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The Haunted House (Modern Library Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Charles Dickens , Wesley Stace
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $6.95
Kindle Price: $2.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

On Christmas Eve, a party of friends descends on a purportedly haunted country retreat, charged with the task of discovering evidence of the supernatural. Sequestered in their rooms for the holiday, the friends reconvene on Twelfth Night at a great feast and share their stories of spectral encounter. “Conducted” by Charles Dickens and counting Elizabeth Gaskell and Wilkie Collins among its contributors, The Haunted House examines quintessentially Victorian themes–sex and longing, nostalgia and loss–in ways that continue to resonate today. Ingeniously conceived and written, and spiked with flashes of Dickensian humor, this volume is a strange and sheer delight.


Editorial Reviews

Review

'The Haunted House is of the utmost significance for anyone interested in exploring the genius of Charles Dickens' Peter Ackroyd

From the Publisher

Hesperus Press, as suggested by their Latin motto, Et remotissima prope, is dedicated to bringing near what is far—far both in space and time. Works by illustrious authors, often unjustly neglected or simply little known in the English–speaking world, are made accessible through a completely fresh editorial approach or new translations. Through these short classic works, which feature forewords by leading contemporary authors, the modern reader will be introduced to the greatest writers of Europe and America. An elegantly designed series of exceptional books.

Product Details

  • File Size: 431 KB
  • Print Length: 146 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0486463095
  • Publisher: Modern Library (December 18, 2007)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000XUBFS8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,513,008 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
(9)
3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant Surprise November 10, 2010
Format:Paperback
This book was an unexpected delight. I had never even heard of it before when I found it in a bookshop in London. It sounded rather interesting, and I was intrigued by the collaboration of Elizabeth Gaskell and Wilkie Collins (along with a few others) with Charles Dickens. On first glance, I thought it was simply a collection of short stories, but I was surprised to discover how they all worked together. It appears to be a sort of creative experiment, and for me at least, I found that it works.
I began reading this just before Halloween, thinking it an appropriate time, but it may have been more appropriate around Christmas because the story is very much connected with that holiday. I was expecting something Gothic in nature, based on the tittle, but what I received was even more pleasurable and I can't wait to share it with others. It is not really a scary story, but rather an enjoyable and interesting exploration of the creative mind.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
My problem with The Haunted House is based entirely on my expectations, which I based on the jacket description promising "an ingenious, multi-authored tale of the supernatural." Dickens, acting as ringmaster for a host of his literati friends, does in fact provide a brilliant conceit wherein the narrator becomes taken with a haunted house and decides to shack up there with a house party and have each guest expose, room by room, the supernatural shenanigans within. However, by the end of the second narrative it's become clear that the only hauntings here are emotional ones, and each author goes on to recount a tale of emotional trauma.

Now, there's still good work here - particularly that done by Dickens and his best bud/bete noir Wilkie Collins - but if you came to this, as I did, looking for a set of nicely restrained yet utterly creepy 19th century ghost stories you will be (as I was) completely out of luck.
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3.0 out of 5 stars More premise than promise October 21, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Haunted House is an anthology of connected stories, three of which Charles Dickens wrote, the others penned by writers of his time. The premise is that the narrator, for reasons of health (have you noticed how prominent discussions of health are in Victorian literature?) rents a country house for three months with his sister. They fall in love with the house and decide to invite their friends to stay with them. Because the house is reputedly haunted, the guests decide that on their last night together, which occurs during the Christmas season, they should tell the ghost stories of their various rooms. For instance, Wilkie Collins's chapter is called "The Ghost in the Cupboard Room," and Charles Dickens's chapter is "The Ghost in the Corner Room."

I decided to try this book because I'm a fan of Elizabeth Gaskell and wanted to sample her ghost fiction. I love her novels North and South and Cranford. I also love the story of Mary Barton, which I read in college. However, I recently tried to re-read Mary Barton and just could not manage the dialect she used for her working class characters. Pages of phonetic spelling filled with apostrophes stopped me in my tracks, and I haven't been back to the wonderful story of Mary Barton. Unfortunately, Gaskell's story in The Haunted House, "The Ghost in the Garden Room," follows the same pattern of phonetic dialectal spelling, no doubt intended to enrich the reader with an authentic experience. For the modern reader, the opposite happens. We fall out of the story, mired in nearly incomprehensible dialogue. Here's an example: "He'll...be 'a for settling in a quiet town life, wi' a wife that's noan so fur fra' me at this very minute. An' we oud folk, as we get into years, must gi' up farm" (96).
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4.0 out of 5 stars If you like Victorian literature October 2, 2013
Format:Paperback
Charles Dickens (1812-70) is widely remembered today as an author of high quality, socially conscious literature. However, another work of Dickens was his weekly literary magazine called All the Year Round, which was published from 1859 to 1895. In 1854, Dickens decided to revisit the theme of his wildly successful Christmas novels - five books that began with A Christmas Carol.

This book is a collection of eight short stories from All the Year Round, taking the form of a group of people spending three months in a haunted house, and then discussing their experiences. The authors of the stories are quite a mixed bag. First of all three of the eight stories were written by Mr. Dickens himself. Then, there was Hesba Stretton (1832-1911) an author of children's books, George Augustus Sala (1828-95) a journalist and author, Adelaide Anne Procter (1825-64) a poet of some renown, Wilkie Collins (1824-89) the famous novelist and playwright, and Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-65) a very famous English novelist.

Overall, I found this to be an entertaining short story collection. Yes, the styles of the stories do vary widely, with Ms. Procter's obviously being in the form of verse. The stories were all written during the early part of the Victorian Era, and as such are more in the form of Victorian popular literature, rather than modern horror literature. If you like Victorian literature, then you will no doubt like this book, but if you don't...well, I would recommend you give this one a pass.
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More About the Author

One of the grand masters of Victorian literature, Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Landport, Portsea, England. He died in Kent on June 9, 1870. The second of eight children of a family continually plagued by debt, the young Dickens came to know not only hunger and privation,but also the horror of the infamous debtors' prison and the evils of child labor. A turn of fortune in the shape of a legacy brought release from the nightmare of prison and "slave" factories and afforded Dickens the opportunity of two years' formal schooling at Wellington House Academy. He worked as an attorney's clerk and newspaper reporter until his Sketches by Boz (1836) and The Pickwick Papers (1837) brought him the amazing and instant success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. In later years, the pressure of serial writing, editorial duties, lectures, and social commitments led to his separation from Catherine Hogarth after twenty-three years of marriage. It also hastened his death at the age of fifty-eight, when he was characteristically engaged in a multitude of work.

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