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The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales

The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales 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 the late eighteenth century

  • Title: The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales
  • Author: Chris Baldick
  • ISBN: 9780192862198
  • Page: 468
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 the late eighteenth century to the present day Gothic fiction is generally identified with Horace Walpole s Castle of Otranto and the works of Ann Radcliffe, and with heroes and heroines menaced by feuThe 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 the late eighteenth century to the present day Gothic fiction is generally identified with 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 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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    1 thought on “The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales

    1. This is a wonderful anthology,not a single dud story in the lot. I've taught stories out of this best Gothic collection of tales since the first edition came out in 1993.If you want a good laugh, read "Sir Bertram: A Fragment" (written 1773).It's a gold mine for Freudian analysis: towers, swords, an "intricate, winding" passage. When Sir B finds his lost wife, he doesn't "shout" but "ejaculates" (verbally). A hoot.It's hard to pick favorites in such a great collection, but when pressed, I'd choo [...]

    2. This is a well-selected compilation of Gothic tales - appealing for its sheer entertainment value, but also for the overview of the genre which it provides (37 tales in all). An excellent intro by the editor (avoids heavy critical jargon/only one minor spoiler) distinguishes the gothic from other kinds of supernatural tales - a distinction which I'd never thought about - and makes a good case for summarising gothic fiction as a way of exercising anxieties about systems of tyranny and oppression, [...]

    3. With this anthology is very easy to see how Ghotic Literature evolved through the centuries. I. Beginnings (XVIII Century)Sir Bertrand: A Fragment by Anna Laetitia Aikin - 4*The Poisoner of Montremos by Richard Cumberland - 4*The Friar's Tale by Anonymous - 4*Raymond: A Fragment by Juvenis' - 3*The Parricide Punished by Anonymous - 3*The Ruins of the Abbey of Fitz-Martin by Anonymous - 4*The Vindictive Monk or the Fatal Ring by Isaac Crookenden - 4*II - XIX CenturyThe Astrologer's Prediction or [...]

    4. This one is hard to rate. The stories are great examples of gothic tales, and there are some classics (Lovecraft's The Outsider, Poe's Fall of the House of Usher, Doyle's Adventure of the Speckled Band) and some pleasant surprises (Ray Russell's Sardonicus and Frederick Cowles' The Vampire of Kaldenstein). I even liked the Thomas Hardy entry, Barbara of the House of Grebe, and I normally despise Hardy's work. Gotta admit he fits right in here, though: okay situation gets bad, might get better bu [...]

    5. A massive collection of stories spanning the history of gothic fiction. Tragic, strange, dark and grim, the stories are varied in length and structure, and will give you hours of sinister entertainment. It's sometimes hard to define what a gothic tale is, but reading this book will give you an understanding of the genre.

    6. There was no way I could have passed by this book and not pick it up, and after picking it up, not wanting to read it. Not even the fact that it was the only copy and looked slightly worn, with a bent corner, could make me put it back on the shelf in the bookstore. The book is divided into three sections with 37 stories from the 18th, 19th and 20th century. One of them, "Sir Betrand: A Fragment", by Anna Laetitia Aikin, can be found here: horrormasters/Text/a01 I found the story intriguing, cons [...]

    7. The most interesting anthologies, like the best compilations, tell a story of their own, piecing together a jigsaw of distinct works. In a somewhat contrary fashion, this collection maps the evolution of Gothic literature, a genre best known for its novels, by reconstructing its history around the short story. Editor Chris Baldick makes a persuasive case for celebrating the gothic tale in its own right, much like the ghost story is enjoyed. His introduction sets out the criteria for what makes a [...]

    8. As with all collections, you'll love a few, be okay with most, and dislike a few too. My favorites are Selina Sedilia for its great humor, and Sardonicus for its nastiness.Gothic Tales mostly seem to be set in mouldering, decaying castles and their inhabitants seem to be in similar condition. There is a lot of insanity, some blood lust and an excess of inbreeding that can only lead to bad things. Mysteries abound until the end of the story and the final reveal is often pretty distasteful. That's [...]

    9. This book presents a comprehensive collection of Gothis tales from the beginnings of the genre (e.g the 1773 "Sir Bertrand: A Fragment" by Anna Leathia Aikin, to the 19th century works (e.g the 1839 "A Chapter in the House of a Tyrone Family" by Sheridan Le Fanu), and to more recent 20th century works (e.g the 1934 "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner"). The book also includes a very interesting and informative introduction on the specific characteristics and history of the Gothic tale. I high [...]

    10. Anthologies are always a mixed bag, but there were very few here I didn't enjoy. My favorite was Miss de Mannering of Asham (1935) which is a lovely anti-Heyer.

    11. The few stories I made it through were overly melodramatic and flagrantly racist against ethnic Catholic type people. Yuck! Not scary, just sad.

    12. Very interesting! Five stars for the amount of representation of female authors and for the interesting selection of gothic tales from all over. The juxtaposition of the stories really made the contrasts and/or commonalities shine. Three stars for the weight and heft of the book and for some of the duds that I just couldn't get through.

    13. I did not read this whole book. I checked it out to read only one tale that I was unfamiliar with, and I didn't like it. These are all examples of classic gothic stories, but I suppose I am not really a fan of gothic tales!

    14. 2014:~Selina Sedilia by Bret Harte: Hilarious for a classic gothic tale! 4*2013: ~The Outsider by H.P. Lovecraft: Nicely crafted; my first Lovecraft 4*~The Ruins of the Abbey of Fitz-Martin by Anonymous: Melodramatic to say the least 3*~Lady Eltringham or The Castle of Ratcliffe Cross by J. Wadham: Pithy,4*~The Poisoner of Montremos by Richard Cumberland 4*~The Friar's Tale by Anonymous, 3*~Raymond: A Fragment by 'Juvenis' 3*~The Parricide Punished by Anonymous 4*~The Vindictive Monk or The Fata [...]

    15. This is an old but trusted favourite of mine.If there is one book that I would recommend regarding good Gothic fiction, it would be The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales (Oxford Books of Prose). This book has been my staple since a long time ago. To give you some idea of what you can find in this book, Part I "Beginnings," contains such classics as "The Vindictive Monk of the Fatal Ring"; the next section, or Part II "The Nineteenth Century," includes some outstanding stories by the customary Poe and [...]

    16. If there is one book that I would recommend regarding good Gothic fiction, it would be The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales (Oxford Books of Prose). This book has been my staple since a long time ago. To give you some idea of what you can find in this book, Part I "Beginnings," contains such classics as "The Vindictive Monk of the Fatal Ring"; the next section, or Part II "The Nineteenth Century," includes some outstanding stories by the customary Poe and Hawthorne, as well as "Jean-Ah Poquelin" by G [...]

    17. I'll never forget picking this up expecting a treat, and instead -- barring only the Fragments (which is a literary form that fascinates me beyond its application to the gothic) all I got was 900 pages of sadism and brutality and horror and especially Angela Barrett's retelling of the Countess Bathory story which is the most unpleasant experience I've ever had reading a book, bar none . . . (OK, Anne Rice's vile SLEEPING BEAUTY books would beat it if I'd actually read more than just a few pages [...]

    18. This collection of short stories is an excellent overview of the gothic genre, from its inception in the late Eighteenth Century to the modern era.In the introduction, Baldick explains what the gothic genre is. The stories selected were obviously selected with care and are all great examples. They are organized by date, from earliest to the present, making it easy to see how the genre has evolved over time.My personal favorites were the Speckled Band by Arthur Conan Doyle and Hurst of Hurstcote [...]

    19. The stories are presented in chronological order, and best read that way. If you ignore the first two or three stories--even if we do include those, this still merits five stars. On the assembly line are outstanding works by writers who know the genre best (Sheridan Le Fanu), and famous writers whom I had no inkling could write gothic horror, once upon a time (Thomas Hardy). A must-read are the first few pages, which explains the factors that make up a gothic tale. Sinister old house, repressed [...]

    20. out of breath and shakingis book defied my expectations. it was so creepy and eerie and i could not get myself to read it at night. the one time i did, i could not sleep for HOURS.i'm now looking at the term "goth" in a whole new light: twilight and all the other vampire stories i have ever read is a JOKE compared to the vampire stories in here. ugh, they can't even be compared together.

    21. Other than the stories I've already made some comments on through my updates, I'd like to mention Olalla and Sardonicus as stand-outs. The others (as seen in my updates) are Sir Bertrand: A Fragment, The Fall of the House of Usher, A Chapter in the History of a Tyrone Family, and Selina Sedilia.All in all, a pretty good mix that's cemented my lack of interest in new Gothic and growing love for the pre-20th century form of the genre (with exceptions, but not many).

    22. An interesting mix of short stories, some very old (and strange). I did not read one of them, as it was not so much a story as a list of the tortures Countess Bathory inflicted on young women. No thanks!These were my favorites: Rappaccini's Daughter, Selina Sedilia, The Yellow Wallpaper, The Outsider, The Vampire of Kaldenstein and Sardonicus. The Monkey was terrible.

    23. Anyone interested in the Gothic genre should start, yes, with the classic novels. But anyone interested with only time for short stories start here. It's a time-capsule of some of the greatest stories of the genre from it's beginnings into the late 20th century. Read each one. Savor them, and realize why it's such a brilliant genre.

    24. Very enjoyable, for the most part. Of course, some stories were WAY better than others, but it was interesting to see the evolution of the short gothic tale and to see examples all the way from the 18th century through the 20th.

    25. The Yellow Wallpaper by Chralotte Perkins Gilman/Stetson is the best story in the book. There are many great authors, yet not exactly the best stories from them. Still it is worth a read through if you want to explore the history of gothic fiction.

    26. This book is full of spooky tales. At times I would actually jump if I heard a loud noise while reading. It gives a wide selection of of authors, starting in the late 18th century (the rise of gothic) to more well-known authors such as Hawthorne. Take your time reading this book, story by story.

    27. This is a great collection of authentic Gothic tales. back to the earliest stories of this genre in the 18th century. While the predominant collection of tales is within the 19th century, there are those that pre-date that era, as well as many that follow it.

    28. Uneven like these collections can be, and I won't pretend I read it all. Provides a nice chronological overview of short gothic fiction from the 1700s to the 1990s.

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