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Encyclopedia > Ghost story

A ghost story may be any piece of fiction, or drama, that includes a ghost, or simply takes as a premise the possibility of ghosts or the belief of some character(s) in them. In that sense The Tale of Genji contains ghost stories, and Shakespeare's Hamlet is a ghost story. Henry James used the ghost story premise. Stories involving ghosts are found in traditional cultures worldwide. Charles Dickens who wrote one of the most famous ghost stories, A Christmas Carol, in which a miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, is visited by three spirits on Christmas Eve. They show him how he has misused his life, and their influence changes him. Fiction (from the Latin fingere, to form, create) is storytelling of imagined events and stands in contrast to non-fiction, which makes factual claims that can be substantiated with evidence. ... This does not cite its references or sources. ... A ghostly woman coming down the stairs. ... In discourse, a premise (also premiss in British usage) is a claim which is part of a reason or objection. ... Ilustration of ch. ... Shakespeare redirects here. ... Hamlet and Horatio in the cemetery by Eugène Delacroix For other uses, see Hamlet (disambiguation). ... For other uses of this name, see Henry James (disambiguation). ... Dickens redirects here. ... A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas (commonly known as A Christmas Carol ) is what Charles Dickens described as his little Christmas Book and was first published on December 19, 1843 with illustrations by John Leech. ... Ebenezer Scrooge encounters Ignorance and Want in A Christmas Carol Ebenezer Scrooge is the main character in Charles Dickens 1843 novel, A Christmas Carol. ... The Christmas Eve (1904-05), watercolor painting by the Swedish painter Carl Larsson (1853-1919) Christmas Eve, the evening of December 24th, the preceding day or vigil before Christmas Day, is treated to a greater or a lesser extent in most Christian societies as part of the Christmas season. ...

In a narrower sense, the ghost story has been developed as a short story format, within genre fiction. As such, it may be a relatively restrained form of supernatural fiction, compared with the excess of the horror story. The ghost stories of M. R. James, Charles Dickens, H. Russell Wakefield, and Sheridan Le Fanu are classic expressions, as is Washington Irving's Legend of Sleepy Hollow. This article is in need of attention. ... Genre fiction is a term for fictional works (novels, short stories) written with the intent of fitting into a specific literary genre in order to appeal to the fans of that genre. ... Supernatural fiction is a classification of literature used to describe fiction exploiting or requiring as plot devices or themes some contradictions of the commonplace natural world and materialist assumptions about it. ... Horror fiction is, broadly, fiction intended to scare, unsettle or horrify the reader. ... Montague Rhodes James, (August 1, 1862–June 12, 1936). ... Dickens redirects here. ... Herbert Russell Wakefield (1888 – 1964) was an English short story writer, novelist, publisher, and civil servant chiefly remembered today for his ghost stories. ... Sheridan Le Fanu Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (August 28, 1814 – February 7, 1873) was an Irish writer of Gothic tales and mystery novels. ... Washington Irving (April 3, 1783–November 28, 1859) was an American author of the early 19th century. ... The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a short story by Washington Irving contained in his collection The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. ...

Two of the most important twentieth-century authors of ghost stories were Walter de la Mare and Robert Aickman, each a supreme stylist who genuinely believed in the supernatural. De la Mare often brought a poetic vision to his work, whereas Aickman explored the dark, nightmarish and occasionally erotic byways of the subconscious. However, what unites both writers, in addition to their perfection of individual style, is their reliance upon ambiguity as a medium for heightening effect. It has been suggested that The Listeners be merged into this article or section. ... Robert Fordyce Aickman (born June 24, 1914— February 26, 1981) was an English conservationist writer of fiction and nonfiction. ... This article does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Look up ambiguity in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

Many ghost stories are passed down through the telling of them to family members and friends. However, there are often several versions due to personal changes to the story and forgetfulness.

Japan has a long and complex tradition of ghost stories (kaidan in Japanese), perhaps best-known from Lafcadio Hearn's book, Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things. Kwaidan (怪談 kaidan) is a Japanese word that, in its broadest sense, refers to any ghost story. ... Lafcadio Hearn, aka Koizumi Yakumo. ...

Colloquially, the term also can refer to any kind of scary story.


The English ghost story

In "Some Remarks on Ghost Stories"[1] (1929), M. R. James identifies five key features of the English ghost story: Montague Rhodes James, (August 1, 1862–June 12, 1936). ... This article is about the English as an ethnic group and nation. ...

  • The pretense of truth
  • "A pleasing terror"
  • No gratuitous bloodshed or sex
  • No "explanation of the machinery"
  • Setting: "those of the writer's (and reader's) own day"

There is an extensive critical analysis of the work of several English ghost story writers in Jack Sullivan's book Elegant Nightmares: The English Ghost Story from Le Fanu to Blackwood (1978). Jack Sullivan (born 1946) is an American literary scholar, essayist, author, editor, musicologist, and short story writer. ...

See also

A Chinese Ghost story (Chinese: 倩女幽魂; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Chien-nü Yu-hun, literal meaning: The Spirit of a Beauty) is a 1987 Hong Kong movie starring Leslie Cheung, Joey Wong and Wu Ma, directed by Ching Siu-tung and produced by Tsui Hark. ... WITH YOU With You is an indie horror movie by writer/director Jason Christensen. ... Ghost tours are a siteseeing activity, usually in tourist-friendly cities, where one hears ghost stories and other types of paranormal tales and legends. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Perceval Landon was an English writer and journalist, now best remembered for his classic and much reprinted ghost story Thurnley Abbey. ... Haunted locations are places around the globe that are reportedly or popularly alleged to be haunted by ghosts. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Balthasar Bekker (1634 - 1698), Dutch divine, was born in Friesland, and educated at Groningen, under Jacob Alting, and at Franeker. ... The Signal-Man is a short story by Charles Dickens, first published as part of the Mugby Junction collection in the 1866 Christmas edition of All the Year Round. ...


  • Felton, D. Haunted Greece and Rome: Ghost Stories from Classical Antiquity, University of Texas Press, 1999.
  • Medieval ghost stories : an anthology of miracles, marvels and prodigies / comp. and ed. by Andrew Joynes, Woodbridge: Boydell press, 2003.


External links

The Best Ghost Stories, available at Project Gutenberg. - 1919 Project Gutenberg, abbreviated as PG, is a volunteer effort to digitize, archive, and distribute cultural works. ...

  Results from FactBites:
Rhys, Ernest, ed. 1921. The Haunters & the Haunted (110 words)
The forms by which men and women are haunted are far more diverse and subtle than we knew.
Ernest Rhys chose 57 ghost stories from literary works, folklore and myth to create an anthology that is both textbook of the supernatural and storybook of the middle world of ghosts.
The Haunted and the Haunters: Or the House and the Brain
In 1483, two young princes were murdered in the Tower, and their ghosts were reported to have haunted the tower until the year 1674, when their bones were found and buried in a proper ceremony.
The "ghost boy" is in fact a life-sized cardboard cutout of Ted Danson (who stars in the film), which had been left in the background, presumably accidentally, by a crew member.
As the story goes, a beautiful young girl named Mary Worth was in some sort of terrible accident (or occasionally the wounds are inflicted purposely by a jealous party), and her face was hideously deformed.
  More results at FactBites »



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