Criticism: The Ghost Story In European And English Literature - Essay

Jack Sullivan (essay date 1978)

(Short Story Criticism)

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...

(The entire section is 10488 words.)

Timothy R. Tangherlini (essay date spring-summer 1998)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: Tangherlini, Timothy R. “‘Who ya gonna call?’: Ministers and the Mediation of Ghostly Threat in Danish Legend Tradition.1Western 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...

(The entire section is 11888 words.)

Jürgen Beyer (essay date 1999)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: Beyer, Jürgen. “On the Transformation of Apparition Stories in Scandinavia and Germany, c. 1350-1700.1Folklore 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...

(The entire section is 7802 words.)