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Hauntings: Fantastic Stories

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  488 ratings  ·  41 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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Average rating 3.81  · 
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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.
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?
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)
Lawrence FitzGerald
Worth reading. Decent prose with passages of beauty. And best of all a glimpse into the mind of Violet Padget.
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.
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.
Peter J.
Apr 29, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
While this started promising, as the author is quite adept at descriptions, it quickly devolved. The outcomes of the stories were so obvious from a few pages into each, that there was really no mystery. Also, the homoerotica embedded within one story was nauseating.
{ non-spoiler four star review }


In her preface, Vernon Lee - whose actual name was Violet 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
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 pa
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?
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had never heard of this writer before. What a find she is. Her real name was Violet Paget but she wrote under this pseudonym. Violet spent many years in Italy and the stories in this book are mainly set here, with the exception of one story set in England. This book is beautifully written and the stories are very eerie and strange. Various hauntings and odd occurences abound, so much so that you struggle to discover whether the hauntings are real, or , are they just in people's heads. There is ...more
Sep 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was fine. The story Oke of Okehurst (The Phantom Lover) was the best. The rest was quite repetitive, all of them written from a narrator’s point of view, which I’m not a fan of. The ghosts are left ambigious, the creepiness comes from the fevered dream quality of the narrator. I think the stories classes as weird tales rather than outright ghost tale.
Now I get where Tanith Lee got her inspiration from. Vernon Lee was great at what she did.
☙ nemo ❧
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
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
I liked these ghost stories, and got a few shivers out of them. The first one was probably my favorite.
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, horror
Good fun read for this time of year!
read "Amore Dure" (WONDERFUL) and "Dionea" (not as good, but still interesting)
Enjoyed "Amor Dure" (a repeat from the Supernatural Tales Paget compilation I just finished) and "Oke of Okehurst" (The Phantom Lover) the most.
Ashlynn Faulkner
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story Dionea is a must read!
Mr L Harris
Apr 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superb stories, full of atmosphere and menace. They stay in the memory long after you have read them. 'Amour Dure' is an all time favourite!
Isabella Panzica
Good story but it repeated the same trope of never revealing what we are supposed to be afraid of. The first story and the second to last book were the best stories.
Sashoy Wilson
Required Reading for Victorian Ghosts class summer 2020
Nadine S Popham

Mysterious, fantastic--the best of Victorian ghost stories. I continue to be blown away by Lee's vivid imagery and deep understanding of psychology.
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
You can listen to an in-depth discussion of Vernon Lee's 'Hauntings' here on Sherds Podcast: ...more
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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.

Her literary

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