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Archive for October 7th, 2007

Anon – Tales Of The Dead

Posted by demonik on October 7, 2007

Anon – Tales Of The Dead: Ghost Stories Of The Villa Diodati (Gothic Society, 1992)

(originally Fantasmagoriana (Paris, 1812: London, 1813)

Simon Marsden

Introduction – Terry Hale

Anon – The Family Portraits
Friedrich Shultz – The Fated Hour
Friedrich Shultz – The Death’s Head
Friedrich Shultz – The Dead-Bride
Sarah Elizabeth Brown Utterson – The Storm
J. K. Musaus – The Spectre Barber

From the back cover blurb:

This highly influential little book was the first English translation of the Famous Fantasmagoriana; Ou Recueil d’Histories d’Apparitions, de Spectres, Revenans, Fantomes, etc. which was of such critical importance in the development of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Polidori’s The Vampyre. Lord Byron, Mary and Percy Shelley, Claire Clairmont and Dr. Polidori were all inspired by the book to write their own ghost stories.

Along with their classy quarterly magazine Udolpho, Jennie Gray’s Gothic Society were responsible for a series of invaluable reprints (including an edition of Peter Haining’s The Shilling Shockers). The stories in Tales Of The Dead are some way short of terrifying when stood against the blood-splattered, nihilistic likes of M. G. Lewis (but then most novels are) or Hoffman’s caper The Sandman, but they’re entertaining enough on their own slightly hysterical terms.

Marjorie Bowen reprinted a number of these in her Great Tales Of Horror (John Lane, 1933).

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