Thursday, 4 July 2013

American Ghosts

This is the day when we commemorate American Independence, and tens of millions of English speaking people conspire to pretend that the French didn't win a war. For obvious reasons. 

Anyway, it's only natural (or indeed supernatural) to ponder American ghost stories. And there sure are a lot of 'em! Many of them ladies. A lot of Ph.D time has been put into the issue of why women wrote ghost stories in the 19th century, but it's fairly obvious that crafting supernatural fiction was seen as a ladylike pastime, rather like embroidery. Which is ironic, given that a lot of those stories, read against the grain, are rather subversive. 

But, rather than subject you to my unoriginal thinking, here's a chance to bridge the Atlantic with a ghost story set in little ol' England, penned by an American woman, and produced as a British TV costume drama. Hope you're keeping up!


Oscar Solis said...

Shades of Darkness was a pretty good series. Afterward was a good story. Edith Wharton's ghost stories aren't the typical jump stories, being extremely subtle. I wonder if this may have been a result of her friendship with Henry James. Who knows.

Speaking of women writers of ghost stories, There is The Virago Book of Ghost Stories, an excellent collection. It features one of the most frightening stories I've ever read: The Empty Schoolroom by Pamela Hansford Johnson.

valdemar said...

I've heard of Johnson but don't recall the story. I think I may have the book somewhere...