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The Penguin Book of Ghost Stories

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  158 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
This anthology has 33 stories representing the last 180 years. Some are classics by famous writers and others are little known. Besides the frightening and bloodcurdling, there are also the witty and subtle, plus those that leave a feeling of unease and fear.

"The Beggarman of Locarno," Heinrich von Kleist
"The Entail," E.T.A. Hoffman
"Wandering Willie's Tale," Walte
Paperback, 504 pages
Published 1984 by Penguin Books
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Jun 30, 2016 Gary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Set from around the 1880s to 1early 20th century, these ghost stories are more subtle in the horror and more polished in the scene set, and the detective work involved in solving the mystery.
Many of them were written to be told as Christmas Eve enterntainments read to gatherings of friends.
The horror usually comes at the end and precisely because of the scene set is what makes the stories memorable in their own way.
Set usually in a country or seaside town, or an abbey or old university or librar
Dec 18, 2016 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A terrific collection of stories, the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth, some standard classics of the genre (Henry James's "The Jolly Corner," WW Jacobs's "The Monkey's Paw," Charles Dickens's "The Signal-man") and a bunch of lesser-known stories. There isn't a story here that's not worth reading; the weakest selection is Lafcadio Hearns's "Nightmare-Touch," which isn't really a story but a kind of memoir and far from being Hearns's best work. Fitz-james O'Brien (great name) is new ...more
Oct 18, 2013 Steven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most of the stories in this collection made for enjoyable late night reading, with the exception of a tedious Henry James tale. These are mostly really old ghost stories, so the writing was at times challenging; it's a tasteful and artful collection, which was fine. The chills were sometimes somewhat less than chilling and a bit too refined, but it is,after all, A Penguin collection, and they don't do "tacky" (or do they? I have as yet to read anything lowbrow or tacky from them).Some of the wri ...more
Matt Hickey
Mar 18, 2015 Matt Hickey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You guys know what kick ass? Ghost stories. They're the oldest form of storytelling, the most workmanlike, and the most consistent. No matter how old they are (and some of these stories are at least 100 years old) they still manage to produce the same effect as an episode of American Horror Story or films like The Happening. But my favorite thing about ghost stories are what they reveal about the time they're written. What was strange and scary then is not necessarily strange and scary now, and ...more
Oct 22, 2012 Molly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked some of the stories in this book quite a bit, but a few of them dragged on and were not very entertaining. There were a lot of great authors and some of the classics were incredibly enjoyable, such as "The Monkey's Paw". I recommend it, but I also recommend skipping some of the stories if you're not dead set on reading the entire thing. "The Jolly Corner" was really slow, somewhat difficult, and it didn't even have a good payoff to make it worthwhile.
Oct 27, 2012 Ali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book a little while ago – fully intending to read it during Halloween week. I’m not especially fond of Halloween, although I don’t actually dislike it; I just thought it might be fun. As an aside, although I never read horror – or anything too dark, – I don’t find ghost stories scary – as I don’t believe in ghosts –I find much of what goes on in the real world to be far more frightening. I do however find that these kind of old fashioned ghost stories to be strangely cosy and absol ...more
The Penguin Book of Ghost Stories contains, as the forward warns, classics of the genre, excluding those stories that are still under copyright (no Poe) and those that are too lengthy to be included in a book of short fiction. All in all, a varied and largely satisfying collection of North American and British tales from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Non-spoilery comments on individual stories below:

“The Old Nurse's Story,” Elizabeth Gaskell
Narrated by an old, kindly nurse, a riv
Nov 02, 2014 Doreen rated it liked it
Wow, I remembered so very little this re-read from the last (which was, granted, nigh on two decades ago.) The two stories that did stir memories, though faint, are likely the ones I will continue to remember, Ann Bridge's "The Buick Saloon" and Marghanita Laski's "The Tower", both for the unflinching cruelty done to the heroines. I've come to believe that ghost stories at their best are allegories for the terrible meanness of fate, though even so I do rather like tales such as Joan Aiken's "Son ...more
Eric Orchard
An excellent cross section of supernatural tales spanning about a hundred years. Not as exhaustive a survey as the two Oxford collections this one concentrates on some of the best samples or rather the most literary ones.

The introduction begins with an interesting discussion of the rise of short form writing, starting with Poe. And the tastes of Dickens as editor, when he accepting many ghost stories in periodicals he edited. I found this really interesting. Of all the books about supernatural s
Janith Pathirage
May 31, 2015 Janith Pathirage rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished 'The north mail' or 'The phantom mail' by Amella. B Edwards. I think I've read this before some long time ago. It was a spectacular horror story. Not the scary type but the entertaining type. If Amella Edwards extended the story a little bit and made it a novella or a novel, this would have been a topnotch classic for sure.
Patrick Pritchard
Feb 26, 2016 Patrick Pritchard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 19th-century
Who doesn't love a good ghost story? This Penguin collection is solid and worth your time. Also, in the usual Penguin operation, a lengthy and well-informed introduction to the genre. Good reading here.
Oct 04, 2011 Jien rated it really liked it
I wasn't paying full attention to this book as I read it since I was mostly reading it on the train. Also, fifty pages near the end were missing so I missed the last six or so stories. It seemed pretty good though.
"The Signal-Man" by Charles Dickens and "The Moonlit Road" by Ambrose Bierce were wonderful, and were my personal favourites out of all the stories
Catherine McClelland
Very good stories. Henry James was his usual wordiness. Some were excellently written.
Oct 30, 2015 Molshri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Victorian ghost stories written by Victorian writers are creepy. Huge mansions with no electricity are the correct setting for authentic ghost stories. Great compilation.
Jun 12, 2010 Penny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Am slowly working my way through... some good stories.
Picked this up because it contains some of my favourite writers and some of my favourite stories.
Joel Feldhake
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Charli McNeil-Taylor rated it it was amazing
Jan 13, 2017
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Lorna Gibb rated it it was amazing
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