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Vernon Lee
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Hauntings: Fantastic Stories

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  407 ratings  ·  30 reviews
By Victorian author Violet Paget, under the pseudonym Vernon Lee. Her ghost stories are suggestive and atmospheric, rather than dissecting the why and how events happen.

Contains an introduction by herself and the following four stories:

Amour Dure


Oke of Okehurst

A Wicked Voice
ebook, Project Gutenberg EBook
Published November 23rd 2011 by Project Gutenberg (first published 1890)
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3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  407 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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Bill  Kerwin

Violet Paget (given-name of writer Vernon Lee) was a lesbian, a female dandy, a disciple of Walter Pater, and an acquaintance of Oscar Wilde, so it should not be a surprise that these four tales of the supernatural are filled with gorgeous descriptive passages (particularly of Italy ad it's art) and sexual ambiguity. What is a surprise to me is how well-crafted and scary these stories are.

Each tale (making allowances for a little inversion) is about a "la belle dame sans merci," a fairy temptre
Nancy Oakes
I am SO sad, so incredibly sad, that I've finished this book, because what lies between these covers is sheer greatness.

I will have to defer posting about this book for a day or so but let me just say this for now: this is not a book for people who are looking for easy-breezy horror or weird fiction, but rather a work of literature that demands time, thought, and the reader's complete attention.

I am at a complete loss right now, considering what to read next.
Jim Smith
Dec 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vernon Lee's tale Amor Dure represents a high-mark in ghostly literature and is essential for all those seeking classic supernatural fiction. The rest of the tales included in this volume are exquisite baroque attempts at tackling the same theme, perhaps being outshone by the dazzling power of the initial story, but each tale is in its way delightful. Recommended for all those running away from tepid, ephemeral modernity and into the cold, diaphanous arms of the ghostly.
Jun 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Long out of print. I only knew of her as recommended in a book by Montague Summers, then found this accidentally in a used book shop recently. A cross between Poe and Le Fanu, and perfectly seductive and intelligent. The critic Maurice Baring described Violet Paget (her real name) as 'by far the cleverest person I have ever met in my life'. But it was a male-dominated society so she decided to write under a pseudonym. Fucking men, eh?
Book Wyrm
(Note: this kindle edition only has four stories, while 'Hauntings and Other Fantastic Tales' includes several other shorts)
Behold, dear reader, a trio of terrible tales of femmes diaboliques (and one bloke) and the darkest, most decadent of Italy's marble towns. Also, women are malevolent witches, obssessed with destroying men through painful seduction, while being oddly asexual in their own desires, lusting for nothing but power and shitting all over 'nice guys'.
Glad I've finished this tosh to
Apr 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror-gothic
A truly interesting and successful ghost story (in my view) has to focus on the people being haunted, on the effects that ghosts or the belief in ghosts have on the living. These four stories by Vernon Lee are perfect examples of the right way to do the ghost story. In fact they’re among the best I’ve ever read.

Lee Foust
This is another one of my series of articles for Florence News and Events, one of our English-language expatriate publication here in Flowertown--hence the journalistic tone. Any criticisms before we go to press appreciated!

Vernon Lee’s Victiorian Hauntings

In 1889 Violet Paget’s family rented the Villa Il Palmerino in Maiano, a hamlet in the hills just north-east of Florence, between Fiesole and Settignano. She will live there, between her many travels, until her death in 1935 at the ripe old ag
Madasin Mayfair
Nov 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Psychological Horror in Oke of Okehurst.
The use of psychological horror in Oke of Okehurst is similar to many other applications within the context of Victorian fiction. Upon reading Lee’s novella, the first connection that I made was with another short story, The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. In both texts, the reader learns through the statements of their doting “loving” husbands that they suffer from nervous conditions. In the Yellow Wallpaper, the opinion of her husband, Jo
Jul 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hauntings is a collection of short fiction by a somewhat little known late 19th/early 20th century writer. Most of the stories don’t deal with actual hauntings, per se, but rather with weird, possibly supernatural events.

Some of the stories, like “Amour Dure,” pulled off the suspense quite well. Others, like “Dionea,” were weaker. Regardless, they all had interesting ideas behind them.

“Oke of Okehurst” and “A Wicked Voice” worked well as a pair (and kudos to the editor for putting them together)
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Written Lives, Javier Marias says of Vernon Lee that "her stories about ghosts or the supernatural are written with a mastery that approaches that of Isak Dinesen." I had never before heard of her, but I'm glad I took a chance on this collection. Each of the stories has wonderfully described landscapes (usually in Italy) and atmospheric creepiness. The stories concern men obsessing over art and mysterious women via epistolary formats, which means a fun time with unreliable narrators and ambig ...more
Some of the most atmospheric, well written ghost stories I've ever read.
Megan Chance
Mar 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely cool. Love Vernon Lee.
Of the stories I read, “Oke of Okehurst” was definitely my favorite. Though I really liked “Amor Dure” and “The Wicked Voice.” It’s fun to see Lee making statements by playing with tropes, all the while creating some pretty exciting stories.
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of ghosts, hauntings, mythology, women taking action, feminist fiction
I found "Amour Dure" and "Dionea" to be the strongest, the most frightening. "Oke of Okehurst" focuses more on the various characters and how they relate to each other; the dynamics are interesting but distract me from the supernatural element. "A Wicked Voice" felt less developed, like a weaker version of "Amour Dure." The element of becoming obsessed with a somewhat forgotten past is there, but it occurred less gradually and was resolved quickly. That may be in part because it's shorter.

I pau
In her preface, Vernon Lee - whose actual name was Voilet Paget - wrote that "My ghosts are what you call spurious ghosts... of whom I can affirm only one thing, that they haunted certain brains, and have haunted, among others, my own."

Truly, Lee writes like no other. Her ghosts appear in differing forms. They can be the past, they can be a painting, they can be a concept, even a mere voice. But they all embody dangers, and they all manage to leave a lasting impression. Artistic creativity and p
Having already read Amour Dure, Prince Alberic and the Snake Lady, A Wedding Chest, The Virgin of the Seven Daggers and A Wicked Voice, I skipped straight to:

Dionea - a little girl found lashed to a plank, washed up on the Italian beach presumably from a shipwreck and is raised in a convent, but who grows up to be a sorceress of love potions

Oke of Okehurst - Or, A Phantom Lover - a painter goes to live with a couple in order to create their portraits; the wife bears a striking similarity to her
☙ percy ❧
Amour Dure: 4 stars
Dionea: 5++ stars
Oke of Okehurst: 5 stars
A Wicked Voice: 3 stars
Prince Alberic and the Snake Lady: 4.5 stars
A Wedding Chest: 3.5 stars
The Virgin of the Seven Daggers: 3 stars
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, horror
Good fun read for this time of year!
I liked these ghost stories, and got a few shivers out of them. The first one was probably my favorite.
I will be returning to the rest of this collection asap!


Now that I've read all of the stories that comprise Hauntings, I have to say this was a really great read. The prose are long and the descriptions somewhat longer but I would expect no less from a disciple of Walter Pater. Taken as a whole I find that the scholarly introduction proves to be a little bit misleading when it talks about strong themes throughout the collection, some stories it doesn’t mention, obviously because they don’t fi
Jan 31, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Florid in a way that only 19th Century Horror Fiction can be, but despite that (or perhaps because of it) totally enjoyable.

The first tale, Amor Dure, is one of those labyrinthine historical tales, that comes around full-circle in the author's present, whose experience we know only from his diaries. For me, it's the best of the four.

Not sure if it's a fault of the book, or of the transfer to Kindle format, but it's hard to tell where one tale ends and the next begins, at least in the transition
Carolyn Owen-King
Mar 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vernon Lee! Another revelation. A Victorian woman who never let her position in society hold her back. Openly a lesbian, she lived in Italy and wrote some memorable short stories. Inspired by the aesthetic movement and by the decadence of poets like Baudelaire, there is a shocking sensuality in her ghost stories. 'A Wicked Voice' is particularly powerful, as the protagonist is spellbound by an operatic voice from the past that has the power to kill. Layer after layer of meaning can be uncovered ...more
This is just the kind of book I would expect to have chosen from a shelf of old, archaic titles. Nothing spectacular about the plots and story-telling, but as this happens to be one of my genres of choice, the reading went well. I'd call this an in-betweener book--something to read when your original choice is indisposed.
Oct 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Firstly I love how Vernon Lee was a woman writing under a pseudonym. Secondly, her portrayal of the supernatural and the femme fatale are so well done that it's difficult to envisage where she got her inspiration. My favourite story was most definitely Amour Dure - obsessive, unrequited love, eerie church scenes and a dead woman; what more does a scary story need?
Mar 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, kindle
I enjoyed this far more than I had anticipated. As other reviewers have mentioned, the remorseless women in these tales only add to the flavor of the story. I would also agree that sometimes they stories are florid but to me it increased my enjoyment of these tales.

All in all, it was perfect reading for a time when blustery winter weather was all around me.
I ended up skipping the last story because I really couldn't get into it from the off but out of the 3/4 that I read, all were great, I'm looking forward to looking at some of this authors work!
Diana Oliveira
May 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this little book of spooky stories.

To me the last story is the weakest, but even this was interesting in its way.

Nice reading for the lover of the macabre.

Mar 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
A collection of ghost stories from a largely forgotten author. I enjoyed her use of language and found her stories refreshingly unpredictable.
I can't believe I didn't know about Vernon Lee till recently since she is the coolest.
rated it it was amazing
May 05, 2015
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Violet Paget, known by her pen name Vernon Lee, is remembered today primarily for her supernatural fiction and her work on aesthetics. An early follower of Walter Pater, she wrote over a dozen volumes of essays on art, music, and travel, poetry and contributed to The Yellow Book. An engaged feminist, she always dressed à la garçonne, and was a member of the Union of democratic control[1].

Her liter
“If there are such things as ghosts," he replied, "I don't think they should be taken lightly. God would not permit them to be, except as a warning or a punishment.” 0 likes
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