Ghosts in the House
Published in 1996 by Ash-Tree Press.
The Benson brothers – Arthur Christopher, Edward Frederic and Robert Hugh – were one of the most extraordinary and prolific literary families, between them writing more than 150 books. Arthur alone left four million words of diary, although his most lasting legacy is the words to Elgar’s Land of Hope and Glory, while Fred is acknowledged as one of the finest writers of Edwardian supernatural fiction: the name E. F. Benson is mentioned in the same breath as other greats such as M. R. James and H. R. Wakefield.
In fact, all three brothers wrote ghost stories, although the work of Arthur and Hugh in this field has long been overshadowed by their brother’s success. Now the best supernatural tales of A. C. and R. H. Benson have been gathered into one volume by anthologist Hugh Lamb, whose introduction examines the lives and writings of these two complex and fascinating men. Originally published between 1903 and 1927, the stories include A. C. Benson’s masterful ‘Basil Netherby’ and ‘The Uttermost Farthing’, and an intriguing article by R. H. Benson about real-life haunted houses.
Introduction – Hugh Lamb
Out of the Sea – A. C. Benson
Mr. Percival’s Tale – R. H. Benson
The Traveller – R. H. Benson
Basil Netherby – A. C. Benson
Father Brent’s Tale – short story by R. H. Benson
The Snake, the Leper and the Grey Frost – A. C. Benson
Father Bianchi’s Story – R. H. Benson
The Gray Cat – A. C. Benson
Father Maddox’s Tale – R. H. Benson
The Watcher – R. H. Benson
The Hill of Trouble – A. C. Benson
Haunted Houses – R. H. Benson
The Uttermost Farthing – A. C. Benson
Father Macclesfield’s Tale – R. H. Benson
The Red Camp – A. C. Benson
My Own Tale – R. H. Benson
The Closed Window – A. C. Benson
The Blood-Eagle – R. H. Benson
The Slype House – A. C. Benson
Father Meuron’s Tale – R. H. Benson
Epilogue – Hugh Lamb
Bibliography – Hugh Lamb
The cover art for Ghosts in the House was done by Hugh Lamb’s son, Richard.
“This was my first time reading stories from the acclaimed Benson family. This collection of stories draws together tales from both Arthur Christopher Benson and Robert Hugh Benson that were published between 1903 and 1927.
It was clear from reading all of the tales, that, to me, A.C. was perhaps the more compelling storyteller of the two brothers in this collection; for ‘Basil Netherby’ is clearly one spectacular piece of a Gothic supernatural story. Perhaps my most favorite tale in this book was the creepy and ghoulish ‘The Gray Cat’.
R.H. is perhaps, to me, one of the more drier storytellers of the two brothers. For his tales have a somewhat overwhelming religious overtone to them; and leave you kind of wanting more once the story is finished. Perhaps it is better that he didn’t draw too long on telling his tales, since he also has a rather over-analyzing nature that seems to take away some of the magic and intrigue of his story. To give R.H. some credit, his tale, ‘The Watcher’ did feel me with an impending dread and, in my opinion, is clearly his best tale in this collection.
If you are looking for a great introduction to some Victorian horror and supernatural stories, this is a great collection to dive into.“
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OUT OF PRINT
Available on the second-hand market.