Horror Stories

Edited by Darryl Jones. Oxford Univ., $24.95 (544p) ISBN 978-0-19-968543-1
Critical analysis meets shilling shocker in this eclectic sampling of 19th-century terror and titillation. “What do you consider to be the greatest element of terror?” asks Dr. Hammond in Fitz-James O’Brien’s “What Was It?” That question provides the central organizing theme of this comprehensive reprint anthology, which includes a wide range of aesthetic and philosophical replies. Jones’s introduction analyzes guiding principles of the Gothic, supernatural and psychological horror, and what he calls “Colonial Horror,” a politically motivated critical stance. Souls, minds, and bodies are transformed in 29 elegant nightmares whose ghosts, demons, monsters, and madmen mirror corresponding social concerns. Penny-dreadful menace reigns in Maginn’s “The Bell” and the Grand Guignol cruelty of Balzac’s “La Grande Bretêche.” Suggestive supernaturalism evokes tragedy in LeFanu’s “Shalken the Painter.” The ghostly thrills of M.R. James’s “Count Magnus” contrast nicely with the mythic terror of Algernon Blackwood’s “The Wendigo.” Even more intriguing are Richard Marshe’s pulpy “The Adventure of Lady Wishaw’s Hand” and James Hogg’s folklore-inspired “George Dobson’s Expedition to Hell,” neither of which has been widely reprinted. This survey of sensationalism will appeal to horror fans, critics, and academics alike. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/04/2014
Release date: 10/01/2014
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 560 pages - 978-0-19-968544-8
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