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The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories

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4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  515 ratings  ·  31 reviews
With their evocative settings amid mists and shadows, in ruinous houses, on lonely roads and wild moorlands, in abandoned churches and over-grown gardens, ghost stories have long exercised a universal fascination. Here at last is an anthology of some of the very best English ghost stories which combines a serious literary purpose with the plain intention of arousing a plea ...more
Hardcover, 504 pages
Published May 7th 1987 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 1st 1986)
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Community Reviews

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Werner
Aug 17, 2010 Werner rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of supernatural fiction, esp. of ghost stories
May 30, 2010
The Goodreads description above gives the statistics and chronological parameters for this collection accurately. (Where stories by American writers are included, they mostly have British settings/characters, and all follow the formal features of the English tradition.) Oxford Univ. Press, of course, is noted for the literary quality of its anthologies, so I've been looking forward to this one; my reading so far hasn't disappointed on that score! In keeping with the scholarly bent of
...more
Kelly
Ok, confession: I read a majority of this book in the stacks while working at the library. Don't judge me--if you had to shelf-read for hours on end, you would take the occasional break to. But anyway, I loved the stories in this book. They're the old-fashioned, downright creepy stories that are, unfortunately, seldom seen nowadays. My favorites were The Monkey's Paw and this story about a creepy bird-like creature that I can't remember the title of (it was the simplest story yet I can't help bu ...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
The English really do excel at writing ghost stories. I can honestly say that I didn't regret reading one of these stories in this book. I actually read it in a very short amount of time, which is impressive for an anthology that is sizable. There is just something about the English setting for a ghost story that resonates with me. I also believe that the menace of what is unseen is much more impressive when the narrator of the story is a dignified sort not given to believe in such things. Proba ...more
Susan
I have nearly worn this copy out, which I have had for a couple of decades. Love the collection. Love to keep this, and several other short stories (with ghosts and scariness) by my bedside for some "light" reading.
CMT325
This British book was originally published in 1986. There are some good tales in it- I've always loved "The Monkey's Paw" and read it to students at Halloween (The Simpsons did a nice "TreeHouse of Horror" episode with it), and I also enjoyed "The Upper Berth," "The Judge's House," "Man-Size in Marble," "The Red Room," and "The Lost Ghost," among others. Several authors are also well-known, such as Sir Walter Scott, HG Wells, and Henry James.

However, there are some flaws. Many of these stories a
...more
David
This was a book that I dipped in and out of over a couple of years. It's an excellent collection of classic short ghost stories, mostly from the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century.

In many ways it presents the classic ghost story as a period-specific genre, i.e. typically Victorian/pre-war stories about the protagonist experiencing (and surviving) ghostly goings-on, often at the home of a friend or colleague (who's recently moved into a house that is CLEARLY haunted).

Susan Hill's
...more
Bill FromPA
This is a mostly enjoyable anthology of ghost stories by English authors or set in England. Most of the major authors of ghost stories are represented, with a mix of well known (such as “Oh, Whistle and I’ll Come to You My Lad” by M. R. James and “The Monkey’s Paw” by W. W. Jacobs which is arguably not a ghost story and, because of its frequent appearance in anthologies, should have been excluded in favor of something more unusual or traditional) and less well known (for example “The Shadow in t ...more
Terri Lauria
Found this at the thrift store and am so glad I picked it up. Great stories, some spookier than others but all quite good.
Lauren
If you love ghost stories, you absolutely must own this collection of stories. From spine-chilling to heart-wrenching, these stories will grip you and pull you into them.
Barbara Roden
Excellent chronological review of the classic English ghost story; a must read for anyone interested in the genre.
Robert
As well-written as all of these stories are, as bona-fide classic as many are judged to be, I couldn't help but often feel a sense of Been There Done That as I trudged through this volume. Maybe I've been reading too many classic ghost story/gothic horror collections over the past couple of years and I'm a bit burned out, but I found a lot of this stuff frankly hasn't aged particularly well. Still, there were some stellar pieces in here that I'd never heard of before, including W.F. Harvey's sho ...more
Alex Telander
In an easy-to-use paperback edition, The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories serves as a welcoming traveling companion when going just about anywhere, especially through the dingy streets and foggy countryside of England. This is a collection that features stories that scared a lot of people when published, and continue to do so even now. Renowned authors make an appearance here: Bram Stoker (naturally), Henry James, H. G. Wells, Sir Walter Scott and Edith Wharton to name a few. Infamous storie ...more
Michelle E.
A pleasent enough read, but really a mixed bag overall. The further in the book I went, the stories seemed to get longer and less entertaining, though there were an exceptional few. Notable stories include The Tapistried Chamber; The Phantom Coach; The Judge's House; The Red Room; The Monkey's Paw; and The Clock (my personal fave) and a few other, lesser ones.. Sadly, many of the other stories are skipable. I would recomend borrowing this book or buying it second-hand. If you can find most of th ...more
Georgina Ooi
Really really enjoyed this book. I always love old ghost stories written by authors in the past century like M.R. James and Le Fanu. Some of the stories in this book will take a while before the shivers are caught up when you finally realize what's happening to the author.
Michael
These ghost stories like most of their type are not actually scary. There are a number of interesting Stories however. The Monkey's Paw is always good, and The last story which is by T.H. White is quite good. There are many other good stories in here, and many not so good ones. The first few stories are especially uninteresting. The Charles Williams story in this book (which is likely why my wife picked it out for me) starts out really dull, but improves slightly by the end. Perhaps it deserves ...more
Zora
There were a couple gems in here (one of which I'd read before.) Unfortunately, the style of these Victorian Era short fictions simply doesn't work for me. The imbedded "let me tell you the story that someone told me a story about" approach, the 80% setup for 10-20% story...it's interesting if you are studying the ghost story from a lit-class perspective, but not very thrilling for a reader. I probably should have re-read The Shining instead!
Michelle
An Encounter In the Mist was my favorite. Short & sad but very good.
Kim
I'm not a fan of horror stories, but I do like old ghost stories. Most of these were very good stories, but the language of the last story "Soft Voices at Passenham" was absolutely delightful. Really excellent writing. It finally occured to me to look at the author and saw that it was T. H. White. Well, of course.
Deanne
Love ghost stories and fell in love with M.R.James when I was about 12 and read Oh whistle and I'll come to you my lad. Saw a recent television production of this with John Hurt and had to hide behind a cushion. I'm not in to gory horror, which is probably why I like the more classic ghost stories.
E A M Harris
Oct 09, 2011 E A M Harris rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes ghost stories
This is a collection of classic ghost stories and most of them I've read before. Many of them are really old and the most recent dates from 1981,

I enjoyed both the unfamiliar and the familiar ones and the introduction was interesting.

A good book to dip into.
Bethnoir
A literate and well chosen selection of ghost stories, more focus on corporeal hauntings than purely psychological ones, which I generally prefer and many haunted house types, but overall a spooky and historically interesting collection.
J. Zelen
What a fun collection of ghost stories- old and charming- the perfect read in cool and foggy October, or maybe when it's raining and you're drinking a cup of hot tea by your window...
Suzanne
This book is full of spooky tales. No kidding some of the stories gave me goosebumps! I loved every minute of it!
Jessica
The monkey's paw might be my favorite. This is a good book for a misty and long autumn evening.
Andy Weston
Sep 18, 2007 Andy Weston rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all
Read many times between 2000 and now. Most notably in the gym at Millbrook, Arrowtown in NZ 2002.
Erika
I was expecting something more scary.
Still it was a pleasure reading this book.
carriedaway
Ghostly, but not nearly as frightening as I was afraid they'd be.
Puja
Pretty scary. Now THAT is a huge compliment!
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Michael Andrew Cox was an English biographer, novelist and musician.
He also held the position of Senior Commissioning Editor of reference books for Oxford University Press.
More about Michael Cox...
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