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Spectral Tales

Spectral Tales

Classic Ghost Stories

by M. R. JamesE. F. Benson Bierce Ambrose and others
Paperback
Publication Date: 06/09/2019
RRP  $26.40 $25.95
From the dawn of storytelling we have been mesmerized, entertained, and fascinated by stories of other-worldly visitations. Our earliest folklore and oral tales suggest that even before recorded time, on every continent and in every language, we created narratives to animate our fear of the unknown.The classic stories in this anthology have been selected for their literary style, psychological complexity, and enduring power to electrify both the imagination and the senses. As varied, rooted in, and intriguingly expressive of their time and place, these stories give expression to a universal hunch that we live among ghosts-whether of the past or in the form of portending presences. From Edgar Allan Poe's timeless "The Tell-Tale Heart" to M. R. James's "Count Magnus" to Algernon Blackwood's subtly unnerving "The Willows" each of these tales rise to-and in many ways define-the high water mark of the genre.Includes the full text of H. P. Lovecraft's superb essay, Supernatural Horror in Literature, an illuminating history and exploration of the art of the weird story-along with brief author biographies.
ISBN:
9781734029208
9781734029208
Category:
Fiction
Format:
Paperback
Publication Date:
06-09-2019
Language:
English
Publisher:
Warbler Press
Country of origin:
United States
Dimensions (mm):
203.2x133.35x25.4mm
M. R. James

Montague Rhodes James was born on 1 August 1862 near Bury St Edmunds, though he spent long periods of his later life in Suffolk, which provided the setting for many of his ghost stories. He studied at Eton and Kings College, Cambridge, where he was eventually elected Fellow, and then made Provost in 1905. In 1918 he became Provost of Eton.

He was a renowed medievalist and biblical scholar, and published works on palaeography, antiquarianism, bibliography and history, guides to Suffolk and Norfolk, as well as editing a collection of ghost stories by Sheridan Le Fanu.

However, he remains best known for his own ghost stories, which were published in several collections including Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (1904), A Thin Ghost and Other Stories (1919), A Warning to the Curious (1925) and a collected edition in 1931. M. R. James never married and died on 12 June 1936.

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens was born in 1812 and became the most popular novelist of the Victorian era.

A prolific writer, he published more than a dozen novels in his lifetime, including Oliver Twist, Great Expectations and Hard Times, most of which have been adapted many times over for radio, stage and screen.

Arthur Conan Doyle

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh in 1859 and died in 1930. Within those years was crowded a variety of activity and creative work that made him an international figure and inspired the French to give him the epithet 'the good giant'.

He was the nephew of 'Dickie Doyle' the artist, and was educated at Stonyhurst, and later studied medicine at Edinburgh University, where the methods of diagnosis of one of the professors provided the idea for the methods of deduction used by Sherlock Holmes. He set up as a doctor at Southsea and it was while waiting for patients that he began to write.

His growing success as an author enabled him to give up his practice and turn his attention to other subjects. His greatest achievement was, of course, his creation of Sherlock Holmes, who soon attained international status and constantly distracted him from his other work; at one time Conan Doyle killed him but was obliged by public protest to restore him to life.

And in his creation of Dr Watson, Holmes's companion in adventure and chronicler, Conan Doyle produced not only a perfect foil for Holmes but also one of the most famous narrators in fiction.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts, where he wrote the bulk of his masterful tales of American colonial history.

His career as a novelist began with The Scarlet Letter (1850) and also includes The house of the Seven Gables, The Blithedale Romance, and The Marble Faun.

W. W. Jacobs

William Wymark Jacobs (1863 1943) was a prolific short-story writer.

Known for his trademark wit even in the horror story 'The Monkey's Paw', for which he is best known Jacobs set most of his stories in the docks of East London, where he lived from a young age, as well as in Essex, where he moved in his middle age.

Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling was born in India in 1865. After intermittently moving between India and England during his early life, he settled in the latter in 1889, published his novel The Light That Failed in 1891 and married Caroline (Carrie) Balestier the following year.

They returned to her home in Brattleboro, Vermont, where Kipling wrote the two Jungle Books and Captains Courageous.

He continued to write prolifically and was the first Englishman to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907 but his later years were darkened by the death of his son John at the Battle of Loos in 1915. He died in 1936.

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) is one of America's greatest and best-loved writers.

Known as the father of the detective story, Poe is perhaps most famous for his short stories particularly his shrewd mysteries and chilling, often grotesque tales of horror he was also an extremely accomplished poet and a tough literary critic.

Poe's life was not far removed from the drama of his fiction. Orphaned at a young age, he was raised by a foster family. As a young man, he developed problems with gambling, debts, and alcohol, and was even dismissed from the army.

His love life was marked by tragedy and heartbreak. Despite these difficulties, Poe produced many works now considered essential to the American literary canon.

Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton (1862-1937) was a brilliant, clever American writer known for such works as The House of Mirth and Ethan Frome. She became the first woman to win a Pulitzer when she was awarded the 1921 Prize for her novel The Age of Innocence.

A member of the New York elite, Wharton funnelled her experiences into vivid portrayals and critiques of high society, while deftly exposing the painful tension between personal desires and societal norms. Wharton died in Paris in 1937 at the age of 75, having written 85 short stories, 16 novels, 11 works of nonfiction, and 3 books of poetry.

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