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Summer Reading

If you are able to get ahead and do some reading over the summer for this module, then these are my suggestions not only for texts, but the way to keep your notes in order.

You can also download a pdf copy of all the information below hereLink opens in a new window

There are three sections (click to jump down to sections):

(1) Suggested Critical Reading
(2) Suggested Primary Reading.
(3) Finding Primary Reading

a) online facsimiles of published collections/anthologies from the long C19th
b) online facsimiles of published collections/anthologies from the C20th/C21st
c) Collections/anthologies in/via the library


You will need to try and get a good grip on the wider theoretical implications of “Gothic” and of “the Short Form” – separately, as well as how they intersect. Some of these suggestions will be set reading for week 1 (alongside a pack of primary texts), and will be pertinent for the module as a whole, and assessments so I strongly suggest setting aside some time for these.
Ensure to take notes/annotate!:


The Gothic mode



There is only one set text recommended for purchase: Minor Hauntings: Chilling Tales of Spectral Youth, ed. by Jen Baker (British Library, 2021). There will also be 4 copies in the library and 1 on short loan. You may want to get ahead and read the collection cover-to-cover over summer.

All other primary stories that we use on this course will be linked to or produced in hard-copy for you. However, over the summer, try to read as widely as you can across short fiction published in the “long c19th” – roughly c.1780-1920 - to expand your own exposure generally and beyond the set reading we will have in class and to offer potential readings for your assessments. (For recommendations see 3. Finding Primary Texts, below)


I suggest constructing a spreadsheet or a working annotated bibliography or use scrivener etc, to record as much information as you can of all stories you read over summer and/or term that might suit this module. You might do so based on the individual stories you read, as in example 1Link opens in a new window, and/or by anthology or collection (e.g. The Oxford Book of Short Stories, or the Penguin book of Horror Tales, or the British Library collection The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Stories by Edgar Allan Poe, etc) as in example 2Link opens in a new window. You might want to do both using separate tabs, as they would both be potentially useful for assessment preparation (perhaps a dissertation/Research Project!).

Ensure to leave space for you to look up the original publication information either then or later. See my suggested headings for key things to make a note of, but you might also want to add other columns for say, listing key “themes”.

I recommend a nice notebook (could be one with sections for different times or themes) that you dedicate to the primary texts. If you aren’t doing the kind of record above, at least ensure that in your notebook you record the publication info/where you read it and page numbers for quotes/points.

Some things to consider and make note of:

  • Who is the narrator? From what point of view is it being told and what is the style (fireside tale, in media res, first-person past, first-person present etc)?
  • Note down if it has structural layers (e.g. a story within a story) and what the different time frames being used are.
  • Identify what you think makes it gothic (e.g. Supernatural entities, moments of suspense, certain tropes etc) and how it achieves any effect such as suspense, terror, dread etc.
  • Brief plot summary or print and paste this from an outside source.
  • Does it have any other major themes that may be useful or are interesting to you – such as Gender stereotypes / transgression; racial issues; weird landscapes, class issues; religious persecution etc, medicine/the body, ageing etc.


I encourage you to use stories in official publications or to use online archives/facsimiles (so not just plain text or uncurated online versions) to access the works as this will help later down the line and is best academic practice. Collections/anthologies are some of the best ways to access a variety of texts easily but be careful to avoid C20th/C21st anthologies that are “retellings” as that goes beyond our scope.

a) Here are some links to a selection of online facsimiles of published anthologies from the long C19th (note many of the stories will have been published elsewhere too and often much earlier). I have avoided single-author collections to allow variety, but you can use those too:

An Apology for Tales of TerrorLink opens in a new window (1799)
Tales of Wonder
(1801)Link opens in a new window
Legends of Terror and Tales of WonderLink opens in a new window (1826)Link opens in a new window
Tales of Terror: Or, The Mysteries of Magic (1833)
Ghost Stories and Phantom Fancies, ed. J. Hain Firswell. (1858)
Tales of Terror and Wonder (1887 edn)  
Modern Ghosts (1890) [has translations of some key European horror stories]
The Adventures Of The Adventurers' Club by Anonymous (Gardner & Co., 1890)
Told After Supper: With 96 Or 97 Illus. by Jerome K. Jerome (Leadenhall Press, 1891)
The Weird Orient; Nine Mystic Tales by Henry Iliowizi (1900)

b) Here are some links to online facsimiles of published anthologies from C20th/C21st (note some require you to set up a log-in to “borrow” the books, but access is free of charge). I have avoided single-author collections to allow variety, but you can use those too:

Tales of Terror ed. Joseph French
Great Tales Of Terror And The Supernatural ed. Wise and Fraser  
The Oxford book of Victorian ghost stories ed. Cox and Gilbert
Victorian Ghost Stories by eminent Women Writers ed. Richard Dalby,
Victorian and Edwardian ghost stories ed. Richard Dalby
Terror by Gaslight: More Victorian Tales of Terror ed. Hugh Lamb
Dracula's Guest: A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Vampire stories ed. Michael Sims
Reign of Terror: Great Victorian Horror Stories, ed. Michel Parry

If you are looking to start your own tales of terror collection, you may have seen that the British Library has many other editions in a whole series of multi-author anthologies and single-author collections called Tales of the Weird should you wish to own some:

Here is my Gothic short fiction shelfie, for some inspiration (click hereLink opens in a new window for enlarged version):

c) Online and Print collections I have found in the library (there may well be more):

The Forgotten Gothic: Short Stories from the British Literary Annuals, 1823-1831 / introduction and edited by Katherine D. Harris. Print Book | 2012. [3 copies and 1 on short loan, awaiting shelfmark]

Tales of Terror [electronic resource] : with an introductory dialogue. E.Book / 1813

Le Fanu, Joseph Sheridan, 1814-1873. Madam Crowl's ghost: and other stories; collected and edited by M. R. James. Print Book | 1994. Available at Main Library (PR 4879.L7) plus 2 more

Nineteenth-Century Southern Gothic Short Fiction : Haunted by the Dark / edited by Charles L. Crow, Susan Castillo Street. E-Book | 2022.

The Oxford handbook of Charles Brockden Brown / edited by Philip Barnard, Hilary Emmett, and Stephen Shapiro. E-Book | 2019.

In the dark: tales of terror / by E. Nesbit ; selected and introduced by Hugh Lamb.
Print Book | 1988. Available at Main Library (PR4149.B4 I58)

Gothic tales / Arthur Conan Doyle ; edited with an introduction and notes by Darryl Jones. E-Book | 2016.

The Oxford book of gothic tales / edited by Chris Baldick.
Print Book | 1992. Available at Main Library (PN6120.95.G64 O95)

The tell-tale heart and other stories / by Edgar Allen Poe. E-Book | [2015]

Margery of Quether : and other weird tales / by S. Baring-Gould ; edited by Richard Dalby ; frontispiece by Paul Lowe ; with eight illustrations by Harry Furniss. Print Book | 1999. Available at Main Library (PR4061.M2)

Ghost stories of M.R. James. Print Book | 1974. | Second edition. Available at Main Library (PR6019.A5) plus 1 more

Tales of men and ghosts / Edith Wharton. Print Book | 1910. Available at External Store (PS 3162.T2) [you will need to request for collection]

The phantom 'rickshaw and other tales. by Rudyard Kipling. Print Book | [1889] Available at Store (PR 4854.P4) [you will need to request for collection]

Great British tales of terror: gothic stories of horror & romance, 1765-1840 / edited by Peter Haining.Print Book | 1972. [you will need to request for collection]

Great tales of terror from Europe and America / edited by Peter Haining. Print Book | 1972. [you will need to request for collection]