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The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales [Paperback]

Chris Baldick
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 15 2009 Oxford Books of Prose and Verse
The Gothic tale has been with us for over two hundred years, but this collection is the first to illustrate the continuing strength of this special fictional tradition from its origins in the late eighteenth century. Gothic fiction is generally identified from Horace Walpole's Castle of Otranto and the works of Ann Radcliffe, and with heroes and heroines menaced by feudal villains amid crumbling ruins. While the repertoire of claustrophobic settings, gloomy themes, and threatening atmosphere established the Gothic genre, later writers from Poe onwards achieved an ever greater sophistication, and a shift in emphasis from cruelty to decadence. Modern Gothic is distinguished by its imaginative variety of voice, from the chilling depiction of a disordered mind to the sinister suggestion of vampirism. This anthology brings together the work of writers such as Le Fanu, Hawthorne, Hardy, Faulkner, and Borges with their earliest literary forebears, and emphasizes the central role of women writers from Anna Laetitia Aikin to Isabel Allende and Angela Carter. While the Gothic tale shares some characteristics with the ghost story and tales of horror and fantasy, the present volume triumphantly celebrates the distinctive features that define this powerful and unsettling literary form.

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From Publishers Weekly

The fog-enshrouded castle, the crumbling family manor; old secrets unveiled, curses cast, chains clanking, fear and trembling; dread, decay, disintegration, death--each of these trademarks of the well-made Gothic tale is vividly represented in this comprehensive anthology. Informatively introduced and chronologically arranged, the 37 stories showcase the Gothic tradition from its late-18th-century inception up to the present. Included are genre classics from such illustrious practitioners as Poe, Hawthorne, Lovecraft and McGrath, as well as gems from literary masters like Faulkner, Welty, Oates and Borges, all of whom dabble(d) to fine effect in the form. Among the highlights are "The Parricide Punished," an anonymous entry from 1799 set in an enormous castle and narrated by a guest whose visit becomes a waking nightmare; Eden Glasgow's "Jordan's End," in which a long history of family madness gives rise to a most untimely death; F. M. Mayor's "Miss DeMannering of Asham," the story of two women on holiday who get more local color than they bargained for when they learn the shocking truth about DeMannering's dead infant; and especially Ray Russell's bizarre "Sardonicus," whose title character gives the kind of villainous performance that evokes Vincent Price in his horror-movie heyday.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

`Review from previous edition the perfect book to put beside the bed of a timorous guest you wish would go home' The Economist

`a sumptuous spread of eeriness, horror and decay, plus an astute introduction that lays bare the gothic's vitals...there will be something in this book to chill the blood of any reader. ' John Carey, Sunday Times

`Armed with this anthology...the faint-hearted connoisseur can make his way down the gloomy halls and secret passageways of the genre. ' Peter Ackroyd, The Times

`this is a generous selection from the eighteenth century up to the present day ... Deliciously unsettling. ' The Observer

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile Reading Dec 28 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This is a very interesting collection of literature. It includes writing from the late 1700s extending to the present. What makes this collection so amazing is that it not only includes stories from Poe, Lovecraft, and Hawthorne, but it also has stories taken from periodicals and anthologies long out of print. You'd never find some of this writing anywhere else, and it is truly amazing.
All of the stories do have somewhat of a dark and twisted theme, but they are all very rich.
If seriously considering this book, I highly recommend purchasing it in a hardback edition. It will last you much longer, and you'll be glad for this after reading it.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Views of the Dark Side March 20 2003
Format:Paperback
This is a wonderful anthology, giving a full historical spectrum of Gothic tales from silly early ones to chilling modern ones. I've used this as a textbook in two courses I teach in college, and students have been both amused (at blatantly Freudian overtones in 18th century stories) and horrified (especially at Pizarnek's account of Erzebet Bathory's perversions). My favorites are Carter's "Lady of the House of Love" and Cowles' "The Vampire of Kaldenstein," both of which combine eerieness with ironic humor.
Was this review helpful to you?
0 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not what is sounds like Nov. 13 2001
By Jillian
Format:Paperback
This book is not gothic at all, and it is very consertive.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some I've already read elsewhere, but the new ones to me were riveting! Great gothic collection! April 1 2006
By CoffeeGurl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I wanted to combine a good gothic book with the gothic romance I intended to read and had been on my TBR pile for a while and found this collection at a bookstore. The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales has a large collection stories by authors from times that vary from Georgian period to recent years. Some are dark and sinister, others have a mystery to discover while there are those that have only the gothic atmosphere down pat. There are quite a few popular authors here -- William Faulkner, Edgar Allan Poe, Angela Carter and Joyce Carol Oates, to name a few. There are also some stories written by "Anonymous." My favorite stories are "The Lady of the House of Love," by Angela Carter, Eden Glasgow's "Jordan's End," and Ray Russell's "Sardonicus." The stories are quite dark and are some of the best in the gothic genre. I've already read some of the stories from the authors I've enjoyed over the years (like Poe and Oates), but the ones I hadn't read made this a very enjoyable read for me. I cannot recommend this unique collection enough.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Views of the Dark Side March 20 2003
By Trilby Busch - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a wonderful anthology, giving a full historical spectrum of Gothic tales from silly early ones to chilling modern ones. I've used this as a textbook in two courses I teach in college, and students have been both amused (at blatantly Freudian overtones in 18th century stories) and horrified (especially at Pizarnek's account of Erzebet Bathory's perversions). My favorites are Carter's "Lady of the House of Love" and Cowles' "The Vampire of Kaldenstein," both of which combine eerieness with ironic humor.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile Reading Dec 27 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a very interesting collection of literature. It includes writing from the late 1700s extending to the present. What makes this collection so amazing is that it not only includes stories from Poe, Lovecraft, and Hawthorne, but it also has stories taken from periodicals and anthologies long out of print. You'd never find some of this writing anywhere else, and it is truly amazing.
All of the stories do have somewhat of a dark and twisted theme, but they are all very rich.
If seriously considering this book, I highly recommend purchasing it in a hardback edition. It will last you much longer, and you'll be glad for this after reading it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb selection of stories Sept. 2 2010
By Patrick Savard - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Rating a collection of tales by various authors is somewhat complicated. Here, what is offered to the reader is a wonderful selection of stories from various centuries that were written in the Gothic tradition. Anyone who is interested in studying intertextuality or motifs in various pieces will cherish this volume, as well as people who simply appreciate this genre of literature.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some Great Unfamiliar Gothic Tales Jan. 8 2010
By Mary Ingram - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There are some great tales in this book.by such authors as-
poe,le fanu.hawthorne,g.w.cable,charlotte perkins stetson(weird psychological tale), nesbit,lovecraft,faulkner(this is not a gothic tale but pure faulknew; enjoyable),thomas hardy( Barbara of the house of grebe; loved this one), ellen glasgow (jordan's end; I do wish she had written more ghost tales) and many more fine
tales.
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