Edith WhartonAlongside her overall literary reputation, Edith Wharton (1862–1937) quietly developed a parallel track record as a ghost story writer. She wore both hats as well as Charles Dickens and Henry James did, and perhaps that goes with the Victorian origins of all of them. Even in the U.S., her work is largely public domain, and ghost stories like “The Fulness of Life,” “Mrs. Manstey’s View,” and “The Verdict” can be found in collections like HorrorMasters, or Project Gutenberg. Some also made particularly fine short ghostly dramas in the 1980s British TV series Shades of Darkness, which still crops up on YouTube.

Wharton’s psychological adeptness is probably one of the key elements in her supernatural fiction, where ghosts are often manifestations or reflections of emotional tensions, suppressed secrets, and other issues that could be explored through other means but that do make for supremely good spooky tales. “Tales of Men and Ghosts” is the most clearly labeled collection in this vein, but there are plenty of other stories out there. “The Triumph of Night,” “The Lady’s Maid’s Bell,” “Bewitched,” “”Pomegranate Seed,” “Kerfol,” “Mr. Jones” and “Miss Mary Pask” are tales you won’t find in that  collection, but you will find them compiled here, in Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton, naturally enough. You can look them up one at a time online if you don’t want to actually pay for them, but they’ll be worth it if you do.


The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail newteleread@gmail.com.