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Today Mary Elizabeth Braddon is remembered among fans of weird fiction for her classic horror and ghost stories, the most famous of which are collected herein. "At Chrighton Abbey" is a Christmas ghost story; "The Cold Embrace: is the story of a proud art student pursued by the ghost of a lover he scorned; "The Shadow in the Corner: uses rationalism to try to explain away Today Mary Elizabeth Braddon is remembered among fans of weird fiction for her classic horror and ghost stories, the most famous of which are collected herein. "At Chrighton Abbey" is a Christmas ghost story; "The Cold Embrace: is the story of a proud art student pursued by the ghost of a lover he scorned; "The Shadow in the Corner: uses rationalism to try to explain away a ghostly presence, with no success; "Good Lady Ducayne" is Braddon's updated reworking of the vampire myth, using Victorian-era medical knowledge instead of the supernatural (and it is all the more chilling because of its pluasibility); and "Eveline's Visitant" is the tale of two cousins who fight to the death over a woman-and the loser vows to haunt the one who killed him in his moment of greatest happiness. This volume is an excellent introduction to the fantastic works of Mary Elizabeth Braddon and a welcome addition to the Wildside Fantasy Classics line.


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Today Mary Elizabeth Braddon is remembered among fans of weird fiction for her classic horror and ghost stories, the most famous of which are collected herein. "At Chrighton Abbey" is a Christmas ghost story; "The Cold Embrace: is the story of a proud art student pursued by the ghost of a lover he scorned; "The Shadow in the Corner: uses rationalism to try to explain away Today Mary Elizabeth Braddon is remembered among fans of weird fiction for her classic horror and ghost stories, the most famous of which are collected herein. "At Chrighton Abbey" is a Christmas ghost story; "The Cold Embrace: is the story of a proud art student pursued by the ghost of a lover he scorned; "The Shadow in the Corner: uses rationalism to try to explain away a ghostly presence, with no success; "Good Lady Ducayne" is Braddon's updated reworking of the vampire myth, using Victorian-era medical knowledge instead of the supernatural (and it is all the more chilling because of its pluasibility); and "Eveline's Visitant" is the tale of two cousins who fight to the death over a woman-and the loser vows to haunt the one who killed him in his moment of greatest happiness. This volume is an excellent introduction to the fantastic works of Mary Elizabeth Braddon and a welcome addition to the Wildside Fantasy Classics line.

52 review for At Chrighton Abbey and Other Horror Stories

  1. 4 out of 5

    Werner

    Note, Feb. 11, 2021: I originally wrote this review in two parts; I've edited it just now to make the text smoother and more unified, but not changing any of the substantive content. Braddon was an able practitioner of the English ghost story tradition, accomplished and technically proficient in her writing, and able to encompass more than one style --sometimes producing spare tales consisting mostly of straight narration (in one case, "The Cold Embrace," written in the present tense) and sometim Note, Feb. 11, 2021: I originally wrote this review in two parts; I've edited it just now to make the text smoother and more unified, but not changing any of the substantive content. Braddon was an able practitioner of the English ghost story tradition, accomplished and technically proficient in her writing, and able to encompass more than one style --sometimes producing spare tales consisting mostly of straight narration (in one case, "The Cold Embrace," written in the present tense) and sometimes cultivating a more prolix style involving the revelation of character through conversation. Happy endings are not guaranteed (in fact here they're the exception rather than the rule), and the ghosts tend to be, as in M. R. James' work, malevolent or vengeful. Actually, "Good Lady Ducayne" is not a ghost story as such --the collection is appropriately subtitled Other Horror Stories, not Other Ghost Stories-- and might better be called science-fiction than supernatural, since it explains its phenomena naturalistically. In other stories, though, the naturalistic viewpoint is tried and found wanting; characters sometimes dismiss the supernatural in accordance with the approved rationalist positivism of the up-and-coming intellectuals of the day, only to find that attitude hopelessly useless in explaining or coping with the realities they're encountering. (This doesn't seriously seek to convey the message that ghosts as such actually exist; but ghosts do serve a metaphorical function to make a point about the possibly non-natural, non-"rational" aspects of the universe, that we dismiss at our peril.) "Eveline's Visitant" is set in early 18th-century France, as some of the references make clear, and "The Cold Embrace" in Europe, apparently in the author's own time; "Good Lady Ducayne" is set mostly in Italy, but the Italy of English tourists, and involves English people. The other two stories are set solidly in Victorian England: a time and place archaic and exotic to us, but up close and personal to the first readers; like Le Fanu, in those cases Braddon puts the supernatural menace right in her reader's own world, not long ago and far away. Her tales, at least here, tend to plot-driven, and a criticism that might be made of them is that they're predictable --indeed, she often uses foreshadowing liberally enough that readers can expect the ending. But I wouldn't make this point as a criticism; I would think of her plots as unfolding with a certain grim, fated inevitability that's effective in creating an appropriate mood of foreboding in the reader. Many of the story elements here are familiar trappings of this fictional tradition, but that's not a defect; stories in this vein are largely variations on a theme, distinguished by the author's skilled use of the conventional materials. Braddon's use of them is as skilled as anyone's. My two favorites here are "At Chrighton Abbey" and "The Shadow in the Corner." Though Braddon writes in the Romantic tradition, while Austen was a Realist before Realism was a defined movement and writes with her feet firmly planted in the everyday mundane world, the former story has a certain Austen-like ambiance, in a way (or maybe could be described as "Jane Austen meets supernatural fiction" :-) ) --and coming from a Janeite, that's a compliment! As my star rating indicates, I found the book quite satisfying. But while editor Betancourt's short introduction is useful and informative, I do have a couple of quibbles with his work. First, noting the publication date of each of the stories would have been useful. Braddon had a long writing career, apparently spanning about 50 years or more; purists like me prefer to nail down a story's date more precisely than that. And second, for a writer who wrote "perhaps hundreds" of stories, five is an appetizer when the reader would have wanted a whole banquet! (On the other hand, the book sold at an affordable $12.99 list price; keeping it relatively slender might have been the publisher's way of keeping it inexpensive, to introduce Braddon's work to the greatest number of modern readers.)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    At Chrighton Abbey Reminiscent of Jane Austen's work, this story depicts the wealthy landed gentry in nineteenth century England from a poor relative's point of view (Sara Chrighton). The heir to the family's estate (Edward) is the focus of the story. The heir's hunting activities and the strained relationship with his fiance (Julia Tremaine) tie into ghostly foreshadowings of past hunting parties. Vicarage affairs, colonial ties and the lives of servants are also depicted in this story. The Cold E At Chrighton Abbey Reminiscent of Jane Austen's work, this story depicts the wealthy landed gentry in nineteenth century England from a poor relative's point of view (Sara Chrighton). The heir to the family's estate (Edward) is the focus of the story. The heir's hunting activities and the strained relationship with his fiance (Julia Tremaine) tie into ghostly foreshadowings of past hunting parties. Vicarage affairs, colonial ties and the lives of servants are also depicted in this story. The Cold Embrace A young man betrays his betrothed with thoughtless behavior. The woman’s disappointment and her experience with parental dominance are also part of the story. Set in Brunswick, Germany. The Shadow in the Corner Set in East Anglia, near Yarmouth, in the nineteenth century this story captures the cheerless life of a young girl (Maria). She has been hired as a servant to help an older couple (Daniel Skeggs and his wife) who look after a wealthy bachelor (Michael Bascom) but she is treated in a somewhat unfriendly fashion by the pair. The servants and master live at Michael’s neglected hunting manor called Wildheath Grange, which was part of the Bascom estate. The estate was lost by Michael's great-uncle. Local haunts of the wealthy are mentioned in the story including New Market and London and Maria's life is in contrast to the dissipated life of her employer’s relative (Anthony). Michael is somewhat drawn to the young girl’s plight. Explores themes related to Biblical characters, scientific discoveries, and the family and the surrounding community. Scientific discoveries and education are also mentioned in relation to our need for compassionate understanding of our fellow men. Daniel Skeggs reminds me of the servant Joseph, in Wuthering Heights. ……………….. The Witch of Endor is a woman who, according to the Hebrew Bible, was consulted by Saul to summon the spirit of prophet Samuel in order to receive advice against the Philistines in battle, after prior attempts to consult God through sacred lots and prophets had failed (First Book of Samuel; 1 Samuel 28:3-25). Wikipedia. ………………........... Good Lady Ducayne Wealthy English people who lived part of the year abroad for health reasons; set in Italy (Cap Ferrino) during the late nineteenth century. A young girl (Bella Rolleston) goes to work as a companion to an old lady (Lady Ducayne). After a period of ill health she is treated by a doctor (Mr. Stafford) and his sister (Lotta), with whom she has become friendly at one of the hotels. The doctor subsequently takes matters into his own hands and Lady Ducayne rises to the occasion in an unexpected fashion. Depicts the lives of the working poor when they have come down in the world and the class consciousness associated with women whose husbands have abandoned them. Themes of worker exploitation and the medical science related to the era. Addresses the need for women's education and vocational opportunities. Reminds me of Henry James, Ford Madison Ford and Edith Wharton. ..................................... Eveline’s Visitant Set in Regency France around Paris (Saint-Germain des Prés, Puy Verdun), two wealthy young men follow the honor codes of feudal life with devastating consequences. Andre de Brissac and his cousin, the narrator (Hector de Brissac) argue during their Parisian life when they are meeting the women who are part of Philippe d’Orleans high society. Eventually, it is Hector’s wife, Eveline, who feels the full force of their juvenile behavior. Brings to fore the stressful impact of highly militarized societies. This story is reminiscent of Victor Frankenstein and the monster’s method of revenge. ……………. The Régence was the period in French history between 1715 and 1723, when King Louis XV was a minor and the country was governed by Philippe d'Orléans, a nephew of Louis XIV of France, as prince regent. …………………...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nelly

    It’s so hard to review a short story collection as my feelings always differs so strongly from one story to the next. (All my individual story reviews were made as I was reading and are in my activity log*.) At first, I felt quite underwhelmed and disappointed by this short story collection - one I was very excited by as I love Braddon and didn’t know she had any stories in print that I hadn’t read. However, having finished on a story I loved, I’m giving it a generous 4 stars (it really deserves It’s so hard to review a short story collection as my feelings always differs so strongly from one story to the next. (All my individual story reviews were made as I was reading and are in my activity log*.) At first, I felt quite underwhelmed and disappointed by this short story collection - one I was very excited by as I love Braddon and didn’t know she had any stories in print that I hadn’t read. However, having finished on a story I loved, I’m giving it a generous 4 stars (it really deserves a 3.5.) My favourite stories were Good Lady Duncayne* and The Shadow in the Corner (both 4/4.5 stars), both of which used poor female protagonists as a way to make comment on the way that these kind of characters were dismissed and taken advantage of in Victorian society whilst also creating growing unease from the very start of the stories. Perhaps what makes these two stories so successful is that the characters are so hopeful and vulnerable, making the reader warm to them. The evil in both stories seems absolute, and science plays a large role in both. Though, luckily one is much happier than the other. Evelines visitant -3.5 stars At Crighton Abbey - 3 stars A Cold Embrace - 3 stars Overall, Braddon is just a great writer and if you like her other stuff you’ll like this. (*It turns out my review for Good Lady Duncayne wasn’t saved in my activity log so I’m pasting it here) Good Lady Duncayne: I really enjoyed this. There was a growing sense of dread from the beginning of the story and a clever twist in the vampire myth. Again, I thought Braddon used the protagonist of a young, poor woman as a way to talk about how much they could be taken advantage of in Victorian society. (view spoiler)[ Plus, a happy ending! Just as one seemed impossible, we got romance and her not dying! (hide spoiler)]

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mindy Lyday

    I used this for my Master's Thesis. These short stories follow the length of Braddon's entire career, and readers can follow her growth as a writer. It also serves as an excellent basis for research if one wants to learn more about the details behind serial publication in the Victorian period. I used this for my Master's Thesis. These short stories follow the length of Braddon's entire career, and readers can follow her growth as a writer. It also serves as an excellent basis for research if one wants to learn more about the details behind serial publication in the Victorian period.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Siemann

    Braddon's ghost stories are excellent classic Victorian ghost stories; the collection was a bit disappointing, though, as it only contains five of them, including the excellent but often-anthologized "Good Lady Ducayne." Braddon's ghost stories are excellent classic Victorian ghost stories; the collection was a bit disappointing, though, as it only contains five of them, including the excellent but often-anthologized "Good Lady Ducayne."

  6. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Pretty disappointing as far as Gothic ghost stories go... very uneventful endings.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Excellent!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Hobbs

    Read so far: At Chrighton Abbey --3 The cold embrace --2 The shadow in the corner --3 Good Lady Ducayne --3 Eveline's visitant --3 Read so far: At Chrighton Abbey --3 The cold embrace --2 The shadow in the corner --3 Good Lady Ducayne --3 Eveline's visitant --3

  9. 4 out of 5

    Darren

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lyssa131330

  12. 4 out of 5

    Aine

  13. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

  14. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Hoping this is available as a free e-book soon.

  15. 4 out of 5

    OTIS

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  17. 5 out of 5

    Elisia

  18. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alekz

  20. 5 out of 5

    Aimee

  21. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Miller

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nina

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Mac

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  25. 4 out of 5

    Share

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carolin

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ema

  28. 4 out of 5

    J Davis

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kristine

  30. 5 out of 5

    Trippe

  31. 5 out of 5

    BookDB

  32. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Allen

  33. 4 out of 5

    Lavaughn

  34. 4 out of 5

    Krista the Krazy Kataloguer

  35. 5 out of 5

    Robert

  36. 5 out of 5

    Autumn

  37. 5 out of 5

    Susanna

  38. 4 out of 5

    Joseph-Daniel Peter Paul Abondius

  39. 4 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)

  40. 4 out of 5

    Virginie

  41. 5 out of 5

    Lydia

  42. 5 out of 5

    Dianne

  43. 4 out of 5

    Krista

  44. 4 out of 5

    Kristy

  45. 5 out of 5

    Daga

  46. 4 out of 5

    T.

  47. 4 out of 5

    Jenny McPhee

  48. 4 out of 5

    Rachael

  49. 5 out of 5

    Nadine

  50. 4 out of 5

    Neveen

  51. 5 out of 5

    Claire

  52. 4 out of 5

    Veronica

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