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141. Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories
142. Cutting Edge
$60.00 $53.02
143. Contesting the Gothic : Fiction,
$1.49 list($19.95)
144. I Shudder at Your Touch: Twenty
$8.76 $7.25 list($10.95)
145. The Mammoth Book of Dracula: Vampire
146. Night Visions 2
$8.59 list($11.45)
147. Spawn
148. New Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos
$2.95 list($3.50)
149. Tales of the Living Dead (Scare
$13.15 list($5.95)
150. The Tell-Tale Heart: And, the
151. Dracula's Crypt: Bram Stoker,
152. Ramsey Campbell and Modern Horror
$18.95 $1.96
153. Night Shadows: Twentieth-Century
$27.95 $19.99
154. Echoes from the Macabre : Selected
$2.92 list($3.50)
155. In Camera and Other Stories
156. The Oxford Book of Scary Tales
157. The Gothic Sublime (Suny Series
$0.72 list($9.95)
158. 12 Gothic Tales (Oxford Twelves)
$5.00 list($15.00)
$19.95 $19.23
160. The Supernatural in Modern English

141. Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories to Be Read with the Lights On (Alfred Hitchcock Presents (Hardcover))
list price: $10.95
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Asin: 0394487206
Catlog: Book (1973-07-12)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 319911
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142. Cutting Edge
by Dennis Etchison
list price: $3.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312907729
Catlog: Book (1987-10-01)
Publisher: St Martins Mass Market Paper
Sales Rank: 1561465
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

2-0 out of 5 stars Bloodless anthology of horror tales
The sense of foreboding that creeps up on you once you've finished a few of the stories in this extended anthology of horror has less to do with the macabre than with the extremely poor quality of some of the writing. Though some names leap out at you (Peter Straub, Clive Barker and Robert Bloch) little of the work is as powerful. Barker tries his usual high concept horror shtick (paranormal gumshoe) while Straub creates a horrifically manipulative brat in "Blue Roses" who, unsurprisingly, finds his true meter in Vietnam. (Block's entry, "The Reaper" lacks blood, but has a witty end that makes up for that). Between those entries we have inferior stories whose shock value has less to do with inspiring us with terror than amazing us with the cheap ploys and pedestrian prose they are willing to stoop to - we have atheists who accidentally walk into hell, deranged serial killers who stumble upon those more unhinged than they are, various lost people and others pushed over the edge. There are some fun exceptions (a man who returns home for the first time since offing his wife and her lover) but they are more than outweighed by the truly bad (an extended novela, apparently in progress, concerned with Jack the Ripper - not a bad idea, but painfully underwritten). Despite the inclusion of many known writers, the most powerful story - "Little Cruelties" - was written by a man I've never heard of: Steve Rasnic Tem (You'd never forget a name like that). I would have given this collection a single star if not for the emotional punch of that story.

3-0 out of 5 stars A collection of great writers not at their best.
Cutting Edge wants to be an anthology on the level of Kirby McCauley's landmark contemporary dark fantasy collection Dark Forces. Sadly the collection falls short of that noble mark, mainly due to stories that are a far cry from the contributing writers best work. Only Robert Bloch's personal feeling short story 'Reaper' is a real stand out. ... Read more

143. Contesting the Gothic : Fiction, Genre and Cultural Conflict, 1764-1832 (Cambridge Studies in Romanticism)
by James Watt
list price: $60.00
our price: $60.00
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Asin: 0521640997
Catlog: Book (1999-06-28)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 1416421
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Book Description

This historically grounded account of Gothic fiction takes issue with received accounts of the genre as a stable and continuous tradition. Charting its vicissitudes from Walpole to Scott, Watt shows the Gothic to have been a heterogeneous body of fiction, characterized at times by antagonistic relations between writers or works. Watt examines the novels' political import and concludes by looking ahead to the fluctuating critical status of Scott and the Gothic, and perceptions of the Gothic as a monolithic tradition, which continue to exert a powerful hold. ... Read more

144. I Shudder at Your Touch: Twenty Two Tales of Sex and Horror
by Michele Slung
list price: $19.95
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Asin: 0451450795
Catlog: Book (1991-05-01)
Publisher: New Amer Library Trade
Sales Rank: 793678
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars I shudder at your touch
I bought this book in the early 90's and have read it with glee ever since then, dipping in every year or so when I've run out of anything else to to read. The stories within both scare and delight, my favourite being the delicious story by Christopher Fowler 'The Master Builder' ... Read more

145. The Mammoth Book of Dracula: Vampire Tales for the New Millennium
by Stephen Jones
list price: $10.95
our price: $8.76
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Asin: 0786704284
Catlog: Book (1997-06-01)
Publisher: Carroll & Graf Publishers
Sales Rank: 291647
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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With his 500-year lifetime so far, and centuries yet ahead, the character of Dracula has an ever-unfolding biography, to which this 100th-anniversary tribute contributes 33 stories (only 6 of which have been previously published). Dracula visits, in these pages, such locales as the Côte d'Azur, the wilds of Oregon, the Los Angeles of Raymond Chandler, communist Eastern Europe, Rome at the dawn of the 21st century (a chilling tale in which he is forced to imitate the Messiah), and the ruins of post-apocalyptic New Jersey. He encounters Bettie Page, Aleister Crowley, Timothy Leary, Lou Reed, and Francis Ford Coppola (with the entire cast and crew of Apocalypse Now, in a hilarious spoof). The authors include such contemporary masters as Kim Newman, Nicholas Royle, Terry Lamsley, Joel Lane, Brian Stableford, and Ramsey Campbell. The book also has a foreword by Bram Stoker's great-nephew, and includes the never-before-published prologue to Stoker's theatrical version of Dracula. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
This book is a mish mash of recycled and rehashed Dracula Stories (though- not stooping too low as to include Peewee vs Dracula).

Though some of the stories might spark your interest.... for a while. Instead of something to keep you sleepless- this book has degenerated to an alternative cure for insomnia.

4-0 out of 5 stars Got it for the Newman story, but enjoyed the rest also.
I do not consider myself to be a big Horror fan. I have read all of Lovecraft's works, and recently have been enjoying Kim Newman's Anno Dracula series. A comment that Newman posted on this site led me to get this book for his story, "Coppola's Dracula." That was definitely my favorite story in the book, but I was pleasantly surprised that most of the other stories were decent as well. Like almost all anthologies, there are some stories that were not so hot, but there were no absolute clunkers, in my view. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys horror fiction, whether they are a long-time fan, or a relative new-comer like I am. ... Read more

146. Night Visions 2
by David Morrell, Joseph Payne Brennan, Karl Edward Wagner
list price: $18.00
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Asin: 0913165077
Catlog: Book (1985-10)
Publisher: Dark Harvest Books
Sales Rank: 2249854
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147. Spawn
by Shaun Hutson
list price: $11.45
our price: $8.59
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Asin: 0751513784
Catlog: Book (1990)
Publisher: Acacia Press, Inc.
Sales Rank: 1775638
Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Released from a mental hospital where he has spent all his adult life, Harold Pierce is given a job as a hospital porter. But that job involves the disposal of aborted foetuses, something which brings back nightmare memories of Harold's accidental killing of his baby brother years before. A time of trauma and terror has begun, terror heightened by the escape from prison of convicted killer Paul Harvey who, hunted by the police, embarks on a murderous rampage. Pierce and Harvey, both disturbed, are about to unleash a terror beyond belief... ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars I have had a copy for YEARS!!!
This is one of those books that I assumed was self-published. Realy. While I didn't find any spelling errors I did fine enough logical and continuity errors to fail a freshman Lit student! The book was GREAT however!!!

Read it, know it, be it!

I wasn't aware that, when an abortion is performed in Britain, the fetus is sent to the basement in a basket where a depressed caretaker throws it in the incinerator!!! Well; USED too - now he does different things with those fetuses....
I'll leave Shaun to tell you about what.

Anyway - loved it, didn't much manage to respect it - but LOVED it!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Spawn
I read this book many years ago, and have been trying to get a copy of it for many years. It is by far the best book I have ever read. It kept me on the edge of my seat at all times and I simply could not put it down. If you like the creepy and unusual this would be the book to read...

3-0 out of 5 stars Morbid entertainment
A nice story about psychic aborted foetuses that come back to life and feed on blood. Morbid subject matter, handled skillfully and entertainingly.

Unfortunately, the character development is rather light and the twist at the end was extremely predictable. A little more work on that side of things, and it could have been a classic. Apart from that, its worth reading if you're looking for something gruesome.

4-0 out of 5 stars BEST OF HUTSON'S EARLY BOOKS
Shaun Hutson hasn't written a horror novel for quite some time, maybe fatherhood's mellowed him a bit, but this rates as the best of his early books. It reads like a b-grade pulp horror, but as usual Hutson has done his homework and doesn't spare his readers the grisly details,with issues ranging from torture and mutilation to infanticide one would expect his work to be garbage,. Fortunately he is a very good writer with a good sense of pacing. If you haven't read Shaun Hutson before this is a good place to start.

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant!
I thought that this book was really excellent, it really held my attention and i just couldn't put it down. The twist at the end is brilliant and although the whole story is a bit morbid, I thought it was really good. One of the best books ive ever read. ... Read more

148. New Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos
by H. P. Lovecraft, Ramsey Campbell
list price: $14.95
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Asin: 0870540858
Catlog: Book (1980-01-01)
Publisher: Arkham House Pub
Sales Rank: 1041444
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars After reading this, see how *you* sleep!
I was terrified of just about everything after reading this book. Even the great Stephen King writes similarly to Lovecraft! Oh, and speaking of King, with that story "Crouch End"... YIKES! If you want to read this Stephen King story, it is now in Nightmares & Dreamscapes. Sweet dreams... ... Read more

149. Tales of the Living Dead (Scare Your Socks Off)
list price: $3.50
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Asin: 1562884069
Catlog: Book (1993-09-01)
Publisher: Holmes & Meier Publishers
Sales Rank: 1346209
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150. The Tell-Tale Heart: And, the Premature Burial (Classic Frights)
by Edgar Allan Poe, Barbara Armata, Allan Poe Poe, Edgar AllanPremature Burial Poe
list price: $5.95
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Asin: 0929605942
Catlog: Book (1998-09-01)
Publisher: Books of Wonder
Sales Rank: 1777320
Average Customer Review: 3.92 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Five classic Poe tales lavishly illustrated and faithfully interpreted by Weird Business contributor Bill D. Fountain. ... Read more

Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars This was intresting:-)
The Tell Tale of Heart by Edgar Allen Poe wrote about a mad man who killed someone, Eventually tells on himself. This man is known to be crazy. Every night he goes in a room and watches the man with the evil eye. Until one night he decides to kill him. The mad man thinks the evil eye is after him. This book would be of interest to middle school level to adults. I loved his vivid details and use of vocabulary. This story is one of many stories I loved of Edgar Allen Poe. His twisted mind makes many of his works enjoyable. I recommend this book to many people.

4-0 out of 5 stars this is a very good summary
Within The Tale-Tale Heart, a disfigured old man becomes the object of the narrator's wrath. With precision the narrator sneaks into the old man's home and kills him because of a grotesque eye that has obsessed the narrator. Through the narrator's actions, Poe destroys "the external universe as usually perceived and eradicates the barriers erected by time, space and self. With the destruction of the reasoned world, the world of the imagination can take over [allowing] Poe to confuse sight and sound, sight and smell, fire and water, life and death, and the various other elements which man's reason keeps apart or regars as polarities" (Ketterer 28). Through the narrator's slow creeping motion into the old man's room (which lasts hours), Poe is able to not only alter reality, but also our concept of time.

As in The Black Cat, the narrator in this story also leads the police to the body. However, it is not an outside force that leads to his capture, it is his own mental state. "In the conclusion of the story, the ringing in the madman's ears first is fancied, then later becomes distinct, then is discovered to be so definite that it is erroneously accorded external actuality, and finally grows to such obsessive proportions that it drives the criminal into an emotional and physical frenzy" (Howarth 97). The beating of the old man's heart that the narrator hears in his mind is an distortion of his reality. The man's heart is not actually beating, but the narrator is convinced that he hears the sound because Poe has created a sound illusion. Reality and illusion in this story merge to create a new world where anything is possible, even the beating of a dead man's heart.

5-0 out of 5 stars Madness
This is one of Poe's best short-stories.
It's about obsession, and how guilt can drive someone insane in a matter of hours.

I guess Poe himself had a huge guilt complex. Anyway, the fact is that Poe can write in a style that leave the reader in a "edge of the seat" condition in less than ten pages.

As with Poe's many other stories, we don't know the character's motivations or reason to do what he does, and it certainly helps to get the story a little more obscure. Poe is able to pass an atmosphere to his stories in very few pages, and the final effect is amazing.

Fast and good read.

Grade 8.8/10

5-0 out of 5 stars Best short story of his
It was a very good book. It is about the narrator who is convienced that this old man's eye is evil and it is going after him. His compulsive disoder takes him to go and see the eye every night. Until one night he goes to see it and the old man is up. The mad man shines the light in his wide open eye. the man kills the poor old man and does unmetionable things to him. The police finally get there and question him. To convience them that he is inocent he invites them in for tea. While sitting down he starts getting insane and hears his heart beating, but he thinks it is the old mans. He finally fesses and is sentenced to death.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Purloined Letter
I personally think that his is one of Poe's great short stories although it could be a bit more interesting but if you are fimiliar with liturature then you should enjoy this book. ... Read more

151. Dracula's Crypt: Bram Stoker, Irishness, and the Question of Blood
by Joseph Valente
list price: $29.95
our price: $29.95
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Asin: 0252026969
Catlog: Book (2001-11-01)
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Sales Rank: 310033
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Book Description

Dracula's Crypt unearths the Irish roots of Bram Stoker's gothic masterpiece, offering a fresh interpretation of the author's relationship to his novel and to the politics of blood that consumes its characters.

An ingenious reappraisal of a classic text, Dracula's Crypt presents Stoker's novel as a subtly ironic commentary on England's preoccupation with racial purity. Probing psychobiographical, political, and cultural elements of Stoker's background and milieu, Joseph Valente distinguishes Stoker's viewpoint from that of his virulently racist, hypermasculine vampire hunters, showing how the author's dual Anglo-Celtic heritage and uncertain status as an Irish parvenu among London's theatrical elite led him to espouse a progressive racial ideology at odds with the dominant Anglo-Saxon supremacism. In the light of Stoker's experience, the shabby-genteel Count Dracula can be seen as a doppelgänger, an ambiguous figure who is at once the blood-conscious landed aristocrat and the bloodthirsty foreign invader.

Stoker also confronts gender ideals and their implications, exposing the "inner vampire" in men like Jonathan Harker who dominate and absorb the women who become their wives. Ultimately, Valente argues, the novel celebrates a feminine heroism, personified by Mina Harker, that upholds an ethos of social connectivity against the prevailing obsession with blood as a vehicle of identity.

Revealing a profound and heretofore unrecognized ethical and political message, Dracula's Crypt maintains that the real threat delineated in Dracula is not racial degeneration but the destructive force of racialized anxiety itself. Stoker's novel emerges as a powerful critique of the very anxieties it has previously been taken to express: anxieties concerning the decline of the British empire, the deterioration of Anglo-Saxon culture, and the contamination of the Anglo-Saxon race.

"Valente provides the first sustained critical commentary informed by postcolonial and poststructuralist thinking that persuasively addresses the Irish aspects of Dracula. Future critics will have to attend to Valente's rich formulations about the book's pervasive ambiguous doublings." —John Paul Riquelme, editor of Dracula and author of Teller and Tale in Joyce's Fiction

"Dracula's Crypt conducts a thorough and persuasive critique of current scholarship on Bram Stoker's ‘Irishness,' proposes some highly original alternatives, and argues those alternatives in an extremely compelling manner. In addition, in its method the book has implications far beyond the particular text it treats: it offers an important and innovative model for the treatment of other texts and issues. The book will appeal to readers interested in Irish studies, postcolonial studies, Gothic fiction, late Victorian literature and culture, and modernism."— Marjorie Howes, editor of Dracula and author of Yeats's Nations ... Read more

152. Ramsey Campbell and Modern Horror Fiction (Liverpool Science Fiction Texts and Studies, 23)
by S. T. Joshi
list price: $22.95
our price: $22.95
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Asin: 0853237751
Catlog: Book (2001-07-01)
Publisher: Liverpool Univ Pr
Sales Rank: 1658959
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153. Night Shadows: Twentieth-Century Stories of the Uncanny
list price: $18.95
our price: $18.95
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Asin: 1567921809
Catlog: Book (2002-01-01)
Publisher: David R. Godine Publisher
Sales Rank: 36868
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154. Echoes from the Macabre : Selected Stories
by Daphne Du Maurier
list price: $27.95
our price: $27.95
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Asin: 0884115437
Catlog: Book (1980-06-01)
Publisher: Amereon Limited
Sales Rank: 329051
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced fun and a great collection of short stories
Fans of Daphne du Maurier will appreciate this varied and engaging collection of nine "twisted" short stories. Some stories are better than others, but who cares when it's a short read? All demonstrate du Maurier's unique ability to capture the atmosphere of her settings. Included in this collection is the chilling original story "The Birds", which I especially enjoyed reading, having seen the Hitchcock movie several times. Another favorite was the at times hilarious "The Blue Lenses". Overall, this was a very fun book! ... Read more

155. In Camera and Other Stories
by Robert Westall
list price: $3.50
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Asin: 059045921X
Catlog: Book (1994-12-01)
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
Sales Rank: 1473933
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156. The Oxford Book of Scary Tales
by Dennis Pepper
list price: $14.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0192781103
Catlog: Book (1996-04-01)
Publisher: Oxford Univ Pr (T)
Sales Rank: 1554834
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Children know that it's great fun to be scared (but not frightened), and Dennis Pepper has carefully collected classic and contemporary legends, folktales, and poems that are sure to do the trick. From the mysteriously chilling to the comically bizarre, a wide variety of cultures and traditions are represented, retold and illustrated in cheerfully gruesome detail by some of the finest writers and artists for children. These are great stories to read aloud or by yourself over and over again to savor the chills of suspense and shivers of delight.

Beautifully packaged and designed, this collection not only entertains but also testifies to the exceptional powers of literature to heighten our emotions and stir our hearts. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars An October's worth of diverse, literate and chilling stories
There is nothing like a scary story to make me appreciate my save, warm home, and this book is filled with such stories. The Oxford Book of Scary Tales has all kinds of chilling stories written in a wide variety of styles. It begins with a poem entitled "This is the key to the castle" by Dave Calder, which like "The House that Jack Built" adds one new clause each stanza building a repetitive rhyme children will love. My favorite is:

"where the black rat runs with yellow teeth
sharp as sorrow and long as grief"

The editors include more narrative poems, a cartoon that reminds me of Edward Gorey, a story written as a series of letters that tell of a real camp horror, and a story purporting to be an interview with a novelist who explains why she writes horror stories. The book includes a grave-digging story one's grandpa might tell if he had a particularly keen sense of humor and irony, and there are enough traditional tales of horror and terror for any of us, all toned down to a kid's level. The collection even includes several friendly ghosts.

The language of the stories is also marvelous, filled with picturesque similes and not a cliché in sight. Consider these snippets:

"He's got about as much idea of sailing as a camel up an apple tree with its eyes shut." (From "Dear Jane" by Shelia Lavelle)

"... a smile like stretched elastic." (From "A Change of Aunts" by Vivian Alcock)

"They dodge ... the long snakes of reclaimed trolleys, their guides at the rear slumped like galley slaves." And "The aisle is crowded. Trolleys lie in all directions like ships of a scuttled fleet. But his mother negotiates them and the people clinging to them like a confident pilot...." (From "Supermarket" by Dennis Hamley. btw, "trolleys" is brit speak for "shopping carts.")

The illustrations are almost as varied as the styles of the stories and were a bit distracting until I became absorbed in the stories. I just thought of the experience like reading short stories form one children's magazine after another or like reading from a stack of picture books. All different stories, all different illustrators.

With over thirty short stories, The Oxford Book of Scary Tales gives an October's worth of reading and will take a reader all the way to Halloween. I bought this book for my daughter years ago because I was so fond of another collection of scary tales written for adults and entitled The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories. That book is edited by Michael Cox and R. A. Gilbert. Older children may want to progress to that collection for next October's reading.

Linda Murphy
... ... Read more

157. The Gothic Sublime (Suny Series on the Sublime)
by Vijay Mishra
list price: $21.50
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Asin: 0791417484
Catlog: Book (1994-05-01)
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Sales Rank: 2078978
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Refigures the whole genre of gothic, and sublime thinking.
This is an amazing and eclectic book-- it refigues the whole genre of the gothic, as well as pushing sublime thinking into new terrain. Very helfpul for those in the romantic field of interest, and ordinary readers too. ... Read more

158. 12 Gothic Tales (Oxford Twelves)
by Richard Dalby
list price: $9.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0192880942
Catlog: Book (1999-01-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 952746
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this anthology we see a dozen fine examples of Gothic literature, spanning over one hundred and fifty years from Mary Shelley and Charles Maturin, through to an unexpected master of the macabre, Gerald Durrell. All feature sinister settings of castles and ancient houses, with the protagonists haunted by the tyranny of the past, and physically or spiritually incarcerated by their circumstances. Designed to provide an overview of the genre, and offering a balance of classic and more unusual stories, this is a book that will appeal to both the newcomer and dedicated collector of Gothic fiction. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars a gothic anthology
Richard Dalby, a leading authority on the Gothic genre has compiled a collection of stories from the early nineteenth century to the twentieth. Some of which have never before been anthologized. Mary Shelley's The Dream, and The Dead Smile by Mary Crawford are among the best. A great collection of haunting and romantic stories.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Enjoyable Introduction to the Gothic
This book is part of the excellent "Oxford Twelves" series that includes "Twelve Mystery Stories," "Twelve Victorian Ghost Stories" and a number of other collections of sensational fiction (I own all of them!). Most of the stories come from the Victorian and pre-WWII eras, although there are some exceptions. The series is also notable because the editors have made a special effort to find interesting stories by lesser known writers and the more obscure (but almost always entertaining) tales of the usual suspects such as Bram Stoker, Poe, J. Sheridan le Fanu, Conan Doyle and F. Marion Crawford. The collection under review is a great deal of fun despite the odd clunker and one or two of the stories is exceptional (Gerald Durrell, of all people, is represented by "The Entrance" which I regard as a small masterpiece). Those in search of more thorough coverage of the genre are referred to "The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales," edited by Chris Baldick.

5-0 out of 5 stars Devouring Horric Tales
Every tale in this book is wonderous and mysterious. The gothic is fantastic! I fell into it like it was swallowing me whole. I couldn't put it down even through my suspicions of someone watching me or the chill bumps that ran through my spine like water spilling and covering every inch of me. It was an awsome book and I recomand it very well to any person who loves these kind of stories. ... Read more

list price: $15.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385306911
Catlog: Book (1992-09-01)
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Sales Rank: 1568325
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160. The Supernatural in Modern English Fiction
by Dorothy Scarborough
list price: $19.95
our price: $19.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1590210018
Catlog: Book (2001-06-01)
Publisher: Lethe Press
Average Customer Review: 4.86 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The supernatural is a traditional element in literature.Since the epic of Beowulf, there has been a continuing presence of the unearthly and weird in poetry, drama, and fiction.The Supernatural in Modern English Fiction, first published in 1917 during a period of renewed social and literary interest in the occult and spiritualism, offers readers an overview of some of the greatest known, as well as some forgotten yet eerily important, works of English literature.

From the precursor of supernaturalism, the Gothic novel with its gloomy castles and cloisters, to the ghosts and madness and horrors written in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, this volume is a guide to a grotesquerie of tales.With chapters like “The Devil and His Allies,” “The Supernatural in Folk-Tales,” and “Supernatural Science,” the unearthly and the bizarre are met inside these pages in all their myriad guises.

This is a book that will appeal to aficionados of fantastic and horror literature, offering new insight into the history of so many grand and delightfully macabre stories. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars The supernatural in literature
First of all the potential reader should know that this book was published in 1917, so the 'Modern' in the title refers to the latter part of the nineteenth century, and the earliest part of the twentieth century.

Secondly, the author omits mention of most of the ghost story authors from that period who are still popular today, e.g. J. S. Le Fanu (first ghostly tale published in 1838) and M. R. James (first collection of stories published in 1904). She also leaves out most of Victorian ladies whose ghost stories are still in print today, e.g. Mary Elizabeth Braddon, E. Nesbit, and Mrs. Riddell.

I would classify this book as an overview of the literature of supernatural fantasy and horror (including a Byronic poem about a vampire). The ghost story as defined and brought to its peak by Victorian and Edwardian authors, receives only brief mention in the chapter, "Modern Ghosts."

Scarborough begins with the Gothic Romance, of which she says: "The mysterious twilights of medievalism invited eyes tired of the noonday glare of Augustan formalism. The natural had become familiar to monotony, hence men craved the supernatural. And so the Gothic novel came into being."

'Gothic' is used to designate the eighteenth-century, pseudo-medieval novel of horror. The author begins with Horace Walpole's, "The Castle of Otranto"--if you are at all fond of Regency romances, you are bound to run across a heroine who is reading Walpole's tale of mad monks and haunted castles, or Mrs. Radcliffe's horrific "Mysteries of Udolpho." These novels depicting "decaying castles with treacherous stairways leading to mysterious rooms, halls of black marble, and vaults whose great rusty keys groan in the locks"--plus a heroine who wanders through spider-webbed corridors at midnight--did not have much staying power. According to Scarborough, Jane Austin finally gave this genre the kiss of death when she satirized their gloomy, overwrought style in "Northanger Abbey," which remained unpublished until after her death in 1818. "The Supernatural in Modern English Fiction" describes many gothic romance peculiarities in detail, while having a certain amount of gentle fun with them.

A chapter on European supernatural literature is followed by the aforementioned chapter on "Modern Ghosts." The author makes much of the effect Poe, Balzac, Hoffmann and other Romantic supernaturalists had on the nineteenth century English and American ghost story. Balzac in particular exerted a strong influence over Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, English author of "The Haunters and the Haunted," and progenitor of that infamous opening sentence, "It was a dark and stormy night..." (yes, that Bulwer-Lytton). Other stories that the author selects for discussion depend more on the Romantic tradition of insanity, gruesome decline, and horrid death to spark them along, rather than a purely supernatural mechanism. (As a matter of fact, Scarborough even published a novel in which the heroine was driven mad by the wind.)

She also expends a great deal of print on Spiritualism (which was already on the decline when this book was written), and the mystical, folkloric pantheism of such writers as W.B. Yeats ("The Celtic Twilight") and Algernon Blackwood ("Ancient Sorceries").

Scarborough draws heavily upon Romanticism, Spiritualism, and folklore for her chapters on "The Devil and His Allies," "Supernatural Life (which contains an excellent exposition on the legend of the Wandering Jew)," and "The Supernatural in Folk-tales."

"Supernatural Science" is the only really dated chapter in this book, with its discussions of hypnotism, the Fourth Dimension, uncanny chemistry, and students who exchange eyeballs. Even here, the author provides interesting commentary on A. Conan Doyle, H. G. Wells, Arthur Machen (whom she despises), and Ambrose Bierce, among other authors who were popular at the beginning of the twentieth century (and still are).

"The Supernatural in Modern English Fiction" should appeal to anyone who is interested in the evolution of fantasy and horror literature. Try "Elegant Nightmares: The English Ghost Story from Le Fanu to Blackwood" by Jack Sullivan or "Night Visitors: The Rise and Fall of the English Ghost Story" by Julia Briggs if your interest is more focused on literature that is entirely devoted to ghosts.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Cook's Tour of English Fantasy
This is the latest in Lethe Press's series of reissues of works on the occult. 'The Supernatural In Modern English Fiction' was written in 1917 by Dorothy Scarborough. Given that the series has been uneven so far I did not have high expectations for this volume, and have only now discovered that it is a veritable treasure trove of books and literary history. It covers the period from Horace Walpole's 'Castle of Otranto' and other Gothic romances straight through to the author's own present times in the early 20th Century.

This makes for a literal cast of thousands. I was quite surprised to discover that horror and fantasy were a major part of the world's literary output from the very beginnings of popular literature. From Walpole, Maturin, and Shelley right through to Doyle, Machen, and Blackwood it was indeed a crowded stage. And Scarborough manages to present most of these efforts in a readable and well-organized fashion. Initially we are given a historical approach, but then the themes are taken up separately. Ghost stories, the demonic, the wandering Jew, rebirth, the afterlife, folk tales, and even 'scientific' monsters each get their turn in the sun.

As I've indicated Scarborough writes without any of the boring academic tone which often haunts this kind of material. This makes this volume an entertaining way to hunt down new reading material as well as a help in steering one's way through book stall accretions with a steady hand. Keep a pencil and a piece of paper handy while reading this book, you are bound to find things of interest.

My only regret is the lack of a bibliography. Scarborough is quite up front about this. In addition to the 3,000 or so titles that she drew upon for the book, there was an even larger additional number that she felt should be provided to the reader/researcher. There simply was no room at the inn. Unfortunately, to our loss, the bibliography promised as a second volume never materialized. There is, however, a good index, which will have to serve in it's stead.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Beginning of Horror
Ever wonder where Horror Fiction came from? How has it progressed from the beginning Gothic story to the stuff it is made of today? This book will answer your questions.

A must have for the speculative fiction lover, this book covers every genre from the early gothic to the ghost stories of the 20th century. First published in 1917, Dorothy Scarbouough covers it all, the madness and the horror of the 18oo's.

I'm glad I discovered this book, it will remain a favorite for years to come.

5-0 out of 5 stars Oooh, old horror tales...
A very cool find... a friend gave me a copy as a birthday gift... so many different stories by authors I had never read... plus the author, Scarborough, has this cute concise way of writing. My fav chapter was on "The Devil and His Allies."

5-0 out of 5 stars I rediscovered lost works...
My bookshelves are filled with anthologies, the favorites being ones that contain some of the more obscure stories. What a pleasure to find this book! Scarborough lists some writers I have never heard of and set me scurrying online. She writes in a pleasant, easy style. ... Read more

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