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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2000
Victorian Ghost Stories: An Oxford Anthology has some of the best constructed and most chilling stories I have ever laid my eyes on. The characters, the settings, the plots and the dialogue from each of the stories all seem well thought out and written. I never lost my interest and always wanted to "read just one more page", from the simple to the complex, each story was wonderful in it's own way. I am sure, that if you are interested in ghosts, or just enjoy a good story now and then, this is for you. This is not a bunch of kiddy stories either, the pages are full of real talent and are portrayed with disturbing grace. I cannot say enough for this book and I am saddened that I am the only one who has written a review on such an extraordinary anthology. Please look into this one, it's worth anyone's money...this is the stuff that needs to be taught in schools.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
For the sake of atmosphere, read "Victorian Ghost Stories" with a candle to light your way through its mysterious passages.
A very large candle.
There are thirty-five stories within its four-hundred-and-eighty-nine pages, and you must read them all before dawn.
Actually, you should savor this supernatural feast one story at a time. Its editors, who are both scholars of occult literature, collected the best of the best from the Golden Age of ghost story writing. If you are already a reader of the phantasmagoric, some of the anthology will be familiar, e.g. "An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street," "The Romance of Certain Old Clothes," or "John Charrington's Wedding."
There are also lesser-known tales of vengeful ghosts, haunted houses, and "things in a dead man's eye," the latter courtesy of Rudyard Kipling's "At the End of the Passage."
According to the editors' introduction, one of their aims for this anthology was to "map out the development of the Victorian ghost story from circa 1850...it is in the 1850s that the distinct, anti-Gothic character of the Victorian ghost story begins to emerge." Which is not to say that the Gothic emphasis on moldering sepulchres is altogether missing. Try "The Tomb of Sarah" by F. G. Loring, whose story begins with the memorial inscription:
"SARAH. 1630. FOR THE SAKE OF THE DEAD AND THE WELFARE OF THE LIVING, LET THIS SEPULCHRE REMAIN UNTOUCHED AND ITS OCCUPANT UNDISTURBED TILL THE COMING OF CHRIST."
Of course, the story's protagonist believes he has an excellent reason for disturbing the dead. Or in Sarah's case, the Undead.
Make certain your candle is not burning low before you start "The Tomb of Sarah," or any of the other tales in this haunting collection.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2003
I cannot get enough of James, Gaskell, Le Fanu, Dickens...I have discovered I'm an Anglophile. I adore all that fog, gloom, polite horror and ghosts with lovely elocution. These stories are like a box of your favorite candy. You'll love them!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2001
These stories offer layer upon layer of Victorian manners, Victorian attitudes, and sumptuous settings. Nineteenth century England through the eyes of its contemporaries is fascinating--and uncomfortably familiar. The befuddled rich and the harried servants. Being afraid to tell someone what you saw. Being afraid of rocking the boat. These stories are really about the consequences of one's deeds--how even the grave cannot set one free of one's angst. Two sisters in love with the same man. The domineering father who disapproves of his daughter's choice in a husband. The amoral medical student who will do anything to stay in the spotlight. The terrible vow uttered in a moment of passion, which echoes throughout one's entire life. The secret obsession we all have about what really happens after we close our eyes for the last time. If you're fascinated by the endless labyrinth of the human heart, and relish the sensation of the hair on your neck standing up, then this book's for you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
There's something about October that gets me in the mood to read highly atmospheric tales of the supernatural, and over the years I've been collecting many old anthologies of ghost stories, and other tales of the supernatural. "Victorian Ghost Stories: An Oxford Anthology" is a wonderful blend of atmospheric and chilling ghost stories set during the Victorian era. Michael Cox (who has compiled some noteworthy anthologies) together with R.A. Gilbert have put together 35 tales of the supernatural, written by authors that range from the well-known such as M.R. James, J.S. Le Fanu, and Algernon Blackwood to lesser known ones such as Rhoda Broughton and Mrs. Craik. I was especially pleased that there's many women writers whose works are included in here, which is not usually the case with older anthologies of ghost and supernatural stories.

I'm listing the stories included in here because as an ardent reader of horror anthologies, I have found it most helpful to know which stories are contained in a particular volume so that I may decide if it is worth checking out:

The Old Nurse's Story - Elizabeth Gaskell
An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street - J.S. Le Fanu
The Miniature - J.Y. Akerman
The Last House in C-Street - Dinah Mulock (Mrs. Craik)
To Be Taken With a Grain of Salt - Charles Dickens
The Botathen Ghost - R.S. Hawker
The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth - Rhoda Broughton
The Romance of Certain Old Clothes - Henry James
Pichon & Sons, of the Croix Rousse - Anon.
Reality or Delusion - Mrs. Henry Wood
Uncle Cornelius His Story - George McDonald
The Shadow of a Shade - Tom Hood
At Crighton Abbey - Mary Elizabeth Braddon
No Living Voice - Thomas Street Millington
Miss Jeromette and the Clergyman - Wilkie Collins
The Story of Clifford House - Anon.
Was It an Illusion? - Amelia B. Edwards
The Open Door - Charlotte Riddell
The Captain of the 'Pole-star' - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Body-Snatcher - R.L. Stevenson
The Story of the Rippling Train - Mary Louisa Molesworth
At the End of The Passage - Rudyard Kipling
"To Let' - B.M. Croker
John Charrington's Wedding - E. Nesbit
The Haunted Organist of Hurly Burly - Rosa Mulholland
The Man of Science - Jerome K. Jerome
Canon Alberic's Scrap-Book - M.R. James
Jerry Bundler - W.W. Jacobs
An Eddy on the Floor - Bernard Capes
The Tomb of Sarah - F.G. Loring
The Case of Vincent Pyrwhit - Barry Pain
The Shadows on the Wall - Mary E. Wilkins
Father Macclesfield's Tale - R.H. Benson
Thurnley Abbey - Perceval Landon
The Kit-bag - Algernon Blackwood

In addition to an introduction and the stories, there is also a listing of sources, and a select chronological conspectus of ghost stories from 1840-1910. I'd recommend this diverse anthology of Victorian ghost stories to any fan of classic horror stories.
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on May 4, 2015
Very extensive collection. Nice to have around when you are looking for a scary short story to read while waiting, some much longer. Definitely recommend.
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on February 28, 2015
LOVE THE SHORT STORIES LATE ON A RAINY NIGHT!
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3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2003
this collection contains a good deal of godd ghost stories, like an eddy on the floor and the shadow on the wall, making it a worthwhile read. old fashioned ghost stories. silent, subtle, growing on you. why only three stars? well, the uninteresting stories in the collections are really uninteresting. sometimes i don't see the interest at all. but you should still buy this.
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