Press Release: The Folio Book of Ghost Stories
Introduced by Kathryn Hughes
Introduced by David McConochie
‘It hung for an instant on the edge of the hole, then slipped forward on to my chest, and put its arms round my neck’
M. R. JAMES, The Treasure of Abbot Thomas
The pleasure of huddling round the fire with a spine-chilling ghost story remains an old-fashioned thrill, but in the Victorian and Edwardian eras, interest in the supernatural reached popular heights. The telling of ghost stories was a quintessential Christmas tradition, with many of the leading authors of the day, including Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell and Wilkie Collins, turning their hands to terrifying tales. The provost of King’s College, Cambridge, M. R. James, started his own spooky ritual: each Christmas Eve, he would invite a group of students to his rooms to hear him read by candlelight one of his own stories, which remain masterpieces of the genre.
In this collection, newly compiled by The Folio Society, ghost stories by well-known raconteurs of the paranormal such as E. F. Benson and James himself sit alongside tales by modern writers such as A. S. Byatt and Shirley Jackson. It encompasses all the best-loved hallmarks of the ghost story tradition: dilapidated houses, servants and townspeople with dark secrets to guard, creaking floorboards and moving doors, footprints, noises and hair-raising sightings of ghostly beings by turns benevolent, pitiful and evil.
From edge-of-the-seat psychological tension to the vestiges of grisly murder, illustrating tales where terrors are often implied by a distant noise or a failing light is a unique challenge. David McConochie won the commission to illustrate this edition after being selected from over 400 entries to the 2015 Book Illustration Competition. His images are both beautiful and unsettling. Journalist and historian Kathryn Hughes provides an introduction that examines the Victorian tradition and its modern-day inheritors.
Bound in paper, printed with a design by David McConochie and blocked on spine. Set in Columbus with Baker Signet display. 296 pages. 9 full-page colour illustrations. 9½” x 6¼”.
UK £34.95 US $59.95 Can $74.95 Aus $76.95
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