Trick or Treat! Get a worm cup of tea, curl by the fire, and enjoy the cold chills of this meticulously edited horror collection, jam-packed with the darkest mysteries, supernatural thrillers and gothic romances: James Malcolm Rymer & Thomas Peckett Prest: Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street Edgar Allan Poe: The Tell-Tale Heart The Fall of the House of Usher The Cask of Amontillado The Masque of the Red Death The Murders in the Rue Morgue Mary Shelley: Frankenstein The Mortal Immortal The Evil Eye John William Polidori: The Vampyre Bram Stoker: Dracula Théophile Gautier: Clarimonde The Mummy's Foot Washington Irving: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow The Spectre Bridegroom Henry James: The Turn of the Screw The Ghostly Rental H. P. Lovecraft: The Dunwich Horror From Beyond M. R. James: Canon Alberic's Scrap-Book Lost Hearts Wilkie Collins: The Haunted Hotel The Dead Secret E. F. Benson: The Room in the Tower The Terror by Night Nathaniel Hawthorne: Rappaccini's Daughter Ambrose Bierce: The Death of Halpin Frayser One Summer Night Arthur Machen: The Great God Pan The Three Impostors William Hope Hodgson: The House on the Borderland The Night Land Carnacki, the Ghost-Finder M. P. Shiel: Shapes in the Fire Arthur Conan Doyle: The Leather Funnel The Beetle Hunter Ralph Adams Cram: Black Spirits and White Grant Allen: The Reverend John Creedy Dr. Greatrex's Engagement Richard Marsh: The Beetle Thomas Hardy: What the Shepherd Saw The Grave by the Handpost Charles Dickens: The Signal-Man The Hanged Man's Bride Guy de Maupassant: The Horla The Flayed Hand Pedro De Alarçon: The Nail Walter Hubbell: The Great Amherst Mystery Francis Marion Crawford: The Dead Smile The Screaming Skull Man Overboard! For The Blood is the Life The Upper Berth By The Water of Paradise The Doll's Ghost John Buchan: No-Man's-Land The Watcher by the Threshold The Monkey's Paw The Severed Hand The Ghost in the Cap'n Brown House The Apparition of Mrs. Veal (Daniel Defoe) When the World Was Young (Jack London)…
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Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was born on August 30, 1797, into a life of personal tragedy. In 1816, she married the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and that summer traveled with him and a host of other Romantic intellectuals to Geneva.
Her greatest achievement was piecing together one of the most terrifying and renowned stories of all time: Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. Shelley conceived Frankenstein in, according to her, "a waking dream."
This vision was simply of a student kneeling before a corpse brought to life. Yet this tale of a mad creator and his abomination has inspired a multitude of storytellers and artists. She died on February 1, 1851.,
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.
Born in Dublin, Ireland, on November 8, 1847, Bram Stoker published his first literary work, The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland, a handbook in legal administration, in 1879.
Turning to fiction later in life, Stoker published his masterpiece, Dracula, in 1897. Deemed a classic horror novel not long after its release, Dracula has continued to garner acclaim for more than a century, inspiring the creation of hundreds of film, theatrical and literary adaptations.
In addition to Dracula, Stoker published more than a dozen novels before his death in 1912.
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.
Thomas Hardy was born in Dorset in 1840. His first published novel was Desperate Remedies in 1871. Such was the success of these early works, which included A Pair of Blue Eyes (1873) and Far From the Madding Crowd (1874), that he gave up his work as an architect to concentrate on his writing.
However, he had difficulty publishing Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1889) and was forced to make changes in order for it to be judged suitable for family readers. This, coupled with the stormy reaction to the negative tone of Jude the Obscure (1895), prompted Hardy to abandon writing novels altogether and he concentrated on poetry for the rest of his life. He died in January 1928.
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.
Guy de Maupassant was born in Normandy in 1850. In addition to his six novels, which include Bel-Ami (1885) and Pierre et Jean (1888), he wrote hundreds of short stories, the most famous of which is 'Boule de suif'.
By the late 1870s, he began to develop the first signs of syphilis, and in 1891 he was committed to an asylum in Paris, having tried to commit suicide. He died there two years later.
William Wilkie Collins was born in London in 1824, the son of a successful and popular painter. On leaving school, he worked in the office of a tea merchant in the Strand before reading law as a student at Lincoln's Inn. However his real passion was for writing and, in 1850, he published his first novel, Antonina.
In 1851, the same year that he was called to the bar, he met and established a lifelong friendship with Charles Dickens. While Collins' fame rests on his best known works, The Woman in White and The Moonstone, he wrote over thirty books, as well as numerous short stories, articles and plays. He was a hugely popular writer in his lifetime. An unconventional individual, he never married but established long-term liaisons with two separate partners. He died in 1889.
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.
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.
A veteran of the American Civil War who fought at Shiloh and Chickamauga in the Union ranks, Bierce became one of America's best-known writers and journalists, admired for his insolent, entertaining and sometimes courageous columns.
In 1913 he set off for Mexico, then in the throes of revolution, and was never seen again. Ralph Steadman is the author of many illustrated books including Sigmund Freud, I Leonardo, The Big I Am, The Scar-Strangled Banner, Alice and Animal Farm. His most recent publication is the novel, Doodaaa.
Arthur Machen (Arthur Llewelyn Jones), a Welsh author of supernatural, fantasy, and horror fiction, was born on March 3, 1863. He grew up in Caerleon, Monmouthshire, and attended boarding school at Hereford Cathedral School.
He moved to London in 1881 and worked as a journalist, children's tutor, and publisher's clerk, finding time to write at night. By 1894, Machen had his first major success.
The Great God Pan was published by John Lane, and despite widespread criticism for its sexual and horrific content, it sold well and went into a second edition.
In the 1920s Machen's work became immensely popular in the United States, but Machen experienced increasing poverty; he was saved in 1931 by receiving a Civil List pension from the British government. Arthur Machen died on March 30, 1947.
Washington Irving was born in 1783 in New York City. In addition to writing fiction, Irving studied law, worked for his family's business in England and wrote essays for periodicals.
Some of his most famous tales, including Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, were first published under the pseudonym Geoffrey Crayon.
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.
Harriet Beecher Stowe was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, in 1811, the seventh child of a well-known Congregational minister, Lyman Beecher. The family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where she met and married Calvin Stowe, a professor of theology, in 1836.
Living just across the Ohio River from the slave-holding state of Kentucky, and becoming aware of the plight of escaping slaves, led her to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin, published in book form in 1842. She wrote the novel amidst the difficulties of bringing up a large family of six children.
The runaway success of Uncle Tom’s Cabin made its author a well-known publish figure. Stowe died in 1896.
Daniel Defoe was a Londoner, born in 1660 at St Giles, Cripplegate, and son of James Foe, a tallow-chandler. He changed his name to Defoe from c. 1695. He was educated for the Presbyterian Ministry at Morton's Academy for Dissenters at Newington Green, but in 1682 he abandoned this plan and became a hosiery merchant in Cornhill. After serving briefly as a soldier in the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion, he became well established as a merchant and travelled widely in England, as well as on the Continent.
Between 1697 and 1701 he served as a secret agent for William III in England and Scotland, and between 1703 and 1714 for Harley and other ministers. During the latter period he also, single-handed, produced the Review, a pro-government newspaper. A prolific and versatile writer he produced some 500 books on a wide variety of topics, including politics, geography, crime, religion, economics, marriage, psychology and superstition. He delighted in role-playing and disguise, a skill he used to great effect as a secret agent, and in his writing he often adopted a pseudonym or another personality for rhetorical impact.
His first extant political tract (against James II) was published in 1688, and in 1701 appeared his satirical poem The True-Born Englishman, which was a bestseller. Two years later he was arrested for The Shortest-Way with the Dissenters, an ironical satire on High Church extremism, committed to Newgate and pilloried. He turned to fiction relatively late in life and in 1719 published his great imaginative work, Robinson Crusoe. This was followed in 1722 by Moll Flanders and A Journal of the Plague Year, and in 1724 by his last novel, Roxana.
His other works include A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain, a guide-book in three volumes (1724–6; abridged Penguin edition, 1965), The Complete English Tradesman (1726), Augusta Triumphans, (1728), A Plan of the English Commerce (1728) and The Complete English Gentleman (not published until 1890). He died on 24 April 1731. Defoe had a great influence on the development of the English novel and many consider him to be the first true novelist.
Jack London (1876 - 1916), lived a life rather like one of his adventure stories. He was born John Chaney, the son of a travelling Irish-American fortune-teller and Flora Wellman, the outcast of a rich family. By the time Jack was a year old, Flora had married a grocer called John London and settled into a life of poverty in Pennsylvania. As Jack grew up he managed to escape from his grim surroundings into books borrowed from the local library - his reading was guided by the librarian.
At fifteen Jack left home and travelled around North America as a tramp - he was once sent to prison for thirty days on a charge of vagrancy. At nineteen he could drink and curse as well as any boatman in California! He never lost his love of reading and even returned to education and gained entry into the University of California. He soon moved on and in 1896 joined the gold rush to the Klondyke in north-west Canada. He returned without gold but with a story in his head that became a huge best-seller - The Call of the Wild - and by 1913 he was the highest -paid and most widely read writer in the world. He spent all his money on his friends, on drink and on building himself a castle-like house which was destroyed by fire before it was finished. Financial difficulties led to more pressure than he could cope with and in 1916, at the age of forty, Jack London committed suicide.
Titles such as The Call of the Wild, The Sea-Wolf and White Fang continue to excite readers today.
Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name, Mark Twain, was born on November 30, 1835, in the tiny village of Florida, Missouri.
Writing grand tales about Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and the mighty Mississippi River, Mark Twain explored the American soul with wit, buoyancy, and a sharp eye for truth. He became nothing less than a national treasure.
Lafcadio Hearn (1850–1904) was instrumental in introducing Western readers to Japanese culture and literature. Raised in Dublin and a longtime resident of the United States, the writer, translator, and teacher adopted Japanese citizenship and served as Professor of English Literature at the Imperial University of Tokyo.
Henry James was born in New York in 1843 and was educated in Europe and America. He left Harvard Law School in 1863, after a year's attendance, to concentrate on writing, and from 1869 he began to make prolonged visits to Europe, eventually settling in England in 1876.
His literary output was prodigious and of the highest quality: more than ten outstanding novels, including The Portrait of a Lady and The American; countless novellas and short stories; as well as innumerable essays, letters, and other pieces of critical prose. Known by contemporary fellow novelists as 'the Master', James died in Kensington, London, in 1916.
John Buchan was born in Perth. His father was a minister of the Free Church of Scotland; and in 1876 the family moved to Fife where in order to attend the local school the small boy had to walk six miles a day. Later they moved again to the Gorbals in Glasgow and John Buchan went to Hutchesons' Grammar School, Glasgow University (by which time he was already publishing articles in periodicals) and Brasenose College, Oxford.
His years at Oxford - 'spent peacefully in an enclave like a monastery' - nevertheless opened up yet more horizons and he published five books and many articles, won several awards including the Newdigate Prize for poetry and gained a First. His career was equally diverse and successful after university and, despite ill-health and continual pain from a duodenal ulcer, he played a prominent part in public life as a barrister and Member of Parliament, in addition to being a writer, soldier and publisher. In 1907 he married Susan Grosvenor, and the marriage was supremely happy. They had one daughter and three sons. He was created Baron Tweedsmuir of Elsfield in 1935 and became the fifteenth Governor-General of Canada, a position he held until his death in 1940. 'I don't think I remember anyone,' wrote G. M. Trevelyan to his widow, 'whose death evoked a more enviable outburst of sorrow, love and admiration.'
John Buchan's first success as an author came with Prester John in 1910, followed by a series of adventure thrillers, or 'shockers' as he called them, all characterized by their authentically rendered backgrounds, romantic characters, their atmosphere of expectancy and world-wide conspiracies, and the author's own enthusiasm. There are three main heroes: Richard Hannay, whose adventures are collected in The Complete Richard Hannay; Dickson McCunn, the Glaswegian provision merchant with the soul of a romantic, who features in Huntingtower, Castle Gay and The House of the Four Winds; and Sir Edward Leithen, the lawyer who tells the story of John MacNab and Sick Heart River, John Buchan's final novel. In addition, John Buchan established a reputation as an historical biographer with such works as Montrose, Oliver Cromwell and Augustus.
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