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American Gothic Tales by Joyce Carol Oates

American Gothic Tales (1996)

by Joyce Carol Oates (Editor)

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265542,932 (3.83)17
  1. 00
    The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe (sturlington)
  2. 00
    American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from Poe to the Pulps by Peter Straub (jellyfishjones)
    jellyfishjones: There is some overlap in the selection between Oates' and Straub's collections, but, as evidenced by the 2-volume size, he casts a much wider net. Read this if you couldn't get enough of what you found in American Gothic Tales.

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A selection of tales about the strange and uncanny written by American writers, ranging from classics to contemporary.

For the most part, this is a terrific collection of stories, but do they deserve the label "gothic?" The earliest stories most definitely do, and they are probably the strongest in the collection, beginning with the classic "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and featuring selections by Hawthorne, Melville, Poe, Bierce, James, Lovecraft, Derleth, a wonderful ghost story by Edith Wharton, Gilman's classic "The Yellow Wallpaper," and the timeless Southern gothic story "A Rose for Emily" by Faulkner. This is a terrific representation of classic American gothic writing. After a standout story by Shirley Jackson, "The Lovely House," which was probably my favorite of the anthology, more contemporary writers are featured, and the stories become less gothic for a time. While Raymond Carver and John Cheever are justifiably well known for their short stories, I don't think they can be called gothic. And science fiction is pretty much the opposite of gothic; while I enjoyed those selections by Ray Bradbury and Ursula K. Le Guin, among others, they just didn't fit the theme for me, other than that they were strange. The most modern writers do, for the most part, return to secure gothic ground, with great selections by Stephen King, Peter Straub, Lisa Tuttle (an outstanding story called "Replacements"), and Nancy Etchemendy's disturbing "Cat in Glass." Nicholson Baker rounds out the collection with a fun piece called "Subsoil" that makes potatoes seem frightening. It's a solid collection of stories on the whole and well worth seeking out, despite the intrusion of the non-gothic into the collection. ( )
  sturlington | Sep 15, 2015 |
Charles Brockden Brown - Wieland; or, the Transformation
Washington Irving - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Nathaniel Hawthorne - The Man of Adamant, Young Goodman Brown
Herman Melville - The Tartarus of Maids
-- A paradox of a heaven, Paradise, and a hell, Tartarus, hidden in a valley called "Devil's Dungeon".
Edgar Allan Poe - The Black Cat
-- Gouging Pluto's eye out with a pen-knife, this was the beginning of the end!
Charlotte Perkins Gilman - The Yellow Wallpaper
Henry James - The Romance of Certain Old Clothes
Ambrose Bierce - That Damned Thing
-- "....there are things in the natural world the human eye cannot see or the human ear could hear."
Edith Wharton - Afterward
-- "You won't know till long, long afterward." [2]
Gertrude Atherton - The Striding Place
-- "...A heavy rain had made the moor so spongy..." [3]
Sherwood Anderson - Death in the Woods
H. P. Lovecraft - The Outsider
William Faulkner - A Rose for Emily
August Derleth - The Lonesome Place
E. B. White - The Door
Shirley Jackson - The Lovely House
Paul Bowles - Allal
Isaac Bashevis Singer - The Reencounter
William Goyen - In the Icebound Hothouse
John Cheever - The Enormous Radio
Ray Bradbury - The Veldt
W. S. Merwin - The Dachau Shoe, The Approved, Spiders I Have Known, Postcards from the Maginot Line
Sylvia Plath - Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams
Robert Coover - In Bed One Night
Ursula K. Le Guin - Schrodinger's Cat
E. L. Doctorow - The Waterworks
Harlan Ellison - Shattered Like a Glass Goblin
Don DeLillo - Human Moments in World War III
John L'Heureux - The Anatomy of Desire
Raymond Carver - Little Things
Joyce Carol Oates - The Temple
Anne Rice - Freniere
Peter Straub - A Short Guide to the City
Steven Millhauser - In the Penny Arcade
Stephen King - The Reach
Charles R. Johnson - Exchange Value
John Crowley - Snow
Thomas Ligotti - The Last Feast of Harlequin
Breece D'J Pancake - "Time and Again"
Lisa Tuttle - Replacements
-- Stuart stomps and kills an ugly creature on the street only to find his wife is caring for one of these "things"!
Melissa Pritchard - Spirit Seizures
Nancy Etchemendy - Cat in Glass
-- "Is the sculpture in "Cat in Glass" an artistic masterpiece—or an evil idol, capable of murder?" [4]
Bruce McAllister - The Girl Who Loved Animals
Kathe Koja and Barry N. Malzberg - Ursus Triad, Later
Katherine Dunn - The Nuclear Family: His Talk, Her Teeth
Nicholson Baker - Subsoil
  lulaa | May 11, 2014 |
This is a superbly edited and very accessible collection. Oates has carefully balanced the pieces across a wide array of variables - chronology, subject, length, and style. There is some overlap between this collection and Peter Straub's daunting 2-volume collection "American Fantastic Tales", but Oates' work is a more focused and shrewdly selected survey of essentially the same themes. ( )
  jellyfishjones | Oct 6, 2012 |
This huge collection was used as a textbook for one of my graduate classes. The forty-six stories included follow the development and evolution of the Gothic genre from an excerpt of Charles Brockden Brown’s 1798 novel Weiland, or The Transformation through Nicholson Baker’s 1994 short story “Subsoil.” The collection is intended, as far as I can tell, to gather not only the more significant stories of the genre, but also important stories that may typically go unnoticed by most readers. It is the latter of these which makes this collection so special, I think.

~~Continued on my website (www.robbflynn.com)~~ ( )
  RobbFlynn | Jun 29, 2008 |
This book is worth it just for Stephen King's short story, "The Reach"! ( )
  Angelkae | May 15, 2008 |
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Though in many of its aspects this visible world seems formed in love, the invisible spheres were formed in fright. -- Herman Melville, Moby Dick
Special thanks to Ellen Datlow, Rosemary Ahern, and Robert Phillips for their thoughtful advice
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How uncanny, how mysterious, how unknowable and infinitely beyond their control must have seemed the vast wilderness of the New World, to the seventeenth-century Puritan settlers!
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0452274893, Paperback)

"Many of the writers in this volume are not 'gothic' writers but simply--writers. Their inclusion here is meant to suggest the richness and magnitude of the gothic-grotesque vision and the inadequacy of genre labels if by 'genre' is meant mere formula." So writes Joyce Carol Oates in a historical introduction to this anthology of 46 tales--tales that span a range from the Puritan paranoia of Charles Brockden Brown (1798) to the biological surrealism of Nicholson Baker (1994). Some critics have written that the gothic sensibility has no relevance in contemporary literature: by showing how gothic tales portray the all-too-current phenomenon of "assaults on individual identity and autonomy," Oates proves them wrong. I predict this will in time be considered a classic and influential anthology.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:50 -0400)

Gothic fiction by more than 40 known and unknown writers. They range from William Sansom's A Woman Seldom Found, on an encounter in Rome between a man and a woman, to Paul Bowle's Allal, on an Arab boy who switches bodies with a snake.

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