The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton

Just as many faithful readers turn to Dicken’s A Christmas Carol in December, I turn to The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton in October.  Edith_Newbold_Jones_Wharton_in_hat_with_fur_muff

People are surprised to find that the author of The Age of Innocence, The House of Mirth and The Custom of the Country wrote ghost stories, but she did and frightfully well.

Today I read, The Triumph of Night, one of the eleven short stories within the collection.  Wharton wastes no time in telling a ghost story.  Right from the start, you get a strange sensation that some poor soul is going to experience a creepy or painful event.

It was clear that the sleigh from Weymore had not come; and the shivering young traveler from Boston, who had counted on jumping into it when he left the train at Northridge Junction, found himself standing alone on the open platform, exposed to the full assault of nightfall and winter.  

As a reader…I’m already uncomfortable.

The train doesn’t arrive, a stranger shows up, the snow prevents the character from getting to his destination, he’s force to stay at the home of another stranger, etc.  It’s the perfect set-up for a good ghost story.

All eleven stories offer varying degrees of tension with an omen or an unsettling word that sets the tone.

Thankfully, there is no gore.  No horror.  No terrorizing, hockey-mask-wearing characters.  Just pure, unadulterated fiction with some extra tension and a smattering of the paranormal.

17 thoughts on “The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton

    • Isn’t she wonderful? The House of Mirth is one of my favorite all-time books (I also loved The Custom of the Country). I must admit, I like her novels more than her short stories, but like to switch it up every now and then. Happy reading!

  1. Hello Mary!
    I wanted to say thanks for visiting my blog. I’m glad you liked my post on Jane Austen (Noting that you are member of one of her societies). Seems we share a love of “classic” so am having a look through some of your articles.

  2. I’m another one who, despite being a Wharton fan, hadn’t ever noticed she wrote ghost stories. I’m sorry not to have spotted this before Halloween. But with the darker evenings, there’s still time before Christmas! Thanks for visiting Literasaurus [literasaurus.wordpress.com] Faye

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