Traumatised by ghost stories in her youth, Pulitzer Prize winning author Edith Wharton (1862 -1937) channelled her fear and obsession into creating a series of spine-tingling tales filled with spirits beyond the grave and other supernatural phenomena. While claiming not to believe in ghosts, paradoxically she did confess that she was frightened of them. Wharton imbues this potent irrational and imaginative fear into her ghostly fiction to great effect. In this unique collection of finely wrought tales Wharton demonstrates her mastery of the ghost story genre. Amongst the many supernatural treats within these pages you will encounter a married farmer bewitched by a dead girl; a ghostly bell which saves a woman's reputation; the weird spectral eyes which terrorise the midnight hours of an elderly aesthete; the haunted man who receives letters from his dead wife; and the frightening power of a doppelganger which foreshadows a terrible tragedy. Compelling, rich and strange, the ghost stories of Edith Wharton, like vintage wine, have matured and grown more potent with the passing years.
"'No, I don't believe in ghosts, but I'm afraid of them,' is much more than the cheap paradox it seems to many. To 'believe,' in that sense, is a conscious act of the intellect, and it is in the warm darkness of the prenatal fluid far below our conscious reason that the faculty dwells with which we apprehend ghosts." Edith Wharton, known for her keen observations of an emotionally stifling upper-class social world, was so afraid of ghosts that for many years she couldn't even sleep in a room with a book containing a ghost story. As horror scholar Jack Sullivan writes, "It is this sharply felt sensation of supernatural dread filtered through a skeptical sensibility that made Wharton a master of the ghost story." This collection contains 11 of her elegant, chilling tales, including "Afterword," "The Triumph of Night," and "Pomegranate Seed," plus Wharton's 1937 preface and an autobiographical postscript.