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Best Ghost Stories of J. S. LeFanu by J.…
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Best Ghost Stories of J. S. LeFanu

by J. Sheridan LeFanu

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This is a creepy, interesting collection of Victorian ghost stories. Actually, some of them I would call horror more than ghost stories. LeFanu did some interesting things with elements now familiar to readers. I guess in his time, he was quite revolutionary. He created quite a chilling atmosphere in his stories.

It appears that he liked to connect his stories, and even re-use elements. Several are set in the same village; several are case histories from a particular doctor who delves into the supernatural; and the better part of one chapter of the novella The Haunted Baronet uses a significant portion of an earlier short story, with little change in plot -- though the names are changed (to protect the innocent?). Two of the stories seem to show the same haunting from two different points of view (one, a horror story mostly about how the haunting got started; another, the experiences of later residents of the haunted house.)

It didn't keep me on the edge of my seat, or cause me to lose sleep (more than I normally miss, anyway), but it was a nice, creepy read for Halloween season. ( )
2 vote tymfos | Oct 21, 2010 |
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Many persons accustomed to travel the old York and London road, in the days of stage coaches, will remember passing, in the afternoon, say, of an autumn day, in their journey to the capital, about three miles south of the town of Applebury, and a mile and a half before you reach the Old Angel Inn, a large black-and-white house, as those old-fashioned cage-work habitations are termed, dilapidated and weather-stained, with broad lattice windows glimmering all over in the evening sun with little diamond panes, and thrown into relief by a dense background of ancient elms.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0486204154, Paperback)

Le Fanu is a Victorian writer who, along with Edgar A. Poe before him, invented the unity of mood and economy of means that characterizes the modern horror short story. Jack Sullivan, in Horror Literature, maintains that "Le Fanu was more revolutionary than Poe, for he began the process of dismantling the Gothic props and placing the supernatural tale in everyday settings." These quietly elegant tales include a female vampire who predates Dracula, a vicar troubled by a spectral monkey, a cruel hanging judge who gets his due and many other fine portents and hauntings.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:36 -0400)

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