This volume contains the weird tales of the British writer E. Nesbit (1858-1924), who wrote two early collections of horror stories, Grim Tales (1893) and Fear (1910), while gaining celebrity with an array of books for children. But the weird attracted her throughout her career, and she devoted herself to such themes as the haunted house, the ghost, psychological terror, and even some ventures into proto-science fiction, in such celebrated tales as "Man-Size in Marble" and "The Five Senses." Her weird work, long out of print, is now available again in this meticulously edited volume.
Editor's Note: The stories in this book have largely been taken from the collection Fear (1910); "The Mass for the Dead" is taken from Grim Tales (1893), while "The Pavilion" is taken from To the Adventurous (1923), as reflecting the author's late revisions to the tale. The uncollected stories are taken from their magazine appearances as specified in the bibliography. There have been several other collections of Nesbit's weird tales--E. Nesbit's Tales of Terror, edited by Hugh Lamb (Methuen, 1983), subsequently revised as In the Dark: Tales of Terror (Equation, 1988) and In the Dark (Ash-Tree Press, 2000)--and they include stories not included here; but in my judgment these tales are not genuinely weird.
The Classics of Gothic Horror series seeks to reprint novels and stories from the leading writers of weird fiction over the past two centuries or more. Ever since the Gothic novels of the late 18th century, supernatural horror has been a slender but provocative contribution to Western literature. Edgar Allan Poe, Ambrose Bierce, the Victorian ghost story writers, the "titans" of the early twentieth century (Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood, Lord Dunsany, M. R. James, H. P. Lovecraft), the Weird Tales writers, and many others contributed to the development and enrichment of weird fiction as a literary genre, and their work deserves to be enshrined in comprehensive, textually accurate editions.
S. T. Joshi, a leading authority on weird fiction, has done exactly that in establishing this series. Using scholarly resources honed over decades of wide-ranging research, he has assembled volumes featuring not only the complete weird writings of the authors in question, but exhaustive bio-critical introductions and bibliographical data.
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