghost stories will literally make the hair rise on your arms. These tales are written by some of the world's best literary geniuses (Sir Walter Scott to name one). If you enjoy being spooked without the blood and gore of today's B rated horror book writers, you're guaranteed to love this classic collection!
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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent collection of ghost stories spanning from the 19th century to more modern times. Each and every story is highly enjoyable and frightening in the classic way which I find lacking in most ghost story books. I couldn't get enough!
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