D. K. Broster’s contributions to short fiction, and especially weird short fiction, received less attention during her career and those who have read her novels might be surprised to discover this facet of her writing career. In addition to the more than fifteen novels she published, Broster’s short fiction represents an even broader span of her writing career, with stories appearing during the beginning decade of the twentieth century until the 1940s. Many of these stories are similar to her novels and are centered on historical characters and events from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Yet Broster also published weird and supernatural tales in several major magazines of the day, including Macmillan’s, Chambers’s, the Cornhill, and Good Housekeeping. Several of these stories later appeared in her two collections of stories, A Fire of Driftwood (1932) and Couching at the Door (1942). These weird stories represent only a small portion of her output, but they reveal a very different side to the author. From the Abyss: Weird Fiction, 1907‒1945 highlights this other side to Broster’s career—and perhaps the more shadowy undercurrents of her own psyche as well. The stories in this volume are wonderfully varied and include incidents of pure horror, subtle psychological studies of obsession, haunted houses, and tales of ghostly doubles. These stories reveal a true mistress of the form, one who could craft a deceptively quiet narrative where fear is just around the corner, lying in wait to catch us off guard.
Published by Handheld Press. Order here.
Charlotte Riddell’s The Uninhabited House (1875) tells the story of River Hall and the secrets that are hidden behind its doors. Within this haunted house, Riddell combines the supernatural with Victorian anxieties over stolen inheritance, crime, greed, and class mobility. This new Broadview Edition includes a detailed biography of Charlotte Riddell, illustrations from the original appearance of the novella in Routledge’s Magazine, and Riddell’s ghost story “The Open Door” (1882), which serves as a useful companion text for The Uninhabited House. The contextual material in the edition highlights Victorian cultural, historical, and literary influences on Riddell’s text, including women’s contributions to the ghost story, print culture, and the development of supernatural fiction; the link between ghost stories and the holidays; and the haunted house, ghost hunting, and popular beliefs about ghosts in the Victorian era.
Published by Broadview Press in 2022. Order here.
“Melissa Edmundson has given us a well-supported edition of this haunted-house novel by an important Irish novelist who takes as her métier mid-century London—its clerks, suburbs, and shabby gentility. Those unfamiliar with Charlotte Riddell will find this a pleasure to read, and those who have wished to teach her work—and the long-form Victorian ghost story more broadly—will find this invaluable. A prolific and very successful writer, Riddell showcases her eye for detail and sense of humor in this, one of her most-loved novels.” — Pamela K. Gilbert, University of Florida
“The Uninhabited House is one of the best ghost stories of the nineteenth century—by one of the genre’s finest writers. While Charlotte Riddell was a bestselling and prolific novelist and short-story writer, she has been neglected and even ignored for decades and is only now attracting the kind of critical and scholarly attention that her work deserves. Edmundson’s comprehensive Introduction places both the author and her novel in relation to the reinvention of Christmas and the obsession with ghosts and haunted houses that were features of late Victorian life. The appendices provide a fascinating insight into the ways in which concerns about property and the preternatural were deeply intertwined in the late nineteenth century. This is a very welcome addition to Broadview’s extensive range of nineteenth-century texts.” — Jarlath Killeen, Trinity College Dublin
The Baseless Fabric (1925) is Helen Simpson’s only collection of short fiction and contains most of her supernatural writing. For almost a century, this collection has been overlooked and forgotten. Yet its stories represent some of the best—and most chilling—supernatural and macabre fiction written during the interwar years, years which saw a resurgence in such literature. These stories range from tales of obsession and vengeance to haunted houses, ominous landscapes, and possession. Along with these collected stories, this present edition adds two supernatural narratives which Simpson published later in her life. These once again showcase her lifelong interest in the occult and the paranormal. The Outcast and The Rite represents the first modern reprinting of Simpson’s short fiction and reclaims an important and distinctive voice within the supernatural tradition.
Published by Handheld Press in 2022. Order here.
“13 supernatural stories that showcase Simpson’s lush, painterly descriptions of the natural world and her subtle, deeply intuitive sense of human relationships … Simpson wonderfully contrasts the wild and the domestic, and her greatest strength lies in her ability to build a sense of rustic normalcy before letting a slice of the unusual disturb the course of life. Fans of Daphne du Maurier and early 20th-century supernatural fiction will love this forgotten treasure.” – Publishers Weekly
Throughout her decades as an author, Clotilde Graves (who published under the name “Richard Dehan”) wrote over fifteen plays, nearly twenty novels, and around two hundred short stories. The majority of these stories do not have supernatural content, but Graves remained devoted to such stories from her first collection to her last. Graves frequently delved into the otherworldly in her short fiction, but hasn’t been widely recognized as a writer of ghost stories. Although a few of her stories have been included in anthologies over the years, Graves’s work has gone largely unnoticed, even among recently published collections of women’s supernatural writing. This collection recovers Graves’s supernatural writing by including stories from across her career, stories which challenge definition and skilfully blend genres. Within the following pages, readers will find traditional ghost stories, weird tales, science fiction, fantasy, and horror.
Published by Swan River Press in 2021. Order here.
Throughout her career as a professional writer, Elinor Mordaunt excelled at the supernatural story. From her earliest published collection in 1914, she included supernatural and weird themes, and each collection that followed incorporated at least one strange tale. Many of these stories involve Mordaunt’s fascination with the sea and sailing, while others concern themselves with life in the backstreets and alleyways of London. Her characters likewise come from all walks of life and reflect Mordaunt’s lifelong interest in and observation of people. Across her work, no two of her strange tales are alike. There are non-supernatural stories of obsession and revenge that lean towards the Gothic and Weird, while a few stories verge into the realms of science fiction. In these collections, there are inventive reimaginings of haunted houses, ghosts of people not yet dead, prehistoric beings, monsters that inhabit dreams, witches that come straight out of a folk horror tradition, mermaids, cursed plays, and deranged scientists.
Published by Handheld Press in 2021. Order here.
“An attractive, enjoyable collection of supernatural tales, including some real gems.” – British Fantasy Society
“What a treat this book is: nine exquisitely written stories from a criminally unsung queen of early twentieth-century weird fiction, gorgeously packaged by Handheld Press, and with a typically sterling introduction by Melissa Edmundson. These are tales to live and lose yourself in – haunting, horrifying, and poignant by turns.” – Horrified
“Beautifully continues the Press’s mission to bring forgotten weird fiction back to life, and makes for a wonderfully spooky read just in time for the Halloween season … The Villa and the Vortex is a must-read for those who find themselves drawn to older weird fiction, and for those with a fondness for older supernatural and ghost stories.” – What Sleeps Beneath
” … a period atmosphere and a distinctive, suspenseful power to haunt. “The Villa” could be taken as a lost precursor to Shirley Jackson’s Haunting of Hill House.” – Michael Caines in the Brixton Review of Books
“The tales themselves ooze atmosphere throughout a range of familiar set pieces to period supernatural yarns; echoing mansions, remote villages, rolling moors. If you’re here for quintessential haunted worlds to get lost in you won’t be disappointed.” – Bookmunch
“The perfect sort of book for this time of year – thoughtful rather than terrifying, with enough atmosphere to give the occasional chill and lots to chew over. Highly recommended.” – Desperate Reader
“The Villa and The Vortex gave me hours of pleasure … I thought I knew what was going to happen [in ‘Luz’], but as it turns out, I was not only wrong but I would never have guessed it in a million years … all of the stories in this volume run psychologically deep and often hit at the very souls of her characters … Save the excellent introduction for last but do not pass it by – I’m always amazed at the depth and breadth of Edmundson’s research and knowledge.” – Oddly Weird Fiction
“Loneliness, pagan sacrifice, the consequences of fear and obsession (as in “The Vortex” with its playwright who must achieve success no matter what the price), all feature in Mordaunt’s work as origins or causes of haunting … Yet sometimes Mordaunt’s tales verge on the scientific realms of an H G Wells, as in the crazed scientist motif in “Luz” where fear once again plays an integral role, but the central character suffers from a hubris that often overtakes those who dare trifle with the very stuff of life and death itself … “The Countryside” is perhaps Mordaunt’s most potent tale in the volume — a story of folk magic and witchcraft let loose upon the realm of parochial religion with all its usual hallmarks of repression. Witchcraft here marks out the freedom of women’s ways and rebellion against the theological forces that would seek to constrain them within a straitjacket of conventional morality.” – Dead Reckonings
“The Villa and The Vortex is another excellent edition from Handheld with Edmundson’s always-engaging and enthusiastic editorial work beautifully presented in the press’s striking and elegant style. The cover art, ‘Klingsor’s Castle’ by Hermann Hendrich, absolutely drips with the sense of stifling despair that often pervades Mordaunt’s writing and Kate Macdonald’s glossary usefully explains some of Mordaunt’s period idiom.” – Daniel Pietersen in HorrorHomeroom
“In her well-researched and erudite introduction, Melissa Edmundson examines each story in detail and makes a compelling case for including Mordaunt in the canon of great supernatural writers of the 20th century.” – To The Ends of the Word
Following the success of the first volume of Women’s Weird (2019), Women’s Weird 2 (2020) showcases how supernatural fiction written by women progressed into the modern supernatural tale. These stories, covering roughly fifty years from the early 1890s to the late 1930s, complicate and expand more traditional notions of the Victorian supernatural, and while the reader can still find ghosts within the pages of this volume, the spectres themselves have become more varied as a result of “living” in the modern world. They have become more complex and carry more cultural baggage. For writers who had witnessed world war, the devastating effects of imperialism, first-wave feminism, and economic depression, the supernatural story could never be the same.
Women’s Weird 2: More Strange Stories by Women, 1891-1937 includes stories by Edith Stewart Drewry, Lettice Galbraith, Sarah Orne Jewett, Barbara Baynton, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, Katherine Mansfield, Bithia Mary Croker, Bessie Kyffin-Taylor, Marjorie Bowen, Helen Simpson, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Mary Elizabeth Counselman, and Stella Gibbons.
Published by Handheld Press in 2020. Order here.
The Guardian featured both Women’s Weird collections in this article from October 2020.
“This is a fantastic collection of stories that manages to add to the previous anthology perfectly – if you enjoyed the first, it’ll be a must read. Perfect for fans of Shirley Jackson and Mary Shelley, or for those interested in the ways women use speculative writing to explore their changing reality through the first half of the 20th century. As ever, read the enlightening introduction last, for fear of spoiling the twists! Unsettling, fascinating, and thoroughly enjoyable.” – A Cat, A Book, and a Cup of Tea
“Like the first volume, Women’s Weird 2 contains 13 stories of the weird and supernatural by women writers spanning the formative years of the genre … the tension between society’s expectation of domestic roles for women and women gaining more agency for themselves is made more explicit … In keeping with the high standard of all Handheld Press releases, the volume contains wonderful cover art, another fascinating introductory essay by Melissa Edmundson further illustrating the context of these stories and their place in the weird, and extensive explanatory footnotes from Kate Macdonald. This is another essential purchase for fans and scholars of weird fiction alike.” – The Fantasy Hive
“The primary strength of the Women’s Weird collections is the intersection of an expert-curated anthology and making this material accessible to worldwide audiences. In helping the average reader rediscover a critical part of the past of the Weird, collections like this will heavily influence how the genre continues to develop. We will always have our Weird essentials, but with these collections, we are starting to get an idea of the bigger picture, and I, for one, cannot wait to see where this influence and understanding lead us.” – What Sleeps Beneath
During the late Victorian period and into the twentieth century, women’s supernatural fiction became much darker as newer, more ominous presences emerged beside the traditional figure of the ghost. Women’s weird fiction in these decades incorporated other themes besides the primarily domestic concerns of earlier supernatural fiction, and, while many later stories are still concerned with gender, they also explore more universal imaginings of fear, unease, and dread. This collection surveys a variety of these experimental forms to show how women moved beyond the traditional ghost story and into areas of weird fiction and dark fantasy.
Women’s Weird: Strange Stories by Women, 1890-1940 showcases 50 years of women’s Weird fiction and includes stories by Louisa Baldwin, Mary Cholmondeley, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Edith Nesbit, Edith Wharton, Francis Stevens, Elinor Mordaunt, May Sinclair, Margery Lawrence, Eleanor Scott, Margaret Irwin, D. K. Broster, and Mary Butts.
Published by Handheld Press in 2019. Order here.
“The collection is a deliberate effort to attenuate, in the horror tradition, the dominance of men like M R James, Arthur Machen, H P Lovecraft and Ambrose Bierce, and restore to prominence innovative writers such as May Sinclair, Mary Butts and Margery Lawrence … The stories in Women’s Weird, spanning the period from the late nineteenth century to the eve of the Second World War, branch out from an older ghost-story tradition to “explore more universal imaginings of fear, unease and dread”. They show the continuing influence of Gothic and supernatural tropes and the effect of their collision with a modernizing world and women’s changing roles within it.” —Times Literary Supplement
“A landmark anthology … Edmundson has curated a solid journey through weird landscapes … This is an unmissable, urgent and era-defining work.” —Johnny Mains, Gingernuts of Horror
“Every story in Women’s Weird justifies its inclusion, and Edmundson’s terrific introduction does a great job of defining not only the weird, but shifting our view of history to centre women’s writing within the genre. The book feels entirely of the moment, and its selection of stories is completely perfect … An exceptional anthology, packed with brilliant fiction. In years to come this is going to be cited in essays as an essential part of the weird fiction canon.” —Daniel Carpenter, Bookmunch
“The range of authors and stories suggests that the Weird is perhaps more an approach than a genre, demonstrating the Weird’s ability to discomfort and disturb … Women’s Weird is an essential read for any fan or scholar of Weird fiction, and we are indebted to both Handheld Press and Melissa Edmundson for performing this service.” —Jonathan Thornton, The Fantasy Hive
“Women’s Weird is a valuable, important work in the study of weird writing. It is a powerful reminder that, despite what we may be told, artists and artworks are rarely lost but rather become forgotten, or even actively suppressed, when they don’t fit the narratives of dominant cultural frameworks. Thankfully, we have scholars like Melissa Edmundson reminding us that this writing still exists and showing how it is still relevant today.” —Daniel Petersen, Dead Reckonings
Read my interview with Elizabeth Kim about women writers and the Weird tradition on the Cunning Folk website here.
Read Gabriela Frost’s discussion of the stories’ social commentary for the Lucy Writers platform here.
Women’s Colonial Gothic Writing, 1850-1930: Haunted Empire (Palgrave Macmillan) is the first extended critical study of Colonial Gothic writing by nineteenth and early twentieth-century women who lived within the borders of the British Empire during its height. Women were some of the first authors to examine the negative effects of colonialism in the nineteenth century, but were one of the last groups to have their writings recognized as legitimate and worthy critiques of the British colonial experience. Much of their fiction uses ghosts and other paranormal events to comment on social issues such as race, gender, class, and imperialism, thus making these Gothic texts something more than just a good scare. This book will expand on recent critical interest in women’s involvement with the Gothic to explore how these writers appropriated the genre – and its emphasis on fear, racial otherness, identity, and sexual deviancy – in order to take these anxieties into the farthest realms of the British Empire. When read in light of the Colonial Gothic, the unique histories and social structures of these individual colonies are thus transformed into wide-reaching critiques of power structures and the impact colonialism had on both the British colonizers and the local populations. As many of these women were truly cosmopolitan – frequently moving back and forth from Great Britain to the various locations of empire, their writing gives us a unique view of the colonial experience, especially for women during this period. The varied subject matter in their fiction reflects a broad range of colonial experience: from imperialism in Africa and the dehumanizing effects of the ivory trade, to the destructive aftereffects of slavery in Jamaica and the violent consequences of imperial rule in India. Grisly death and violent crime are frequently present in these works, as are more personal stories of the harsh realities of settler life in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Women’s Colonial Gothic thereby insists on bringing to light the darker, hidden motives and untold stories that complicate the contemporary narratives which foregrounded British expansion as a noble quest that would improve the lives of colonist and colonizer alike.
“Edmundson’s book is a veritable treasure trove of undiscovered women’s postcolonial and Gothic work and fills an amazing gap in our understanding, which ranges round British and American, some colonial Gothic, nineteenth century work, early twentieth century and contemporary work. The scholarship and the focus are impeccable, using established and new critics’ work on gender, the Gothic and postcolonial writing to provide a new reading of a very under researched area.” —Gina Wisker
From the Victorian Secrets website: Ghost stories have always provided a popular source of entertainment, thrilling readers with tales of remote gothic castles and dark dungeons. In the nineteenth century, authors made the genre even scarier by bringing the uncanny within the sanctity of the middle-class home. Women writers especially saw the ghost story as an empowering form, using it to make subversive arguments about gender, class, sexuality, race, and money. In this electrifying collection, Melissa Edmundson showcases ten authors who led lives that challenged Victorian notions of how women should behave and brought those transgressive ideas into their fiction.
This collection includes stories by Amelia B. Edwards, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Rosa Mulholland, Edith Nesbit, Lettice Galbraith, G. M. Robins, Mary E. Wilkins, Gertrude Atherton, and Violet Hunt.
My reading list for other collections of women’s ghost stories can be found here.
Read my interview about Victorian women and ghost stories on the Sublime Horror website here.
“I wanted to highlight how women writers push the limits of social themes in their writing, and although there have been many collections of women’s ghost stories in recent years, I don’t think this social aspect has been focused on as much as it should be. As I say in the introduction, these writers didn’t shy away from controversial topics. There’s murder, betrayal, marital problems, and child abuse, among other issues. Victorian Secrets gave me a generous word limit, but even so, some tough choices had to be made. Each story in Avenging Angels comes from a collection published by each of these individual authors, and many of the authors included published more than one collection of supernatural fiction. […] I also wanted to show the historical scope of women’s involvement within the genre of the supernatural throughout the long Victorian period. I start with Amelia B. Edwards’s ‘The Four-Fifteen Express’, which was published in 1867, and end with Violet Hunt’s ‘The Prayer’, published in her 1911 collection. But I also want to stress that women’s supernatural fiction doesn’t end with the Victorian period. In fact, I’m working on a new collection of women’s weird fiction that ranges from 1890 to 1940. There were some amazing collections by women in the 1920s and 1930s. I hope Avenging Angels encourages people to read more by these authors as well as looking beyond the period represented in the book.”
The Half-Caste: An Old Governess’s Tale (1851) remains relevant to today’s scholars for its daring examination of a mixed-race relationship amidst Britain’s increasing imperial involvement in India. Along with William Browne Hockley’s “The Half-Caste Daughter” (1841), which is a less sympathetic exploration of the consequences of race mixing, it is one of the earliest works to focus on a female mixed-race protagonist. Craik’s novella defies contemporary stereotypes about the mixed-race (or Eurasian) population by portraying Zillah Le Poer as an honest, beautiful, loyal, and sympathetic heroine. This portrayal is in direct contrast to widespread contemporary beliefs about the Eurasian community, a group brought into existence by British officials of the East India Company who took Indian wives and mistresses. These mixed-raced children were marginalized by both the Anglo-Indian British population resident in India, as well as by the Indian community, who considered the native women who made such alliances as forfeiting their caste status.
In addition to issues of race and empire, Craik’s sympathetic narrator, Cassandra Pryor, offers another detailed examination of the inner mind of the Victorian governess. Cassandra’s initial feelings of “coming down in the world” after her family’s loss of wealth, along with her feelings of loneliness and homesickness, are alleviated by her growing interest in the mysterious child, Zillah Le Poer, who is referred to by the other members of the Le Poer family as “cousin” and whose past is deliberately kept from Cassandra by the child’s outwardly respectable yet intensely controlling uncle. As Cassandra becomes increasingly determined to solve the mystery of Zillah’s background (a mystery that Craik sustains nicely, making the novella a very entertaining read), the once emotionally-adrift governess finds a purpose in protecting the girl and secretly seeing to her improvement against the wishes of the family, a family who treats the girl as more of a Cinderella-figure than as a true cousin. This new Broadview Edition features an annotated text of the novella, along with a critical introduction and contextual material.
“Melissa Edmundson has supplied a most useful addition to the literature of Victorian empire and race. Craik’s story is supplemented by excerpts from Philip Meadows Taylor’s novel Seeta along with a story by William Browne Hockley, ‘The Half-Caste Daughter.’ These texts are supplemented by well-chosen supporting materials delineating attitudes toward ‘Eurasians’ in nineteenth-century India, and together they create a rich context for understanding Craik’s often overlooked novella. Edmundson shows how Craik’s work confounds the usual binaries and prejudices of the period even as it creates a sympathetic governess character. This edition would make a fine pairing with Jane Eyre or with Kipling’s Plain Tales from the Hills in an undergraduate course on Victorian empire.” —Mary Ellis Gibson
“This edition of Dinah Mulock Craik’s long neglected 1851 novella makes a fine contribution to the scholarship on Victorian studies on empire and race. Melissa Edmundson’s ample introduction provides clear biographical, historical, and cultural background to situate Craik’s life and her fiction within the complexities of views about the Eurasian woman, British identity, and colonial power. Deft summaries, expanded by a rich assortment of supplementary materials, point to the frequency with which Victorian authors addressed the fraught gender and race issues the Eurasian woman emblematized and prove that Craik’s The Half-Caste, with its progressive narrative about cultural merging, struck a decidedly different note. Additional materials assist in categorizing The Half-Caste with that other predominant nineteenth-century genre, the governess novel. Comprehensive explanatory footnotes and an informed and wide-ranging bibliography tempt the reader for future critical (as well as fun) reading. Edmundson ensures her own audience hears Craik’s strong voice about the period’s significant contemporary issues and more than demonstrates her own admiration for this important Victorian woman author.” —Joellen Masters
Women’s Ghost Literature in Nineteenth-Century Britain shows the Gothic becoming more experimental and subversive as its writers abandoned the stereotypical Gothic heroines of the eighteenth century in order to create more realistic, middle-class characters (both living and dead, male and female) who rage against the limits imposed on them by the natural world. The ghosts of women’s Gothic thereby become reflections of the social, sexual, economic and racial troubles of the living. Expanding the parameters of Female Gothic and moving it into the nineteenth and twentieth centuries allows us to recognize women’s ghost literature as a specific strain of the Female Gothic that began not with Ann Radcliffe, but with the Romantic Gothic ballads of women writers in the first decade of the nineteenth century. From the supernatural unrest of the ghosts in these Gothic ballads, we are able to see a tradition that was continued in the ghost poems and short stories of the next one hundred years and onward.
As the nineteenth century progressed and ghost stories became increasingly popular, women writers continued to highlight female characters and gender concerns, but there also develops an added emphasis on a diverse range of topics beyond gender, such as rental properties, inheritances, battlefields, race relations and imperialism. If the traditional Gothic has always been concerned with forms of marginalization, then women’s ghost literature of the nineteenth century provides an extended example of the continuance of this concern and an important link between traditional and modern Gothic, while at the same time continuing to expand and redefine the much-contested term ‘Female Gothic’.
Chronologically, this book encompasses the beginnings of women’s ghost literature at the start of the nineteenth century, in the Romantic ballads of Anne Bannerman and Charlotte Dacre, to writers who continued their literary output into the beginning of the twentieth century and beyond, such as Bithia Mary Croker, Mary Louisa Molesworth and Vernon Lee. On a geographic level, this book also covers a broad range, starting in Great Britain, then expanding out to the far reaches of the Empire, as Ellen Wood and Bithia Mary Croker’s supernatural stories highlight the ghosts of India. The women in this study also represent varying economic and social levels. Writers such as Elizabeth Gaskell, Vernon Lee and Christina Rossetti were comfortably middle class, while other authors, like Anne Bannerman and Charlotte Riddell, struggled on the verge of poverty for many years.
This book examines the cultural importance of the ghost story by analyzing women’s writing during the nineteenth century from not only a specific genre, the supernatural, but also from a particular position, that of social critique. In so doing, the authors discussed, along with the works they dedicated their writing careers to, will once again come to light and will hopefully spark new conversations about the continuing significance of the Female Gothic and ghost literature. When we think about ghosts, social critique is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. Ghost literature by women, however, offers us spectres that are more ‘real’ because they are grounded in contemporary social concerns that affected real people. Women writers of the nineteenth century truly brought ghosts home – in all senses of the phrase. They positioned their ghosts on British soil and made those spectres matter to the British reading public in a body of literature that reflected fears that were as real as they were supernatural. The ghosts are often scary, and all the more so because they bring with them a heightened awareness of problems that already haunt the living. In this literature, characters and readers alike are left with the uneasiness of these issues long after the ghosts disappear.
Women’s Ghost Literature in Nineteenth-Century Britain recovers and analyzes for a new audience this “social supernatural” ghost literature, as well as the lives and literary careers of the women who wrote it. Chapters include: Female Revenants and the Beginnings of Women’s Ghost Literature, Ghostly Lovers and Transgressive Supernatural Sexualties, “Uncomfortable Houses” and the Spectres of Capital, and Haunted Empire: Spectral Uprisings as Imperialist Critique.
“As a whole, the study is extremely convincing in challenging the traditional parameters of the Female Gothic through her careful selection of texts and thorough analysis of women’s ghost literature in nineteenth-century Britain. She offers an extremely comprehensive study of this topic and I would certainly add it to the definitive titles of this subgenre as it is a substantial text for any researcher of the Female Gothic.” —Donna Mitchell, The Gothic Imagination
Originally published in 1901, East of Suez was Alice Perrin’s first collection of short stories. Her fascinating and thought-provoking tales of Anglo-Indian life rival the best work of Kipling, and were hugely successful in their day. Perrin tells stories of illicit love and betrayal set against a beautifully-drawn backdrop of the mystical east, interweaving the supernatural with exquisite details of her characters’ lives.
As the Times wrote in Perrin’s obituary: “She wrote a simple, unforced style, and the reader feels keenly the heat, the dust, the moonrise, the night calls, and all the sights and sounds and smells of the unchanging East.” Her use of ghosts as a form of social critique makes Perrin’s work both daring and distinctive. Although she often denies her readers a happy ending, she always gives them a memorable story.
This first-ever critical edition of Alice Perrin’s work includes an author biography, suggestions for further reading, explanatory notes, contextual material on representations of the British Raj, and illustrations from The Illustrated London News and The Windsor Magazine.
“The volume is beautifully produced and bookended by a learned and perceptive literary Introduction to Perrin’s work by editor Melissa Edmundson Makala and by two interesting appendices depicting the cultural context of the British Raj as the historical frame of the author’s body of work. Highly recommended.” —Mario Guslandi, The Short Review.
The CW’s long-standing fan favorite series Supernatural follows the adventures of Sam and Dean Winchester as the brothers follow the “family business” of hunting the supernatural. With its unique blend of monster-of-the-week storylines intermixed with the ongoing saga of the brothers’ often troubled relationship, the show is directly tied to traditional Gothic concerns of anxiety, the monstrous, family trauma, and of course, the supernatural itself. Supernatural constantly blurs the line between human and monster, good and evil, and like the Gothic itself, individual identities and motivations resist easy categorization.
Along with the variety of supernatural beings that emerge on the show, Supernatural provides a rich framework with which to discuss various incarnations of the Gothic, such as the American Gothic, Queer Gothic, Female Gothic, and Postmodern/Meta Gothic. The thirteen essays in The Gothic Tradition in Supernatural discuss how the series both incorporates and complicates Gothic concerns related to traditional tropes, storytelling, women and gender issues, and monstrosity. Just as the Winchester brothers travel across the country in their 1967 Impala, this collection takes readers on a journey through the many ways the Gothic is imagined in Supernatural.
“Melissa Edmundson’s The Gothic Tradition in Supernatural: Essays on the Television Series is a welcome addition to the study of the show. In her introduction, Edmundson provides an excellent overview of the existing scholarship on Supernatural and makes it clear why alongside these established critical approaches, it is important to consider it as a Gothic text.” —Stacey Abbott, Revenant Journal
“Edmundson has gathered a wonderful set of articles that will impact not only future studies of the series Supernatural, but also contemporary horror TV in general. Both the editor and the publisher deserve praise for their meticulous editing of the essays in the collection….The Gothic Tradition in Supernatural: Essays on the Television Series is an important scholarly contribution that will be of interest to a variety of readers—academic and general, let alone numerous fans of the show—and its essays may be used in a variety of academic contexts, from courses in English or comparative literature to film studies and folklore.” —Svitlana Krys, H-Net Reviews.