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Gothic Tales (Penguin Classics)

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  1,433 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
'"The curse—the curse!" I looked up in terror. In the great mirror opposite I saw myself, and right behind, another wicked, fearful self' An encounter with the supernatural in an everyday setting accentuates its strangeness; a truth used to eerie effect in Gaskell's Gothic tales. A portrait turned to the wall, a hidden manuscript, a mysterious child that lives on the freez ...more
Kindle Edition, 420 pages
Published (first published August 14th 2000)
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Salma
Feb 07, 2009 Salma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dickens once called her his 'darling Scheherazade,' so of course I had to check out Elizabeth Gaskell's "Gothic Tales." Overshadowed in today's literature classes by her contemporaries George Eliot and the Bronte sisters, Gaskell was a popular author in her time. This brilliant collection shows the reason. Reading the title, I was expecting, "I see dead people" stuff layered with poetic nineteenth-century language. The first story, "The Old Nurse's Tale," does deal with that- a creepy little gir ...more
Magrat Ajostiernos
Me gustó muchísimo 'Curioso, de ser cierto' y 'La mujer gris'.
'La burja Lois' también me resultó interesante, pero los demás no me han dado mucho más...
Obsidian
Sep 25, 2016 Obsidian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
This is another bust for my Gothic square read. I just ended up DNFing it at 22 percent. I really didn't want to torture myself with continuing to read this.

The introduction was really long and I skipped over it. These were the stories that I finished and read.

"Disappearances" (3 stars)-It starts off listing random disappearances of men in the area. And I thought there would be a big pay off in the end. Instead it just came to an abrupt end.

"The Old Nurse's Story (4 stars)-I thought it was inter
...more
Cirtnecce
Nov 01, 2014 Cirtnecce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Gothic Tales” is an anthology of all works mystery, gothic and horror genre written by Elizabeth Gaskell between 1851 and 1861, published mostly in Household Words and the Christmas special edition of All Year Round. Elizabeth Gaskell with her complete flexibility and virtuosity of the art weaves tales which are old legends like “Disappearances” as well as a ghastly ghostly tale of a secret marriage and a mysterious child that roams the freezing Northumberland in “The Old Nurse’s Tale.” There i ...more
Dark-Draco
I was really looking forward to picking this up and was instantly disappointed by the first story 'Disappearances', which was less of a story and more of a loose collection of missing person reports. My heart sank and with trepidation I turned the page to try one more...and am so glad I dis, as the collection immediately got better by a factor of 110.

'The Old Nurse's Story' remains my favourite. A disturbing, chilling story of a dead child hunting the house where she was thrown from. There is so
...more
Erin
Most of these gothic tales are really entertaining especially the "Old Nurse's Story", but some of the others I could have done without. Gaskell seems to be more popular for her realist victorian fiction and her biography of Charlotte Bronte (which I have yet to read), not these gothic tales, but they are definitely worth reading.
Graham
Elizabeth Gaskell is best known as a writer of social realism – her works like NORTH AND SOUTH and WIVES AND DAUGHTERS are classics of Victorian fiction. She writes a lot about social issues and human relationships, but she also turned her hand to the ghost story on more than one occasion – and this anthology is the result.

DISAPPEARANCES tells of strange disappearances throughout England, with no reason or explanation. Is this a true story, I wonder? It’s presented that way, and even if it’s unr
...more
Jonathan
This is an interesting collection of stories by Elizabeth Gaskell that were originally published between 1851-61. I wouldn't particularly call them Gothic as they're more like classic Victorian ghost stories but there's enough variety to keep the modern reader interested. For me, the best story was Lois the Witch which was set during the Salem Witch Trials; it concentrates almost exclusively on Lois Barclay, who travels to Salem, following the death of her mother, to live with her uncle and his ...more
Vanessa
Jan 22, 2014 Vanessa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Elizabeth Gaskell is a name that never really strikes much confidence in me. Ever since I had to read North & South for one of my English Literature courses at university, I've shied away from any of her other works because I hated it so much (an uncommon opinion on the internet it seems). However, anything with 'Gothic' in the title usually does draw me in, and I had bought this book from one of my secondary reading lists, so decided I might as well give Gaskell another go.

I'm glad that I p
...more
Amy
Oct 31, 2015 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to read something good for October and the Halloween season. I though it might be interesting to read something written at an earlier time before everything considered "scary" became zombie or torture themed. I was pleasantly surprised to find that a few of my favorite classics authors had written their own share of "scary" stories.

Gothic Tales is a selection of short stories written by Elizabethe Gaskell in the mid 1800's and run along different themes such as witchcraft, family curse
...more
Michele
Nov 19, 2015 Michele rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Typical gothic tales, with a lot of family mystery/drama. Some interesting plots, but many of the stories felt too drawn out -- "like butter that has been scraped over too much bread." Wordy isn't bad if the words enhance the story and/or the atmosphere, but overall the stories just felt labored. "Lois the Witch" was genuinely painful to read, since you know pretty much from the second page where it's headed yet it takes something like fifty pages to get there.
Kay
It's that time of year again, when I scan the groaning shelves and select my Halloween reading. So what did I end up doing? Downloading an e-book instead!
trishtrash
Elizabeth Gaskell’s Gothic Tales are an interesting mixture of supernatural and social horrors; witchcraft (both real and supposed), hauntings, a murderous husband and a villainous son to name a few; and all are shot through with an atmosphere that makes the gothic genre so very enthralling, and is almost a character unto itself.

I enjoyed (for a comparative definition of 'enjoyment') roughly 70% of the book; there was one story I simply could not get into, another - ‘Curious, if True’ - jarred o
...more
Kirsten *I support diversity in my reading and my world!"
My first Exposure to Elizabeth Gaskell was the show Cranford, which I followed up with the show Wives and Daughters. I bought this book because it had that wonderful word Gothic in the title. I don't know what it is about gothic tales that fascinate and draw me so.

Maybe it's all those romantic tales you read as a child. Maybe it's those Scooby Doo episodes where there's some poor normal (but beautiful) girl that lives in a haunted house or with an overbearing (but incredibly wealthy) relative. I
...more
Marlowe
Jul 17, 2015 Marlowe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve always loved horror stories, and I fell in love with Elizabeth Gaskell in University. So when I saw that Penguin had a collection of Gaskell’s Gothic short stories, I knew I had to buy it immediately.

And it did not disappoint!

Gothic Tales is a collection of stories ranging from “wonder stories” to horror. While not of the same calibre as her novels, these are none-the-less the products of a master storyteller.

I’d say that this collection is definitely a ‘must have’ for fans of Gaskell, Vict
...more
Megan
Nov 25, 2009 Megan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Several of the stories in this book were fabulous, especially "Lois the Witch", but others fell a little short, thus the three star rating. Mrs. Gaskell writes extremely well, however she does assume a bit too much about the reader's knowledge of local events (in the 1800s) and places. "The Doom of the Griffiths" was about a family from Wales which was difficult to read because I don't know a thing about Wales. Overall, the book was a fun Gothic read and I would definitely recommend it for Gothi ...more
Simon
Sep 18, 2008 Simon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This nineteenth century writer became famous for her social realist novels. Her collection of Gothic tales shows that she had more strings to her bow. It’s is a mixed bag, but worth reading. My favourite tale is “The Old Nurse’s Story” about a spectral child in the snow. Talk about creepy.
Katrina
An enjoyable collection of suspense/horror tales from Elizabeth Gaskell. Entertaining, nothing too profound. I recommend reading it late at night near Halloween!
Xarah
I really enjoyed this collection of short stories by Gaskell. I loved the surreal nature of some of the stories as well as the plausibility of others.
Tania
Mar 01, 2015 Tania rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Some stories 2* some 3*. I rounded up.
Cynthia Egbert
There are some dark stories in this collection but I really did enjoy them. Being a short story fanatic means that it is fun to find such collections from authors that one appreciates. I will admit that they were a bit of a downer and so I am going to turn to something rather frivolous next.

A few thoughts to remember:

"Once more, let me say I am thankful I live in the days of Detective Police; if I am murdered, or commit bigotry, at any age, my friends will have the comfort of knowing all about i
...more
Molly
Jan 15, 2017 Molly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this stories! They have the wonderful subtlety of older scary stories (naturally) and I really love that aspect of the writing. Some stories better than others of course, a couple of endings really fell flat for me while others were wonderful. I'd recommend this to anyone who's into the classics as well as Gothic stories as this really fits that specific niche. It's definitely antiquated writing to an extent though, so if you don't like a challenge in that respect (i.e. archaic gr ...more
Chloe
Nov 21, 2016 Chloe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Prior to reading this, I hadn't known much about Elizabeth Gaskell and her work. I'd read North and South some years previously, and had thought of Gaskell whose work touched upon social issues but remained a writer rooted in realism. Luckily, I found this volume, which quickly disabused me of this notion. I adore all things Gothic and creepy - haunted houses, men and women with secrets, curses passing down upon family lines! This book delivered in the full, and is perfect reading for this time ...more
Miglena M
A collection of stories that were all very captivating to read. Some of the endings to the stories were disappointing like Curious, if true, specially after so much interesting build up. My favorites were the Grey Woman and The poor Clare.
Lorna Keach
Oh, Elizabeth-sama. In every story, you give us twenty pages of long-winded, tedious rambling and then two pages of stunning gothic violence. Amazing. Super hard to read.
Natacha Pavlov
Aug 27, 2016 Natacha Pavlov rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
In the midst of Netflixing "North & South" (starring Richard Armitage), I googled the (to-me unknown) author, and instantly gravitated to this gothic collection. Overall I enjoyed the varied settings and characters, even if some stories did end rather abruptly. My 3 favorites were ‘The Poor Clare,’ ‘Lois the Witch’ and ‘The Grey Woman.’

Some of the recurring themes include dark/haunting abodes, individuals with secret lives, never seeing loved ones again and/or not telling them the things you
...more
Helen Barrell
I'm not sure these stories warrant being called "Gothic Tales" as such. There are some shivery moments, but generally they're quite plodding, with slatherings of Victorian moralising chucked on top. I wonder if partly this is because some Victorians felt that letting oneself go all-out and write a genuinely scary book was rather naughty, hence the often mawkish endings (the one with the ghost of the child meeting the adult was almost comical, and the Poor Clare story, where one can only redeem o ...more
Stuart
Feb 18, 2013 Stuart rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the ideas behind Gaskell's stories, but her straight-forward, unadorned prose, though relatively easy to read, doesn't do much for getting under one's skin and sticking there. The best of the stories in this book, Lois the Witch, is interesting in its mash-up of Hawthorne and James, but while I enjoyed it I didn't become deeply emotionally invested in it, and that tends to be the case for many of Gaskell's other stories, though certainly not for lack of interesting material: they read alm ...more
Daveski
I'm not giving this one a star rating, because I didn't finish it - out of the nine short stories collected here, I've only read four. After reading three ("Disappearances", "The Old Nurse's Story", and "Curious, if True"), I found her style too dry and direct for me to really enjoy, and almost gave up at that point. I saw a number of community reviews that cited "Lois the Witch" as the best of the bunch, so I gave Gaskell another chance with that one. I did like it more than the others, but I s ...more
Rucha Joshi
Apr 12, 2016 Rucha Joshi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a classic Victorian Gothic short stories by comparatively lesser known author Elizabeth Gaskell over her contemporaries Bronte sisters.
My favorite stories are The Old Nurse's Tale and Lois The Witch.
Sometimes, as a reader, it becomes difficult to catch-up because of the long sentences, typical style of Victorian writers. But the gripping Prose, without much macabre, the haunting tone of writing with the underlying horror element, makes these story very appealing, something we don't find
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales
  • The Haunted Dolls' House and Other Ghost Stories
  • Zofloya
  • In a Glass Darkly
  • The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton
  • The Collected Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson
  • The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories
  • The Castle of Wolfenbach: A German Story
  • Melmoth the Wanderer
  • Ghost Stories
  • The Romance of the Forest
  • Aurora Floyd
  • The Dead Secret
  • Late Victorian Gothic Tales
  • Best Ghost Stories of Algernon Blackwood
  • Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural
  • The Beckoning Fair One
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Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, née Stevenson (29 September 1810 – 12 November 1865), often referred to simply as Mrs. Gaskell, was an English novelist and short story writer during the Victorian era. She is perhaps best known for her biography of Charlotte Brontë. Her novels offer a detailed portrait of the lives of many strata of society, including the very poor, and as such are of interest to socia ...more
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