Alan K. Russell - The Book Of The Dead: 13 Classic Tales Of The Supernatural (New Orchard, 1986)
Lord Bulwer-Lytton - The Haunted And The Haunters Wilkie Collins - Mad Monkton F. Marion Crawford - Man Overboard! Charles Dickens - The Story Of The Bagman's Uncle Mrs. Elizabeth Gaskell - The Old Nurses Story Perceval Landon - Thurnley Abbey Sheridan Le Fanu - Green Tea Sheridan Le Fanu - Mr. Justice Harbottle Mrs. Margaret Oliphant - The Open Window Edgar Allan Poe - The Cask Of Amontillado Edgar Allan Poe - The Pit And The Pendulum Sir Walter Scott - The Tapestried Chamber Mary Shelley - The Mortal Immortal
Inside cover blurb:
A truly 'gothic' collection of 13 classic ghost, horror and macabre tales is presented here for the first time in one volume. The eleven writers featured are all well known in this arena and each tale has been carefully chosen as a depiction of the work of their creators in this field. These stories are presented here exactly as their authors wrote them and indeed as they directed them to be published, however in some cases words have acquired new meanings over the intervening years. This does add to the period feel of the pieces but can make for the occasional unusual sentence, the modern reader will quickly adjust to this.
There is a growing movement within popular arts both written and performing which relies heavily on these early writers for inspiration, this collection supports that movement and will provide fresh perspectives on more modern material which has not stood the test of time. The work of Mary Shelley and Edgar Allen Poe in particular have stood the test and the 'new' reader can only marvel at their peculiar powers of foresight.
Alan K. Russell who compiled this anthology is the pseudonym of a well-known international publisher. Researching the literature of this particular period and pursuing the 'names' back to their original published sources, Russell has achieved a fine blend of the 'classic' and the undiscovered writings of 11 of the most famous authors in this popular genre.
It's difficult to fathom who exactly the publishers had in mind as the target audience for Tales Of The Dead and similar compilations. Surely anyone even remotely interested in Victorian horror and supernatural fiction would already have all of these (most likely several times over) in their collections? Still, one can only compliment the editor on his doubtless exhaustive research in unearthing these mysterious "undiscovered writings" he said, being all sarky.
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.