Do you enjoy reading stories with a supernatural flavor?
Here is my 5 star review for …
July 26, 2014
There is much to learn about the essence and evolution of the ghost story in the pages of the unique, precisely conceived and satisfyingly constructed ‘Ghost Writings’. It is not merely a listing of ghost stories and their authors, in this case British. It is rich in information about the genre, with introductory in-depth essays by the ghost story bibliographer, Neil Wilson, who offers fascinating insights into its fairy-tale, folk, religious and occult origins, its variations reflective of fashions and obsessions, and its development through the ‘golden age’ of spiritualism, artistic movements, and physiological, scientific and technological advancements such as radio and film.
Included are brief but tantalizing biographies. Ms. Bennison honors the obvious—masters of the craft like Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens and Bram Stoker—but, also, reveals “the double life” of literary figures not necessarily associated with the supernatural; one of the most surprising for me being E. Nesbitt, author of ‘The Railway Children’. There are others, great mainstream writers like L.P Hartley and D.H. Lawrence who ventured into other-worldly territory. Ghost Writings clears away the cobwebs from the lives and works of more obscure writers. The long list of female writers, a few well-known to me like Charlotte and Emily Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell and Agatha Christie, insists—as do all the other categories—on being investigated further.
Traveling the ghost story’s journey through time, I felt some regret that its traditional and subtle nature, which inspired “a pleasing terror” (to quote ghost story writer, M.R. James, 1862-1936), has been lost to a pessimistic and continuously violent post WWII world, the modern appetite for speed and sensationalism, and absence of fundamental moral consideration. Contributor, Neil Wilson, admits that in order for the genre to remain vital it must continue to embrace the changes that retain its relevance to the world in which its current readers live. He also acknowledges that the need to “exceed previous levels of sensationalism” drains, depresses and certainly desensitizes perhaps more than is healthy for the genre or its followers—not so unlike what happened towards the end of its Gothic era; after all, the beginning of yet another metamorphosis.
As a writer who has just incorporated a ghostly presence into a novel’s story line, I know how difficult it is to achieve with finesse and credibility. All the more reason I found this book engrossing and important. Ms. Bennison’s obvious passion for the subject and skilled editing and compilation effortlessly achieves her aim of enticing readers into exploring the ghost story through all its stages, possibilities and impossibilities; and, most importantly, far beyond the obvious.
Click here to go to Ghost Writings at amazon.uk.
Hope you will take advantage of the great deal for the next few days on the kindle version, or why not purchase the brand new paperback version!
Also, check out Bennison Book’s other publications
And now I fade into the vapors of the electronic world
(and, perhaps, more than a few centuries ago) …
Copyright 2012 by DM Denton