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12/23/19

Victorian Ghost Stories: An Oxford Anthology

Victorian Ghost Stories: An Oxford AnthologyAuthor/Edited by Michael Cox and R.A. Gilbert

Summary: A collection of Victorian ghost stories from the earliest to the latest in the genre. Depicting how the horror genre has evolve over time.

The Introduction: Talk about what the meaning of ghost. Offend they are  the physiologic fear for a person's past. The regrets, guilt, attachment, and fear. Thank of the Tall Tale Heart, a murder driven mad all because of the beating of a heart only heard in their head or A Christmas Carol where the physiologic fear of ghost is not only the anxiety of the past, but of the present and the future.

Review: Some stories are note worthy like The Old Nurse's Story by Elizabeth Gaskell and the An Account of Some Strange Disturbances on Aungier Street. The Truth and Nothing but the Truth by Rhoda Broughton is told in letters between two characters. The Tomb of Sarah by F.G. Loring is a vampire story that was published around the same time as Dracula. 

There are a few stories I dislike. To be Taken with a Grain of Salt by Charles Dickens and the House on C- Street by Dinah Mulock I find both of these stories to be a bit confusing.
The anthology has a good mix of lesser and well known authors like Dickens, Doyle, R.L Stevenson, Kipling, and E. Nesbit. All ranging from 1852 to 1908. Don't fart there are plenty of women writers in this collection. There are a few anonymous writers that can be anyone. For all, I know they could be written by Edward Page Mitchell. Even those he wrote sci-fic and the reason he not rightfully known is he wrote under anonymous.

Well, look at that! I have gone down the rabbit hole. Okay back to Victorian ghost stories.

Most of the stories are set in the wintertime. The intro state that a majorly of these early Victorian writers help kick start the tradition of telling ghost stories around Christmas time. Think Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol.

With the telling of ghost stories around Christmas time, it brings to mind a line from the Christmas song called 'It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year'

If your family is like my family, in which they play Christmas music right after Thanksgiving and all through the mouth of December then, you probably heard this song at least a thousand times already.

I will write some of the lyrics just in case:

It's the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids jingle belling
And everyone telling you "Be of good cheer"
It's the most wonderful time of the year

It's the hap-happiest season of all
With those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings
When friends come to call

It's the hap-happiest season of all

There'll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting
And caroling out in the snow

There'll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories of
Christmases long, long ago
It's the most wonderful time of the year


There'll be much mistletoeing
And hearts will be glowing when love ones are near
It's the most wonderful time of the year




Judging by the phrase 'there will be scary ghost stories and some of the wording, I take that this is an old song. How old? I do not know, but many Christmas traditions go back to the Victorian era. Some of them like Santa Clause, reindeer, and elves go must father back. Norse mythology anyone? Wink wink.

I know it's quite grim of me to be talking about ghost stories during the most joyful time of the year. When it comes to the Victorians they were always thinking of death. They will carve memento mori on baby cradles. When they mourn a loved one's death. They mourn. Wear all black and the women will cover themselves with black veils.

Today there are other means of entertainment that give different ways to consume stories. Sitting around the fire with friends and family telling ghost stories as a tradition has faded. To keep this tradition alive why not bring up some ghost stories when you have friends and family over. Wintertime is the best time to tell ghost stories. The days are short and it sets the mood for something dark and creepy.

That a wrap for my review. I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

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