Read The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales by Chris Baldick Online


The Gothic tale has been with us for over two hundred years, but this collection is the first to illustrate the continuing strength of this special fictional tradition from the late eighteenth century to the present day. Gothic fiction is generally identified with Horace Walpole's Castle of Otranto and the works of Ann Radcliffe, and with heroes and heroines menaced by feuThe Gothic tale has been with us for over two hundred years, but this collection is the first to illustrate the continuing strength of this special fictional tradition from the late eighteenth century to the present day. Gothic fiction is generally identified with Horace Walpole's Castle of Otranto and the works of Ann Radcliffe, and with heroes and heroines menaced by feudal villains amid crumbling ruins. While the repertoire of claustrophobic settings, gloomy themes, and threatening atmosphere established the Gothic genre, later writers from Poe onwards achieved an ever greater sophistication, and a shift in emphasis from cruelty to decadence. Modern Gothic is distinguished by its imaginative variety of voice, from the chilling depiction of a disordered mind to the sinister suggestion of vampirism. This anthology brings together the work of writers such as Le Fanu, Hawthorne, Hardy, Faulkner, and Borges with their earliest literary forebears, and emphasizes the central role of women writers from Anna Laetitia Aikin to Isabel Allende. While the Gothic tale shares some characteristics with the ghost story and tales of horror and fantasy, the present volume triumphantly celebrates the distinctive features that define this powerful and unsettling literary form....

Title : The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780192862198
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 533 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales Reviews

  • Trilby
    2019-05-01 20:07

    This is a wonderful anthology,not a single dud story in the lot. I've taught stories out of this best Gothic collection of tales since the first edition came out in 1993.If you want a good laugh, read "Sir Bertram: A Fragment" (written 1773).It's a gold mine for Freudian analysis: towers, swords, an "intricate, winding" passage. When Sir B finds his lost wife, he doesn't "shout" but "ejaculates" (verbally). A hoot.It's hard to pick favorites in such a great collection, but when pressed, I'd choose: "Jordan's End" by Ellen Glasgow (true Southern Gothic, spooky Virginia setting), "The Gospel According to Mark" by Jorge Borges (a stunning conclusion), and "The Lady of the House of Love" by Angela Carter (modern innocence defeats ancient evil..humorous, richly textured).My top pick is "The Vampire of Kaldenstein" by Frederick Cowles. A windbag doofus Brit goes on a bicycle tour in 1938 Germany and winds up in a town ruled by vampires. The narrator heeds none of the locals' warnings, and has many close calls. It's devilishly funny, an allegory of those terrifying times in Europe.Because I like this story so much, a couple years ago, I tried to get a hold of a copy of the original Cowles' collection, "Where the Night Wind Blows." Sad to say, there is only one edition and it was not reprinted. Two copies exist in British libraries, but not for lending out. No wonder. If you want to buy a copy, prepare to shell out over $2,000. I guess we'll just have to enjoy Cowles' work in this anthology.

  • Judy
    2019-05-06 21:05

    This is a well-selected compilation of Gothic tales - appealing for its sheer entertainment value, but also for the overview of the genre which it provides (37 tales in all). An excellent intro by the editor (avoids heavy critical jargon/only one minor spoiler) distinguishes the gothic from other kinds of supernatural tales - a distinction which I'd never thought about - and makes a good case for summarising gothic fiction as a way of exercising anxieties about systems of tyranny and oppression, and I'd have to say this resonates well with the stories in the collection.As with any kind of anthology, part of the value lies in getting a taste of a variety of authors and writing styles, and in stimultating readers to follow up on new discoveries. Because this collection is arranged by date, from 1773 (how wonderful!) to 1991, it is also possible to get a feel for the developments both in the genre and in literary movements/history since the eigtheenth century.My favourite story? Mmmmm - so many could claim this honour. Dinesen/Blixen's The Monkey (1934) is an absolute masterpiece for its insights into human nature, but I guess if sheer horror is the criteria the prize would have to go to Patrick McGrath's Blood Disease (1988) or, given that it is based on actual events, Alejandra Piznarik's Bloody Countess(1968; recorded docu-style and spiced up with folklore) - very shocking. Well, happy reading folks!

  • Mafalda Fernandes
    2019-05-20 17:24

    With this anthology is very easy to see how Ghotic Literature evolved through the centuries. I. Beginnings (XVIII Century)Sir Bertrand: A Fragment by Anna Laetitia Aikin - 4*The Poisoner of Montremos by Richard Cumberland - 4*The Friar's Tale by Anonymous - 4*Raymond: A Fragment by Juvenis' - 3*The Parricide Punished by Anonymous - 3*The Ruins of the Abbey of Fitz-Martin by Anonymous - 4*The Vindictive Monk or the Fatal Ring by Isaac Crookenden - 4*II - XIX CenturyThe Astrologer's Prediction or the Maniac's Fate by Anonymous - 3*Andreas Vesaliuis the Anatomist by Petrus Borel - 4*Lady Eltringham or the Castle of Ratcliffe Cross by J. Wadham - 3*The Fall of the House of Usher de Edgar Allan Poe - 4*A Chapter in the History of a Tyrone Family by Sheridan Le Fanu - 4.5*Rappaccini's Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne - 4.5*Selina Sedilia by Bret Harte - 5*Jean-Ah Poquelin by George Washington Cable - 4.5*Olalla by Robert Louis Stevenson - 3.5*Barbara of the House of Grebe by Thomas Hardy - 5*Bloody Blanche by Marcel Schwob - 4*The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Stetson - 3.5*The Adventure of the Speckled Band by Arthur Conan Doyle - 4*Hurst of Hurstcote by E. Nesbit - 5*III - XX CenturyA Vine on a House - Ambrose Bierce 4*Jordan's End - Ellen Glasgow 4*The Outsider - H. P. Lovecraft 3*A Rose for Emily - William Faulkner 4*A Rendezvous in Averoigne - Clark Ashton Smith 4*The Monkey - Isak Dinesen 5*Miss de Mannering of Asham - F. M. Mayor 5*The Vampire of Kaldenstein - Frederik Cowles 3*Sardonicus - Ray Russell 5*The Bloody Countess - Alejandra Pizarnik 4*The Gospel According to Mark - Jorge Luís Borges 4.5*The Lady of the House of Love - Angela Carter 4.5*Secret Observations on the Goat-Girl - Joyce Carol Oates 4*Blood Disease - Patrick McGrath 4*If you Touched my Heart - Isabel Allende 5*

  • Jacob
    2019-05-18 18:58

    This one is hard to rate. The stories are great examples of gothic tales, and there are some classics (Lovecraft's The Outsider, Poe's Fall of the House of Usher, Doyle's Adventure of the Speckled Band) and some pleasant surprises (Ray Russell's Sardonicus and Frederick Cowles' The Vampire of Kaldenstein). I even liked the Thomas Hardy entry, Barbara of the House of Grebe, and I normally despise Hardy's work. Gotta admit he fits right in here, though: okay situation gets bad, might get better but gets worse, repeat until everyone is completely miserable and/or destroyed is his MO.The problem is that I guess I'm just not a fan of gothic tales. The editor defines gothic in his introduction as a mood and setting in a dreary and confined place that is decaying, and the excess of description most gothic authors seem to spend setting that mood drives me to distraction. Also, dreary without enough dread to impel me along the storyline makes it hard to read. So although there were some gems and this is definitely 4 stars for anyone who likes genuinely gothic stories, it doesn't make my 3-star cut which is defined as "it was worth my time to read". I'll definitely have to be more choosy about what I pick from this genre.Alejandra Pizarnik's The Bloody Countess also deserves mention for a warning if nothing else: its straightforward and matter of fact recounting of the tortures Countess Bathory inflicted on young women made me literally sick to my stomach, which takes some doing. I'm really not sure this belonged in the anthology anyway.

  • Angela Maher
    2019-05-10 22:05

    A massive collection of stories spanning the history of gothic fiction. Tragic, strange, dark and grim, the stories are varied in length and structure, and will give you hours of sinister entertainment. It's sometimes hard to define what a gothic tale is, but reading this book will give you an understanding of the genre.

  • Oria
    2019-04-27 21:15

    There was no way I could have passed by this book and not pick it up, and after picking it up, not wanting to read it. Not even the fact that it was the only copy and looked slightly worn, with a bent corner, could make me put it back on the shelf in the bookstore. The book is divided into three sections with 37 stories from the 18th, 19th and 20th century. One of them, "Sir Betrand: A Fragment", by Anna Laetitia Aikin, can be found here: I found the story intriguing, considering it ends just when it gets more interesting. Poe’s "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" by Arthur Conan Doyle I’ve read before – the rest were new to me.This is a very good collection of Gothic stories; there are bloody ghosts, evil characters, vampires and haunted houses, religious themes, kidnappings, strange plants, and horrifying acts of cruelty. I got literally sick when reading "The Bloody Countess" by Alejandra Pizarnik – the story of a beautiful aristocrat who tortured and killed young girls and used their blood in the hope of preserving her youth – the gory details, the vivid descriptions of various ways of torture made for quite a disgusting story.It was a nice surprise to see stories by authors I’ve read before: Nathaniel Hawthorne (The Scarlett Letter – I read it a few years ago as an assignment for school and liked it very much) with "Rappaccini’s Daughter", a tale about the beautiful daughter of a scientist and the mysterious and evil power of a plant; Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island – one of the books of my childhood) with "Olalla", in which a man falls in love with a beautiful woman of an accursed lineage; H.P. Lovecraft (I’ve read some short story collection by him but was unable to finish – maybe someday…) with "The Outsider", a creature who lives in a castle and sees itself for the first time with scary consequences. "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Stetson sent chills down my spine – I got so engrossed in the story that it became difficult to distinguish reality from a sick imagination, they blurred so well, and only the end provided the key to the mystery."Sardonicus" by Ray Russell is the story of a man punished for his greed: his lips are forever frozen in a horrible smile and no doctor is able to restore his face to normal, until a renowned physician manages to help him but there is a terrible price to pay.I have been looking for a book like this for a long time; there’s nothing quite like a Gothic tale. There are some good horror stories nowadays but the old ones are still my favorite. I will be reading this again someday.For some reason I think this song&video by "Florence and The Machine" fits rather well with the whole atmosphere of the book. I especially love the first part, right before the tempo picks up. The lyrics are good too.

  • Toby
    2019-05-12 21:20

    The most interesting anthologies, like the best compilations, tell a story of their own, piecing together a jigsaw of distinct works. In a somewhat contrary fashion, this collection maps the evolution of Gothic literature, a genre best known for its novels, by reconstructing its history around the short story. Editor Chris Baldick makes a persuasive case for celebrating the gothic tale in its own right, much like the ghost story is enjoyed. His introduction sets out the criteria for what makes a gothic story, invariably featuring decrepit interiors that contain dark histories of decadence and cruelty. This may seem a bit rigid for some readers (a recent exhibition at The British Library on The Gothic Imagination gave a more fluid interpretation of the genre) but his argument for the comprising elements of Gothic fiction is increasingly convincing as the collection goes on, including some surprise choices that fit in nicely alongside the classics. Beginning with the rudimentary fragments and bootlegs of the 18th Century, more literary curios than stories in their own right, the collection begins to build momentum before arriving at Poe, surely the godfather of all things Gothic. From then on it draws on Victorian fiction and Penny Dreadfuls, as well as the Local Colour and Southern Gothic movements from across the Atlantic. Reaching the 20th Century and Weird Fiction writers such as Ambrose Bierce and H.P. Lovecraft make appearances, before the collection concludes by demonstrating how modern writers, from Jorge Luis Borges to Joyce Carol Oates, have incorporated the Gothic into their work. Baldick argues that Gothic literature warns us away from the evils of the past and it is fascinating to see how the genre has been reconfigured over the years to pass political comment: its initial appearances seem to be written for the primary purpose of catholic-bashing, before the focus shifted to the diminishing fortunes of the debauched landed gentry. One of the constants of the genre’s history has been its use in highlighting the malevolence of patriarchal society, with feminist stories by the likes of Sheridan Le Fanu, Charlotte Perkins Stetson, F. M. Mayor and Angela Carter featuring in this anthology. Isak Dinesen’s The Monkey, though it is taken from her collection Seven Gothic Tales, seems a strange inclusion as it hardly fits within Baldick’s parameters and is instead a vaguely creepy but meandering fantasy. Other than that the selection is strong: there is plenty to discover, from rare republishings to first time translations. There are several authors I will now be seeking out in the future but… maybe I’ll read something lighter first, wait for some of this darkness to pass.

  • Mitch
    2019-05-08 17:17

    As with all collections, you'll love a few, be okay with most, and dislike a few too. My favorites are Selina Sedilia for its great humor, and Sardonicus for its nastiness.Gothic Tales mostly seem to be set in mouldering, decaying castles and their inhabitants seem to be in similar condition. There is a lot of insanity, some blood lust and an excess of inbreeding that can only lead to bad things. Mysteries abound until the end of the story and the final reveal is often pretty distasteful. That's a decent description of Gothic Tales. The older ones from the 18th and 19th centuries are a bit tough to read due to archaic writing styles. Included also are a few odd tales that probably don't fit well within a fairly defined Gothic category, but here they are anyway. Understandably, a few tales just seem downright odd and pointless.I have to add that this genre isn't my favorite but that doesn't mean i don't enjoy a screaming skeleton every full moon or so.

  • Gayle
    2019-05-11 19:22

    This book presents a comprehensive collection of Gothis tales from the beginnings of the genre (e.g., the 1773 "Sir Bertrand: A Fragment" by Anna Leathia Aikin, to the 19th century works (e.g., the 1839 "A Chapter in the House of a Tyrone Family" by Sheridan Le Fanu), and to more recent 20th century works (e.g., the 1934 "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner"). The book also includes a very interesting and informative introduction on the specific characteristics and history of the Gothic tale. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys this genre!

  • Emma Sea
    2019-05-14 20:07

    Anthologies are always a mixed bag, but there were very few here I didn't enjoy. My favorite was Miss de Mannering of Asham (1935) which is a lovely anti-Heyer.

  •  Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
    2019-05-14 16:59

    The few stories I made it through were overly melodramatic and flagrantly racist against ethnic Catholic type people. Yuck! Not scary, just sad.

  • Little Miss Esoteric
    2019-05-21 14:19

    5 stars. A great collection.

  • Melissa
    2019-05-19 14:07

    Very interesting! Five stars for the amount of representation of female authors and for the interesting selection of gothic tales from all over. The juxtaposition of the stories really made the contrasts and/or commonalities shine. Three stars for the weight and heft of the book and for some of the duds that I just couldn't get through.

  • Diana
    2019-04-27 14:09

    I did not read this whole book. I checked it out to read only one tale that I was unfamiliar with, and I didn't like it. These are all examples of classic gothic stories, but I suppose I am not really a fan of gothic tales!

  • Laurie
    2019-05-14 19:09

    2014:~Selina Sedilia by Bret Harte: Hilarious for a classic gothic tale! 4*2013: ~The Outsider by H.P. Lovecraft: Nicely crafted; my first Lovecraft 4*~The Ruins of the Abbey of Fitz-Martin by Anonymous: Melodramatic to say the least 3*~Lady Eltringham or The Castle of Ratcliffe Cross by J. Wadham: Pithy,4*~The Poisoner of Montremos by Richard Cumberland 4*~The Friar's Tale by Anonymous, 3*~Raymond: A Fragment by 'Juvenis' 3*~The Parricide Punished by Anonymous 4*~The Vindictive Monk or The Fatal Ring by Isaac Crookenden 3*~The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe 4*~A Chapter in the History of a Tyrone Family by Sheridan Le Fanu 5*~Rappacini's Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne 2011:~Secret Observations on the Goat-Girl by Joyce Carol Oates: Disturbing 4*2010:~Sir Bertrand: A Fragment by Anna Laetitia Aikin 3*~The Astrologer's Prediction or The Maniac's Fate by Anonymous 3*~Andreas Vesalius The Anatomist by Petrus Borel 2*~Bloody Blanche by Marcel Schwob 4*~The Gospel According to Mark by Jorge Luis Borges 3*

  • Mina
    2019-05-08 13:57

    This is an old but trusted favourite of mine.If there is one book that I would recommend regarding good Gothic fiction, it would be The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales (Oxford Books of Prose). This book has been my staple since a long time ago. To give you some idea of what you can find in this book, Part I., "Beginnings," contains such classics as "The Vindictive Monk of the Fatal Ring"; the next section, or Part II., "The Nineteenth Century," includes some outstanding stories by the customary Poe and Hawthorne, as well as "Jean-Ah Poquelin" by George Washington Cable and "Bloody Blanche" by Thomas Hardy. The selections from Part III, "The Twentieth Century," contain some outstanding examples like "The Outsider" by H.P. Lovecraft and the eerie "The Bloody Countess" by Alejandra Pizarnik. There are thirty-seven selections total, with a great introduction by the editor.

  • Mina
    2019-05-13 17:21

    If there is one book that I would recommend regarding good Gothic fiction, it would be The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales (Oxford Books of Prose). This book has been my staple since a long time ago. To give you some idea of what you can find in this book, Part I., "Beginnings," contains such classics as "The Vindictive Monk of the Fatal Ring"; the next section, or Part II., "The Nineteenth Century," includes some outstanding stories by the customary Poe and Hawthorne, as well as "Jean-Ah Poquelin" by George Washington Cable and "Bloody Blanche" by Thomas Hardy. The selections from Part III, "The Twentieth Century," contain some outstanding examples like "The Outsider" by H.P. Lovecraft and the eerie "The Bloody Countess" by Alejandra Pizarnik. There are thirty-seven selections total, with a great introduction by the editor.

  • Freder
    2019-05-09 19:26

    I'll never forget picking this up expecting a treat, and instead -- barring only the Fragments (which is a literary form that fascinates me beyond its application to the gothic) all I got was 900 pages of sadism and brutality and horror and especially Angela Barrett's retelling of the Countess Bathory story which is the most unpleasant experience I've ever had reading a book, bar none . . . (OK, Anne Rice's vile SLEEPING BEAUTY books would beat it if I'd actually read more than just a few pages of them)without any of the underlying humanity that makes the genre work for me. Like being clubbed on the head.PS I must have a leter edition -- the picture here doesn't match the book on my shelf.

  • Ann
    2019-04-28 22:13

    This collection of short stories is an excellent overview of the gothic genre, from its inception in the late Eighteenth Century to the modern era.In the introduction, Baldick explains what the gothic genre is. The stories selected were obviously selected with care and are all great examples. They are organized by date, from earliest to the present, making it easy to see how the genre has evolved over time.My personal favorites were the Speckled Band by Arthur Conan Doyle and Hurst of Hurstcote by E. Nesbit, although I thoroughly enjoyed almost all of the stories. I'm still trying to figure out Secret Observations of the Goat-Girl by Joyce Carol Oates. That was decidedly odd - even for a gothic tale!I have to say that I had a lot of fun reading this!

  • Annabelle
    2019-05-11 22:00

    The stories are presented in chronological order, and best read that way. If you ignore the first two or three stories--even if we do include those, this still merits five stars. On the assembly line are outstanding works by writers who know the genre best (Sheridan Le Fanu), and famous writers whom I had no inkling could write gothic horror, once upon a time (Thomas Hardy). A must-read are the first few pages, which explains the factors that make up a gothic tale. Sinister old house, repressed resident, an enveloping atmosphere of gloom.

  • Nurshafiqa
    2019-05-01 20:06

    out of breath and shaking.this book defied my expectations. it was so creepy and eerie and i could not get myself to read it at night. the one time i did, i could not sleep for HOURS.i'm now looking at the term "goth" in a whole new light.PS: twilight and all the other vampire stories i have ever read is a JOKE compared to the vampire stories in here. ugh, they can't even be compared together.

  • Teàrlach
    2019-05-03 20:22

    Other than the stories I've already made some comments on through my updates, I'd like to mention Olalla and Sardonicus as stand-outs. The others (as seen in my updates) are Sir Bertrand: A Fragment, The Fall of the House of Usher, A Chapter in the History of a Tyrone Family, and Selina Sedilia.All in all, a pretty good mix that's cemented my lack of interest in new Gothic and growing love for the pre-20th century form of the genre (with exceptions, but not many).

  • Madeleine
    2019-05-11 19:18

    An interesting mix of short stories, some very old (and strange). I did not read one of them, as it was not so much a story as a list of the tortures Countess Bathory inflicted on young women. No thanks!These were my favorites: Rappaccini's Daughter, Selina Sedilia, The Yellow Wallpaper, The Outsider, The Vampire of Kaldenstein and Sardonicus. The Monkey was terrible.

  • Ricardo
    2019-05-25 14:11

    Anyone interested in the Gothic genre should start, yes, with the classic novels. But anyone interested with only time for short stories start here. It's a time-capsule of some of the greatest stories of the genre from it's beginnings into the late 20th century. Read each one. Savor them, and realize why it's such a brilliant genre.

  • Emily
    2019-05-17 15:03

    Very enjoyable, for the most part. Of course, some stories were WAY better than others, but it was interesting to see the evolution of the short gothic tale and to see examples all the way from the 18th century through the 20th.

  • Angella
    2019-05-14 14:20

    The Yellow Wallpaper by Chralotte Perkins Gilman/Stetson is the best story in the book. There are many great authors, yet not exactly the best stories from them. Still it is worth a read through if you want to explore the history of gothic fiction.

  • Suzanne
    2019-05-24 14:59

    This book is full of spooky tales. At times I would actually jump if I heard a loud noise while reading. It gives a wide selection of of authors, starting in the late 18th century (the rise of gothic) to more well-known authors such as Hawthorne. Take your time reading this book, story by story.

  • Rochelle
    2019-05-03 19:07

    This is a great collection of authentic Gothic back to the earliest stories of this genre in the 18th century. While the predominant collection of tales is within the 19th century, there are those that pre-date that era, as well as many that follow it.

  • Carla Remy
    2019-05-23 14:19

    Uneven like these collections can be, and I won't pretend I read it all. Provides a nice chronological overview of short gothic fiction from the 1700s to the 1990s.

  • Deb
    2019-04-27 19:20

    It is a fun collection of gothic writing.