19th century -- fiction

A Christmas Carol, and Other Haunting Tales

By Charles Dickens

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In this special collector's edition, a selection of Charles Dickens's most captivating stories are gathered together, richly illustrated with handwritten manuscript pages, rare family photographs, and a splendid array of prints and drawings from the special collections of The New York Public Library.

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The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales

By Chris Baldick, editor

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"E. Nesbit's The Hursts of Hurstcote is only one of the many stories found in The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales, the first anthology of this spinetingling genre. Though Gothic fiction has generally been identified with Walpole's Castle of Otranto and the works of Ann Radcliffe, these thirty-seven selections compiled by Chris Baldick provide a unique look at the genre's development into its present-day forms. We see standard gothic elements of incest, murder, and greed in The Poisoner of Montremos, a late eighteenth-century story by Richard Cumberland. We find in Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher the tale that set a new standard of decadence for Gothic stories. In Hawthorne's Rappacini's Daughter, a young girl is raised on the very essence of poison.

"In Faulkner's A Rose for Emily, a woman's death satisfies a neighborhood's curiosity with a bizarre discovery. In other tales, a ghost reveals his sin of parricide, madness drives a man to murder,and a young girl spends her lifetime locked in a single room. All these stories and more contain the common elements of the gothic tale: a warped sense of time, a claustrophobic setting, a link to archaic modes of thought, dynastic corruption, and the impression of a descent into disintegration. Yet they also reveal the progression of the genre from stories of feudal villains amid crumbling ruins to a greater level of sophistication in which writers brought the gothic tale out of its medieval setting, and placed it in the contemporary world."

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Victorian Ghost Stories: An Oxford Anthology

By Michael Cox and R.A. Gilbert, editors

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"There's nothing like a good ghost story. And, in Victorian Ghost Stories, Michael Cox and R.A. Gilbert bring together thirty-five well-wrought tales of haunted houses, vengeful spirits, spectral warnings, invisible antagonists, and motiveless malignity from beyond the grave.
"The Victorians excelled at the ghost story, it was as much a part of their literary culture as the realistic novel, and it was practiced by almost all the great writers of the age. Cox and Gilbert here provide samples from Charles Dickens, Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Henry James, and Wilkie Collins, as well as such classic ghost-story specialists as M.R. James and J.S. Le Fanu (whose "Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street," considered one of the best haunted-house story ever written...), plus one or two genuine rarities for the supernatural fiction enthusiast to savor."

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The Bell Witch: An American Haunting

By Brent Monahan

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A witness to the only documented incident in which a spirit is credited with killing a human being, Richard Powell relates to his daughter the macabre tale of the Bell Witch that haunted the Bell family of Robertson County, Tennessee, 1817-1821.

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A Great and Terrible Beauty

By Libba Bray

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After the suspicious death of her mother in 1895, sixteen-year-old Gemma returns to England, after many years in India, to attend a finishing school where she becomes aware of her magical powers and ability to see into the spirit world.

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The Turkish Gambit

By Boris Akunin

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"It is 1877, and war has broken out between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. The Bulgarian front resounds with the thunder of cavalry charges, the roar of artillery, and the clash of steel on steel during the world’s last great horse-and-cannon conflict. Amid the treacherous atmosphere of a nineteenth-century Russian field army, former diplomat and detective extraordinaire Erast Fandorin finds his most confounding case. Its difficulties are only compounded by the presence of Varya Suvorova, a deadly serious (and seriously beautiful) woman with revolutionary ideals who has disguised herself as a boy in order to find her respected comrade– and fiance--Pyotr Yablokov, an army cryptographer."

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Autumn Bridge

By Takashi Matsuoka

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"In the year 1311, in the highest tower of Cloud of Sparrows Castle, a beautiful woman sits by the window, watching as enemies gather below and fires spread through the night. As she calmly awaits her fate, she begins to write, carefully setting down on a scroll the secret history of the Okumichi clan--of the gift of prophecy they share and the extraordinary destiny that awaits them. For six centuries, these remarkable writings lay hidden—until they are uncovered by an American woman, a missionary named Emily Gibson, who arrived in Edo harbor in 1861, in flight from a tragic past. Soon an extraordinary man would enter her life: Lord Genji of the Okumichi clan, a nobleman with a gift of prophecy who must defend his embattled family—and confront forbidden feelings for an outsider in his midst. Emily, too, soon finds herself at a turning point; courted by two westerners, she knows her heart belongs to the one man she cannot have. But Emily has found a mission of her own: translating Genji’s ancestral history, losing herself in an epic tale of heroism and forbidden love."
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The Dress Lodger

By Sheri Holman

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Fifteen-year-old Gustine is a "dress lodger", a young prostitute who rents a beautiful dress from her landlord to attract a higher class of clientele. Surgeon Henry Chiver is a prisoner of his own past and is looking to start over.

Doctor and dress lodger come together in the filthy, cholera-infected East End of Sunderland. Here, during the worst epidemic since the bubonic plague, Gustine secures bodies for the doctor's school in exchange for medical care for her ailing child. The arrangement is gruesome but profitable for both until Henry's greed and his growing obsession with her child challenge Gustine's loyalty to him.

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The Poet's Homecoming

By George MacDonald, edited by Michael Phillips

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"He left the countryside the follower of restless ambition. He would return a different man."

George MacDonald (1824-1905), Scottish poet, preacher, novelist, and mystic, was one of the most original and influential writers of Victorian Britain. His books have sold in the millions of copies, and he was one of the most popular authors of the day on both sides of the Atlantic.

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Hottentot Venus

By Barbara Chase-Riboud

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"From the bestselling author of Sally Hemings comes an extraordinary new novel based on the true story of Sarah Baartman, a South African herdswoman exhibited as a “scientific curiosity” in the capitals of nineteenth-century Europe. Barbara Chase-Riboud’s previous historical novels won her critical praise and established her as a writer who daringly transforms the hidden truths of the past into compelling fiction. InHottentot Venus, Chase-Riboud recounts the tragic life of Sarah Baartman, re-creating in vivid, shocking detail the racism and sexism at the heart of European imperialism. Born in the colony of Good Hope, South Africa, in 1789, Sarah Baartman was taken to London at the age of twenty by an English surgeon, who promised her fame and fortune. Dubbed the “Hottentot Venus,” she was paraded naked in Piccadilly in a freak-show exhibition and subjected to the unabashed stares and crude comments of the British public, which resulted in a sensational trial for her custody by British abolitionists."

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