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Gothic Tales

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,563 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews
Elizabeth Gaskell's chilling Gothic tales blend the real and the supernatural to eerie, compelling effect. 'Disappearances', inspired by local legends of mysterious vanishings, mixes gossip and fact; 'Lois the Witch', a novella based on an account of the Salem witch hunts, shows how sexual desire and jealousy lead to hysteria; while in The Old Nurse's Story a mysterious ch ...more
ebook, 416 pages
Published February 1st 2001 by Penguin Group (USA) (first published August 14th 2000)
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Jan 29, 2009 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...
Sep 25, 2016 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
Pamela Colin
El libro es bastante irregular y, es que, al.ser 9 historias diferentes, unas gustan más que otras. Aunque debo de decir que algunas se me hicieron tediosas, por lo cual pasaba a la siguiente y ya después regresaba a terminarla.

Las historias que más me gustaron:

*La bruja Lois
*La mujer gris
*La Clarisa pobre (esta la leí en la madrugada, error. No paraba de imaginar la cara del demonio, ahhhhh).
Jun 09, 2012 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
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
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.
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love anything Gaskell and this is no exception - despite its focus on the supernatural, ghosts, etc being a real departure from the rest of her realist oeuvre. I particularly enjoyed 'The Poor Clare', 'Lois the Witch', and 'The Squire's Story'.
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
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
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
Oct 17, 2011 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
Nov 02, 2015 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.
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!
Elizabeth Gaskell isn't the most consistent of Victorian writers, sometimes forgetting a character's accent or dialect partway through the text, but she does tell a good story. The most interesting piece in this collection to my mind is "Lois the Witch," about the Salem Witch Trials; sort of like a woman's eye view of Hawthorne.
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Kirsten **Be A Dragon**
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
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
Jul 17, 2015 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
Nov 18, 2009 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
Sep 18, 2008 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.
Feb 08, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Some stories 2* some 3*. I rounded up.
An enjoyable collection of suspense/horror tales from Elizabeth Gaskell. Entertaining, nothing too profound. I recommend reading it late at night near Halloween!
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.
Bonnie Owen
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection included "Disappearances", "The Old Nurse's Story", "The Squire's Story", "The Poor Clare", "The Doom of the Griffiths", "Lois the Witch", "The Crooked Branch", "Curious, if True", and "The Grey Woman". I really enjoyed all but two of these stories. There ghosts, curses, murder, demon possession, mystery and intrigue. They were written in the late 1800s so the writing style is a bot archaic, but that just means I really had to pay attention to what I was reading, or I'd loose tra ...more
Jeanette Greaves
The presence of this book in my house it a complete mystery to me. It was a brand new copy, of a book that I didn't know existed. The most likely explanation is that I or my husband were browsing in a bookshop. bought it, and forgot about it. Come to think of it, that's very likely. Anyway, there it was, a delightful find in my own dining room. Yes, I find things in rooms, it's that kind of house. Last week it was an avalanche of cat vomit. Swings and roundabouts I guess.
So, the book - it's take
Jan 31, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
3.5 stars. I had to read a few of these stories for class and I generally liked them, especially "The Gray Woman", which was really well done! I'm 99% sure I'll never read the rest of them though, just because I don't have the time or desire to.
I've struggled with this book for days and and days and I'm so uninterested in it.

I was expecting some Gothic horror but there was nothing like that.
Shan Bertelli
I started this on a particularly gloomy day and was expecting some typical (but well-written) ghost stories. While there are a few that fit this description, Gaskell has a much more interesting approach to the 'Gothic Tale'. The short stories are varied and often difficult to predict which was quite refreshing.

I'd recommend this to anyone who loves the Gothic genre but is interested in reading something a bit different.
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  • 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
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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