Robert Phillips (ed.) - The Omnibus of 20th Century Ghost Stories (Robinson, 1991: originally , Carroll & Graf, 1989, as Triumph of the Night)
Sir Stanley Spencer The Resurrection, Cookham.
Robert Phillips - Introduction
Elizabeth Bowen - The Demon Lover Graham Greene - A Little Place Off the Edgware Joyce Carol Oates - The Others Dylan Thomas - The Followers Charlotte Perkins Gilman - The Yellow Wallpaper Louis Auchincloss - The Prison Window Walter de la Mare - Seaton’s Aunt George Mackay Brown - Andrina Barry N. Malzberg - Away Muriel Spark - The Portobello Road John Updike - The Indian Denton Welch - Full Circle Lynne Sharon Schwartz - Sound Is Second Sight Jean Rhys - I Used to Live Here Once Henry James - The Jolly Corner Elizabeth Spencer - First Dark Peter Taylor - Missing Person Gertrude Atherton - The Bell in the Fog Howard Lewis Russell - The Wedding Cake Couple Shirley Jackson - The Daemon Lover Virginia Woolf - A Haunted House Mavis Gallant - Up North Tennessee Williams - The Mysteries of the Joy Rio William Goyen - Ghost and Flesh, Water and Dirt E. M. Forster - The Celestial Omnibus Edith Wharton - Afterward Truman Capote - Miriam
Notes on the Authors
Blurb: "One of the best anthologies of the year" - The Observer Haunted houses and demon lovers. Children's visions and anxious states of mind, revenge, guilt, and betrayal from beyond are the themes of the modern ghost story as brilliantly explored by some of the century's ﬁnest writers.
These short masterpieces of the supernatural will linger in your imagination. This enthralling collection takes the reader on a thrilling tour of the best in 20th century spectral literature.
Another recent market find, slowly creeping up the 'to read' list. Beautiful choice of cover artwork, but ... wait, what's this? "high literary talent". Trendy pretentious yuppie crap!
Robert Phillips' posho selection took quite a hammering from Andy Sawyer in the Ghost Story Society Newsletter #7 (March, 1991), the gist of his criticism being that, just because you're a literary great, it doesn't necessarily follow that you can pen a decent supernatural tale. "Yes, Virginia Woolf did write a ghost story. Well, a ghost prose-poem. And it's not very good, but she's a Great Writer, isn't she?"
Be that as it may, in my humble, there's some absolutely brilliant stuff in here (Green, Capote, Bowen, Jackson, Gilman, Atherton, de la Mare, Brown, Spark, etc), but my spidy sense tells me that it's the ones were not already very familiar with from several previous anthologies could prove hard going.
From the first, I set myself against "literature"; the story was the thing, and no amount of style could persuade me to select a story that lacked genuine, unadulterated horror. For those who wanted something high-brow there was plenty.