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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).

One Response to “Anon – Tales Of The Dead”

  1. This is an era of horror that has sort of drifted off into the mists of time. I have to say, I’ve never been a fan of CASTLE OF OTRANTO-type stories (stuff by Walpole, Le Fanu), tales set on some secluded moor, a heroine in peril. Nor am I a proponent of the atmospheric fiction of M.R. James and Machen. Just too much before my time, too many descriptive passages, long-winded padding. For me, horror started getting interesting when folks like Richard Matheson and Charles Beaumont came along. Stephen King (sorry to cite him, he’s NOT one of my faves) credited Matheson with bringing horror into the suburbs and I think that’s a fair assessment. Good post and, as I’ve said, this is a terrific site, a place every horror completist should come to browse…and absorb. I just posted about the sorry state of contemporary horror–drop by if you want a chuckle…

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