I love a good, classic horror tale, one that will send
shivers down my spine without reveling in the gore that
is found in so much of the horror stories nowadays. IN
THE SHADOW OF EDGAR ALLAN POE offers readers an excellent
collection of twenty stories all published between the
years of 1816 and 1914. The editor, Leslie S. Klinger,
provides readers with numerous footnotes to help the
modern reader understand some of the more obscure words
and phrases used by the authors. There are far too many
stories to touch on each one, but I want to highlight a
few that stood out to me.
I had read several of the authors featured by Leslie S.
Klinger, but had only previously read one story, THE
YELLOW WALLPAPER by Charlotte Perkins Gilmore. Oddly
enough, I liked THE YELLOW WALLPAPER much better upon my
second reading of the story. The story features a woman
suffering from a nervous breakdown who becomes fixated on
the wallpaper in her bedroom. I think I liked THE YELLOW
WALLPAPER so much better this time due to Leslie S.
Klinger thoughtfully providing the short essay from
Charlotte Perkins Gilman on why she wrote the story. The
essay provides a much better historical perspective on
THE YELLOW WALLPAPER and the story is easily one of my
favorites in the anthology.
Somehow I have managed to miss out on reading Kate Chopin,
but if DESIREE'S BABY is any indication of her work, this
is an oversight I will have to correct soon! Armand
Aubigny falls in love with Desiree and they soon marry
and have a baby. I don't want to say more for fear of
spoiling the story for others, but wow, I am still blown
away by the powerful message this story sends!
As with any anthology, IN THE SHADOW OF EDGAR ALLAN POE
had several stories I wasn't wild over. THE SAND-MAN by
Ernst T. W. Hoffmann opens up the anthology and actually
put me off reading it several times as it just bored me
and seemed overly long. I finally had to skip without
finishing a later story, A TRAGEDY OF BONES by George
MacDonald, because it seemed like I was thrown in the
a story without any explanation of how or why. A TRAGEDY
OF BONES is probably the only misstep Leslie S. Klinger
makes as it is chapter 17 of a book and needs a bit more
context to be enjoyable in my opinion.
IN THE SHADOW OF EDGAR ALLAN POE offers readers a solid
collection of classic horror tales, from the ghostly to
the macabre. Most of the stories are quite enjoyable, and
I could continue to enumerate the stories I enjoyed, such
as THE SPIDER by Hanns Heinz Ewers and THE WOMAN WITH THE
HOOD by L.T. Meade, with only a couple stories that
weren't as appealing to my tastes. There's a little bit
of something for all horror fans IN THE SHADOW OF EDGAR
A masterful collection of horror fiction by widely
authors whose contributions to the genre have been lost in
the shadow of Poe, by one of America's foremost
Edgar Allan Poe did not invent the tale of terror. There
were American, English, and Continental writers who
Poe and influenced his work. Similarly, there were many who
were in turn influenced by Poe’s genius and produced their
own popular tales of supernatural literature. This
collection features masterful tales of terror by authors
who, by and large, are little-remembered for their writing
in this genre. Even Bram Stoker, whose Dracula may be said
to be the most popular horror novel of all time, is not
known as a writer of short fiction.
Distinguished editor Leslie S. Klinger is a world-renowned
authority on those twin icons of the Victorian age,
Holmes, and Dracula. His studies into the forefathers of
those giants led him to a broader fascination with writers
of supernatural literature of the nineteenth century. The
stories in this collection have been selected by him for
their impact. Each is preceded by a brief biography of the
author and an overview of his or her literary career and is
annotated to explain obscure references.
Read on, now, perhaps with a flickering candle or
at hand . . .
Stories by: Ambrose Bierce, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu,
Gautier, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Arthur Conan Doyle,
Lafcadio Hearn, M. R. James, Bram Stoker, and many others.