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Masterpieces of Mystery, Vol. 1 (of 4) Ghost Stories   By: (1858-1936)

Book cover

First Page:

MASTERPIECES OF MYSTERY

Masterpieces of Mystery

In Four Volumes

GHOST STORIES

Edited by Joseph Lewis French

Garden City New York Doubleday, Page & Company 1922

COPYRIGHT, 1920, BY

DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, INCLUDING THAT OF TRANSLATION

INTO FOREIGN LANGUAGES, INCLUDING THE SCANDINAVIAN

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES

AT

THE COUNTRY LIFE PRESS, GARDEN CITY, N. Y.

NOTE

The Editor desires especially to acknowledge assistance in granting the use of original material, and for helpful advice and suggestion, to Professor Brander Matthews of Columbia University, to Mrs. Anna Katherine Green Rohlfs, to Cleveland Moffett, to Arthur Reeve, creator of "Craig Kennedy," to Wilbur Daniel Steele, to Ralph Adams Cram, to Chester Bailey Fernald, to Brian Brown, to Mrs. Lillian M. Robins of the publisher's office, and to Charles E. Farrington of the Brooklyn Public Library.

FOREWORD

The ghost story is as old as human speech, and perhaps even antedates it. A naïve acceptance of the supernatural was unquestionably one of the primal attributes of human intelligence. The ghost story may thus quite conceivably be the first form of tale ever invented. It makes its appearance comparatively early in the annals of literature. Who that has read it is likely to forget Pliny's account in a letter to an intimate of an apparition shortly after death to a mutual acquaintance? Old books of tales and legends are full of the ghost story. It has persisted throughout the ages. It began to attain some real standing in literature, to take its definite place, a little more than a century ago. Like the apparition it embodies it had always been and is still to day even more or less discredited. Mrs. Radcliffe gave it a new being and even a certain dignity in her "Castle of Otranto"; and after her came Sir Walter Scott who frankly surrendered to the power and charm of the theme. The line of succession has been continuous. The ghost has held his own with his human fellow in fiction, and his tale has been told with increasing skill as the art of the writer has developed. To day the case for the ghost as an element in fiction is an exceedingly strong one. There has indeed sprung into being within a couple of decades a new school of such writers. Nowadays almost every fictionist of account produces one good thriller at least of this sort. The temptation is irresistible for the simple reason that the theme imposes absolutely no limit on the imagination.

The reader will find here a careful selection illustrating the growth in art of this exotic in literature during the past fifty years, and for a contrast, spanning the centuries, the naïve narration of Pliny the Younger.

JOSEPH LEWIS FRENCH.

CONTENTS

PAGE

I. THE LISTENER 3 Algernon Blackwood

II. NUMBER 13 45 Montague Rhodes James

III. JOSEPH: A STORY 70 Katherine Rickford

IV. THE HORLA 84 Guy de Maupassant

V. THE BEAST WITH FIVE FINGERS 123 William F. Harvey

VI. SISTER MADDELENA 167 Ralph Adams Cram

VII. THRAWN JANET 191 Robert Louis Stevenson

VIII. THE YELLOW CAT 207 Wilbur Daniel Steele

IX. LETTER TO SURA 237 Pliny the Younger

MASTERPIECES OF MYSTERY

Masterpieces of Mystery

GHOST STORIES

THE LISTENER[A]

ALGERNON BLACKWOOD

Sept. 4. I have hunted all over London for rooms suited to my income £120 a year and have at last found them. Two rooms, without modern conveniences, it is true, and in an old, ramshackle building, but within a stone's throw of P Place and in an eminently respectable street... Continue reading book >>




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