The Ghost Story
The Ghost Story
A popular form of literature in which supernatural elements are central to plot, theme, and character development.
The following entry presents criticism on the representation of the ghost story in world literature.
Ghost stories attained the height of their popularity in England during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Although use of ghosts and apparitions in literature can be traced to Greek and Roman times, it was not until the nineteenth century that the use of supernatural elements became a common literary device in English literature. Even then, the use of the supernatural in Gothic and Romantic novels was confined to episodic appearances, mostly intended to create momentary distractions in the larger narrative thread. As reader belief in the supernatural diminished, aided in part by a rationalist mode of thinking, writers and intellectuals found themselves protesting a world full of technical and rational reality. One of the ways in which this protest found an outlet was in the evolution of the ghost short story, a genre that used the supernatural almost to the exclusion of other melodramatic effects.
According to scholar Peter Penzoldt, both the notions of terror and horror are fundamental elements of short stories dealing with the supernatural—the writers of truly powerful stories about the supernatural usually do not need devices of material or physical terror. As noted above, tales of the paranormal became extremely popular with English writers during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Most major writers during this time, including Henry James, Thomas Hardy, and even E. M. Forster, wrote ghost stories of one sort or another. However, according to critic Jack Sullivan, it was the period between the late nineteenth century and the end of World War I that produced some of the best work in the genre. Sullivan lists authors such as Sheridan Le Fanu, M. R. James, Algernon Blackwood, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Bram Stoker among those who helped develop the intricacies of the genre. Discussing the reasons for the rise of the ghost story, Sullivan proposes that the trend was part of a larger Edwardian fascination with the extraordinary as well as a reflection of the restlessness that infused the society and culture of the time. Other critics have proposed that the growth in popularity of the ghost story at this time was a direct response to the cultural crisis that confronted intellectuals of the era, a reaction to the realism that permeated the writing of such authors as Dickens and Thackeray.
While most ghost stories focus on the supernatural, many of them have their origins in oral literature or folklore. This is especially true of Japanese kaidan tales and various European ghost stories as well. In Japan, the kaidan tales were part of an oral tradition that derived many of its stories from various parts of the country, including classical Chinese texts. They were used to entertain provincial lords and the general public during various village gatherings and other religious events, often helping keep the listeners awake by their narratives of the strange, bizarre, or frightening. Kaidan tales continue to be popular in contemporary Japanese society, and have now expanded to include tales not just of the supernatural, but also the surreal and other horrors.
While nineteenth-century English authors are most often credited with the proliferation of the ghost story phenomenon, other European countries also have a strong tradition of stories dealing with the supernatural. In Danish literature, for example, ghost stories form a large part of folklore and legend. In contrast to the horror and suspense produced by their English counterparts, Danish ghost stories of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century tend to focus on how a character deals with the appearance of the ghost.
American ghost stories, on the other hand, are grounded in a different kind of supernatural phenomenon, rarely dealing directly with ghostly figures or apparitions. Instead, noted critic G. R. Thompson, American ghost story writers tend to convey a misperception of the world around the characters that inhabit their stories, usually connecting the past with the present in ways that create a different kind of horror than the traditional ghost story. Citing stories such as Nathaniel Hawthorne's “Wives of the Dead” and “Young Goodman Brown,” Thompson notes that American authors often use the blending of the world of dreams with the world of reality as an effective device in creating tales of horror and suspense. In her essay discussing American ghost stories, Kathleen Brogan makes a similar point, when she proposes that twentieth-century ghost stories written by American authors, such as Toni Morrison, often are stories of cultural haunting. For example, in Beloved, Morrison uses a ghost to tell readers about life on slave ships—in this regard, says Brogan, these stories explore the inner workings of not only individuals but also a social and historical consciousness.
“John Silence, Physician Extraordinary” (short story) 1908
The Listener and Other Stories (short stories) 1916
“Shocks” (short story) 1936
“The Shadowy Third” (short story) 1923
“The Apple Tree” (short story) 1934
“The Demon Lover” (short story) 1941
Charles Brockden Brown
Carwin, the Biloquist, and Other American Tales and Pieces (short stories) 1822
The Christmas Books (short stories) 1923
“Alice Doane's Appeal” (short story) 1835
The Legends of the Province House (short stories) 1838-42
“Yuki-Onna” (short story) 1904; collected in Hearns's Kwaidan
Chinese Ghosts (short stories) 1925
The Albatross (short stories) 1971
A Bit of Singing and Dancing and Other Stories (short stories) 1973
The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. (short stories) 1819-1820
“De Grey: A Romance” (short story) 1868
“The Romance of Certain Old Clothes” (short story) 1868
“The Ghostly Rental” (short story) 1876
“Sir Edmund Orme” (short story) 1891
The Two Magics: The Turn of the Screw,...
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Criticism: Overviews And General Studies
SOURCE: Penzoldt, Peter. Introduction to The Supernatural in Fiction, pp. 3-12. London: Peter Nevill, 1952.
[In the following essay, Penzoldt presents a brief analysis of the rise and development of the ghost story in literature.]
Although the short ghost story became a popular form in English literature during the nineteenth century, it only attained its present degree of perfection in the past fifty years.
The course of the development that the tale of the supernatural has followed is somewhat surprising. In Anglo-Saxon letters, weird fiction belonged first to the drama and then to the novel; but the earliest examples of the supernatural in the world's literature were short tales. It could hardly have been otherwise, for when the Egyptian palimpsests, the Babylonian cuneiform writings, the Book of Enoch and the story of the Witch of Endor were written the tale of the supernatural was nothing more than a record of facts, an account of realities which possessed a high religious value, a truthful revelation, questioned by none. At that time there was no need for the artifices that modern writers employ to create an atmosphere, and even had the ancients possessed a literary technique as involved and complicated as ours, they would have had no use for it. Thus the short story of the supernatural can trace its origin back to the earliest days, when writing was so difficult that only the...
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SOURCE: Sullivan, Jack. Introduction to Elegant Nightmares: The English Short Story from Le Fanu to Blackwood, pp. 1-10. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1978.
[In the following essay, Sullivan examines the reasons for the proliferation of ghost stories in late-nineteenth century England.]
In the past ghosts had certain traditional activities; they could speak and gibber, for instance; they could clank chains. They were generally local, confined to one spot. Now their liberties have been greatly extended; they can go anywhere, they can manifest themselves in scores of ways. Like women and other depressed classes, they have emancipated themselves from their disabilities, and besides being able to do a great many things that human beings can't do, they can now do a great many things that human beings can do. Immaterial as they are or should be, they have been able to avail themselves of the benefits of our materialistic civilization.
—L. P. Hartley1
T. S. Eliot once complained that Yeats's only two interests during their early acquaintance were “George Moore and spooks.”2 That Eliot was haunted by “spooks” of his own is demonstrated by his collapse, first into a nervous breakdown and later into Anglicanism. As Hartley's delightful statement suggests, twentieth-century spooks “manifest themselves in scores...
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SOURCE: Leithauser, Brad. “Dead Forms: The Ghost Story Today.” In Penchants and Places: Essays and Criticism, pp. 123-35. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995.
[In the following essay, originally published in 1987, Leithauser delineates the major characteristics of the English ghost story.]
Whether there is any necessary link between a devotion to afternoon sweets, queuing, and windowbox gardening on the one hand, and a passion for the ghost story on the other, would be hard to say. But one can assert without question about that puzzling thing, the English national temper, that it shows a deep affinity for the tale sprung from a restless grave.
In the last two centuries, beginning with Sir Walter Scott, the ghost story has flourished in England with an artistry and range unmatched throughout the world. Dickens, George Eliot, Gaskell, Hardy, Kipling, Wells, de la Mare, Maugham, and Elizabeth Bowen all composed ghost stories. And if in recent years the genre has not stirred the wealth of talents it once did, the ghost story in England continues to attract both sophisticated readers and discerning critical regard to an extent unknown in America. Last year saw the appearance in England of a host of well-produced and for the most part commendably sober-looking volumes, among them The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories, The Ghost Stories of M. R. James, The Mammoth...
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Criticism: The Ghost Story In American Literature
SOURCE: Thompson, G. R. “The Apparition of this World: Transcendentalism and the American ‘Ghost’ Story.” In Bridges to Fantasy, edited by George E. Slusser, Eric S. Rabkin, and Robert Scholes, pp. 90-107. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1982.
[In the following essay, Thompson contends that Transcendentalism was one of the main reasons why few American authors wrote ghost stories in the nineteenth century.]
Where do we find ourselves? In a series of which we do not know the extremes, and believe that it has none. We wake and find ourselves on a stair; there are stairs below us, which we seem to have ascended; there are stairs above us, many a one, which go upward and out of sight. … Sleep lingers all our lifetime about our eyes, as night hovers all day in the boughs of the fir-tree. All things swim and glitter. Our life is not so much threatened as our perception. Ghostlike we glide through nature.
This living world, where we sit by our firesides, or go forth to meet beings like ourselves, seemed rather the creation of wizard power, with so much … resemblance to known objects that a man might shudder at the ghostly shape of his old beloved dwelling, and the shadow of a ghostly tree before his door. One looked to behold inhabitants suited to...
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SOURCE: Brogan, Kathleen. “American Stories of Cultural Haunting: Tales of Heirs and Ethnographers.” College English 57, no. 2 (February 1995): 149-65.
[In the following essay, Brogan examines the unique characteristics of American ghost stories.]
As I sat in the darkened theater of the Yale Rep, watching the 1987 opening performance of August Wilson's new work, The Piano Lesson, it occurred to me that new spectres were haunting America—specifically, that ghosts were populating African-American literature in growing numbers. The play's action turns on the ghost of a murdered white slave-owner who haunts the descendants of his slaves. The spectre's power must ultimately be exorcised through the invocation of the black family's own ancestral ghosts. Toni Morrison's Beloved, which dared to make a ghost a central, fully bodied character, made its stunning appearance in the same year. I recalled, too, Paule Marshall's Praisesong for the Widow (1983), in which the emotional development of the protagonist is propelled by a series of encounters with family ghosts. Why, I wondered, this curious proliferation of ghosts?
Wilson's play went on from its New Haven tryout to Broadway, capturing a Pulitzer Prize in 1990. Meanwhile, another African-American ghost story began to draw notice: Gloria Naylor's Mama Day (1988). In this novel, the spectral appearance of an...
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SOURCE: Redding, Arthur. “‘Haints’: American Ghosts, Ethnic Memory, and Contemporary Fiction.” Mosaic 34, no. 4 (December 2001): 163-82.
[In the following essay, Redding explores the relevance of history in the creation of American literary traditions.]
What ghosts can say— Even the ghosts of fathers—comes obscurely. What if the terror stays without the meaning?
—Adrienne Rich, “What Ghosts Can Say”
No justice […] seems possible or thinkable without the principle of some responsibility, beyond all living present, within that which disjoins the living present, before the ghosts of those who are not yet born or who are already dead, be they victims of wars, political or other kinds of violence, nationalist, racist, colonialist, sexist, or other kinds of exterminations, victims of the oppressions of capitalist imperialism or any of the forms of totalitarianism. Without this non-contemporaneity with itself of the living present, without that which secretly unhinges it, without this responsibility and this respect for justice concerning those who are not there, of those who are no longer or who are not yet present and living, what sense would there be to ask the question “where?” “where tomorrow?” “whither?”
—Jacques Derrida, Specters of Marx
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Criticism: The Ghost Story In Asian Literature
SOURCE: Makino, Yoko. “Lafcadio Hearn's ‘Yuki-Onna’ and Baudelaire's ‘Les Bienfaits de la Lune.’” Comparative Literature Studies 28, no. 3 (summer 1991): 234-44.
[In the following essay, Makino presents an analysis of Hearn's “Yuki-Onna,” noting its inspirational debt to one of Baudelaire's poems.]
“Yuki-Onna” (“The Snow-Woman”) is one of the best known and popular stories of Lafcadio Hearn. Although included in Kwaidan (1904), a collection of Japanese weird tales completed in the year of his death, the story of “Yuki-Onna” is not only horrifying but also beautiful and fantastic.
While we have a definite original text for Hearn's other retold ghost stories, we have none for “Yuki-Onna.” In his foreword to Kwaidan, Hearn says that he developed the tale from a legend which a peasant living in the district of Musashino had once told him. Since Hearn did not write it down, we cannot retrieve the original legend, despite many attempts to do so.
My aim here is to analyze “Yuki-Onna” as a literary text and to point out another source of inspiration—namely, Baudelaire's poem “Les Bienfaits de la Lune.” This investigation will reveal Hearn's particular image of time, which—projected into the climactic scene—creates intrinsic elements of horror and beauty.
In his short story, Hearn presents two...
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Criticism: The Ghost Story In European And English Literature
SOURCE: Sullivan, Jack. “Ghost Stories of Other Antiquaries.” In Elegant Nightmares: The English Ghost Story from Le Fanu to Blackwood, pp. 91-111. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1978.
[In the following essay, Sullivan evaluates the influence of M. R. James on several English ghost story writers.]
The publication of M. R. James's Ghost Stories of an Antiquary set in motion a spectral procession of tales about confrontations between antiquaries and beguilingly far-fetched horrors: in E. G. Swain's “The Place of Safety,” the Vicar of Stoneground Parish is visited at night by an order of gigantic monks from the sixteenth century; in R. H. Malden's “The Dining Room Fireplace,” a travelling collector is scared out of his wits by a Dublin fireplace which breathes; in L. P. Hartley's “The Travelling Grave,” an antiquary is swallowed up by a mobile grave with teeth; and in Walter de la Mare's “A. B. O.,” two antiquaries are pursued by a living abortion. James, a highly civilized man, would undoubtedly not want to be held responsible for all this, and indeed he wasn't. A larger share of the blame would have to be assigned to Le Fanu. As we have seen, the modern ghost story as a strict literary genre originated with his work. James himself fell heavily under Le Fanu's sinister spell. But we have also seen that there are telling differences between Le Fanu and James, and there are enough...
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SOURCE: Tangherlini, Timothy R. “‘Who ya gonna call?’: Ministers and the Mediation of Ghostly Threat in Danish Legend Tradition.1” Western Folklore 57, no. 2-3 (spring-summer 1998): 153-78.
[In the following essay, Tangherlini surveys the use of ghosts and the supernatural in late nineteenth-century Danish legends.]
Few cultures conceive of ghosts as a predominantly positive force and, quite to the contrary, legends about ghosts usually emphasize the threat that the return of the dead poses to the community (Klintberg 1968; Thomas 1971; Pentikäinen 1968 and 1969). In most communities, while the dead are mourned, there is still an underlying hope that, once dead, they will not only remain dead but also in the grave. When the dead do reappear, people usually call on the services of a particular community member to mediate this intrusion. If legend tradition is any indication, in late nineteenth-century Denmark, the appearance of ghosts and revenants frequently sent people running for ministers.2 Interestingly, these ministers were not always successful in their dealings with the undead. Unsuccessful mediations of ghostly threat and appeals to other, less institutionally powerful mediating figures such as deacons, students, folk healers and beggars may be related to the reevaluation of the social, political and religious power of the Lutheran church in late nineteenth-century...
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SOURCE: Beyer, Jürgen. “On the Transformation of Apparition Stories in Scandinavia and Germany, c. 1350-1700.1” Folklore 110 (1999): 39-47.
[In the following essay, Beyer outlines some major changes in the use of apparitions in Scandinavian and German literature, establishing a connection between this transformation and the advent of the Reformation.]
Largely unnoticed by English-speaking folklorists, Central European scholars engaged in historical narrative research have in recent years reached important conclusions about the history of storytelling. Their findings undermine the very foundations on which the study of folklore hitherto has rested. The most important contributions have without doubt flowed from the pen of Rudolf Schenda.
The purpose of this essay is not to review these publications but rather to show avenues for future research. I shall therefore only give a simplified summary of the new history of storytelling from the late Middle Ages until the early-nineteenth century, when the ground for academic folklore studies was laid.
In the beginning, oral prose tales (which later came to be called legends or fairytales) were not told as fiction but as real events. Tales about supernatural beings, although containing well-known motifs and types, were told as memorates. We should remember that the boundaries between real and unreal or credible...
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Criticism: Major Figures
SOURCE: Fleming, Bruce E. “Floundering About in Silence: What the Governess Couldn't Say.” Studies in Short Fiction 26, no. 2 (spring 1989): 135-43.
[In the following essay, Fleming considers the supernatural elements in Henry James' The Turn of the Screw.]
The question of the reliability of the governess in The Turn of the Screw has produced one of the most developed ongoing debates in James criticism. There is on the one hand the Kenton/Wilson/Goddard school that suggests that the ghosts are imagined by the governess and hence not “real”; on the other are the critics who insist that the evidence in favor of their existence is irrefutable because objective: they are perceived by the housekeeper as well.1 I suggest that there is in fact a way of perceiving The Turn of the Screw which mediates between the two sides of this debate, seeing both the governess's reactions and the ghosts, whether real or imagined, as related halves of a particular world-view or perceptual paradigm—one that informs not only this novella but much of James' entire fictional universe as well. The question thus ceases to be whether or not the governess produces, or imagines, the ghosts (for, in my view, we can as well say that the ghosts produce the governess), but instead, what the implications are of the presence of both for an understanding of this work in particular, and the world of Henry...
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SOURCE: van Peer, Willie, and Ewont van der Knaap. “(In)compatible Interpretations? Contesting Readings of The Turn of the Screw.” Modern Language Notes 110 (1995): 692-710.
[In the following essay, van Peer and van der Knaap recount various critical responses to Henry James' The Turn of the Screw, attempting to resolve the conflict between critics who view the tale as a ghost story and those who interpret it as a Freudian text.]
The small community of listeners gathered around the fire in Henry James's The Turn of the Screw expect to hear a real ghost story,1 and with them we modern readers can share the same horizon of expectations—if we want to. It is not only the very text itself that makes the reader think in terms of a ghost story; in a real linguistic sense,2 it is the reader who is free to deal with the “‘pure fantastic’ mode”3 of one of the most ambiguous texts of all times. Theoretically, texts allow an indefinite number of meanings. The ambiguity in The Turn of the Screw turns out to be not only at the narrative level, but also at the level of discourse, both being “inextricably interrelated.”4
On the other hand, interpreting literary works (and maybe artworks in general), appears to be affected by claims of truth and by attitudes exclusive of other...
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SOURCE: Young, Judy Hale. “The Repudiation of Sisterhood in Edith Wharton's ‘Pomegranate Seed.’” Studies in Short Fiction 33, no. 1 (winter 1996): 1-11.
[In the following essay, Young addresses the theme of the absence of communication among women in Wharton's “The Pomegranate Seed.”]
“What the ghost really needs is not echoing passages and hidden doors behind tapestry, but only continuity and silence” (Ghost Stories 3). This passage in the author's Preface to The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton refers ostensibly to the physical silence that she found increasingly unavailable in her lifetime, to the “silent hours when at last the wireless has ceased to jazz” (3). In some of the stories in the collection, however, we find evidence of her ongoing concern with a different kind of silence, the emotional silence of those condemned to the condition of noncommunication with their fellow creatures. Wharton articulates this concern in her autobiography, A Backward Glance, and dates it from the “owning of [her] first dog,” which “woke in [her] that long ache of pity for animals, and for all inarticulate beings, which nothing has ever stilled” (4). I believe that this pity “for all inarticulate beings” extended to a concern for the absence of communication among women and that it surfaces in her ghost stories, wherein manifestations of the supernatural, the...
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SOURCE: Balestra, Gianfranca. “‘For the Use of the Magazine Morons’: Edith Wharton Rewrites the Tale of the Fantastic.” Studies in Short Fiction 33, no. 1 (winter 1996): 13-24.
[In the following essay, Balestra compares two versions of Wharton's “Pomegranate Seed” and “All Souls',” using them as a basis to examine Wharton's ideas regarding ghost stories.]
Edith Wharton's relationship with the reading public and the market economy was ambiguously made up of acceptance and resistance, desire and mistrust. She obviously sought success and dealt with her publishers in a very professional and business-like manner, yearned to establish a connection with her readers, but was aware of the dangers involved in lowering her literary standards to meet popular taste. In the latter part of her career, pressed by economic necessity and a decrease in popularity, she appeared at times more willing to compromise and come to terms with the requests of the marketplace.1 Her rewriting of two tales of the fantastic, “Pomegranate Seed” (1931) and “All Souls'” (1937), is a good illustration of the delicate balance between the demands of the text and those of the public, and Wharton's differing degrees of success in maintaining it. These are Wharton's last “ghost stories,” written toward the end of her life and generally considered among her best. Although they have received a good deal of...
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SOURCE: Michalski, Robert. “The Malice of Inanimate Objects: Exchange in M. R. James's Ghost Stories.” Extrapolation 37, no. 1 (spring 1996): 46-62.
[In the following essay, Michalski suggests that M. R. James' ghost stories reflect his concerns about contemporary society and politics.]
If an interest in the supernatural or the occult betrays a fundamental nostalgia for times past and for superseded modes of thinking, M. R. James (1862-1936) is an anachronism even among writers interested in the supernatural.1 Unlike other practitioners of the ghost story such as Henry James and Algernon Blackwood, M. R. James had little interest in the contemporary occult phenomena of spiritualism and psychic research (Briggs 124).2 The plots of James's stories rely more on a reflection on the religious beliefs and superstitions of the past than on an engagement with the spiritual controversies of his own time.
Despite (and perhaps because of) their studied anachronism, James's ghost stories provide a unique glimpse into and critique of modernity. Like the occult fiction of Arthur Machen, with its evocations of a mythic Celtic past, James's stories partake of a process of cultural layering that critiques modern society by contrasting it with times past. The portrayals of modern society in James's fiction, however, are often only implicit and usually very incomplete. Unlike...
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SOURCE: Simpson, Jacqueline. “‘The Rules of Folklore’ in the Ghost Stories of M. R. James.” Folklore 108 (1997): 9-18.
[In the following essay, Simpson evaluates the impact of English folklore and oral storytelling traditions on M. R. James' ghost stories.]
When Dr Montague Rhodes James of King's College, Cambridge, published in 1904 the first volume of the elegant but alarming tales with which his name is now always associated, he called it Ghost Stories of an Antiquary; in 1911 he followed it with More Ghost Stories of an Antiquary. The word “antiquary” already had an old-fashioned charm about it, and was appropriate for a scholar whose work revolved round medieval manuscripts, biblical Apocrypha, library catalogues, church iconography and the like.1 But he was something of a folklorist too (more so than his self-deprecating remarks on the topic imply), with a particular interest in the development and persistence of local legends and historical memories, a good knowledge of traditional beliefs, and an interest in oral narration.
This does not mean, however, that he was in sympathy with the dominant group among folklorists of his time, the comparative anthropologists and mythologists, with their sweeping theories and universalist explanations. They are lampooned in the person of the sinister Mr Karswell in “Casting the Runes,” who is author of...
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SOURCE: Coates, John. “The Moral Argument of Elizabeth Bowen's Ghost Stories.” Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature 52, no. 4 (summer 2000): 293-309.
[In the following essay, Coates offers an overview of Bowen's moral vision as depicted in her ghost stories.]
By common consent, Elizabeth Bowen was a distinguished writer of ghost stories. While fully capable of giving her readers all the usual and anticipated satisfactions of such tales, she made, and fulfilled, other, larger claims for the form. As she remarked in 1947 in a preface to Le Fanu's Uncle Silas, “Our ancestors may have had an agreeable-dreadful reflex from the idea of the Devil or a skull-headed revenant, popping in and out through a closed door: we need, to make us shiver the effluence from a damned soul” (Mulberry Tree 112). Tales of terror may always have contained an element of “moral dread” but its “refinement” in literature has been “modern.” She aimed to build on this post-Jamesian “refinement” to explore moral evil as well as, but much more than, the spooky or uncanny. Far from being marginal, if accomplished, diversions, Bowen's ghost stories offer some of the most concentrated examples of her moral vision. It is possible to explore the ghost stories, or that vision in general, in purely humanist terms. In such terms, the tales discussed in this paper deal with the consequences of failures...
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Bloom, Harold. Classic Horror Writers. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1994, 180 p.
Collection of biographies on horror writers, including Henry James, Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, and Sheridan LeFanu, as well as brief critical essays.
Manley, Seon and Gogo Lewis. Ghostly Gentlewomen: Two Centuries of Spectral Stories by the Gentle Sex. New York: Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Co., 1977, 237 p.
Anthology of ghost stories by various female authors, including Norah Lofts, Mary Webb, and Virginia Woolf, with introductory and biographical notes.
Aiken, Joan. “Writing Ghost Stories.” Writer 107, no. 2 (February 1994): 9-13.
Explores the art of ghost story writing.
Dry, Helen Aristar and Susan Kucinkas. “Ghostly Ambiguity: Presuppositional Constructions in The Turn of the Screw.” Style 25, no. 1 (spring 1991): 71-88.
Examines the way in which James used background and foreground to cultivate atmosphere in his novella.
Gold, Karen. “Spirits of Decades Past.” Times Educational Supplement, no. 4139 (27 October 1995).
Discusses Dread and Delight: A Century of Children's Ghost Stories, edited by Philippa Pearce.
(The entire section is 436 words.)