The Haunted House

The Haunted House[Read] ➮ The Haunted House By Charles Dickens – Compiled by Charles Dickens and counting Elizabeth Gaskell and Wilkie Collins among its contributors this rediscovered work is an ingenious collaborative tale of the supernatural with indelible touche Compiled by Charles Dickens and counting Elizabeth Gaskell and Wilkie Collins among its contributors this rediscovered work is an ingenious collaborative tale of the supernatural with indelible touches of pure Dickensian comedy When the narrator spies a deserted house from his railway carriage he determines to take up residence But local legend has it that this is The Haunted PDF or a haunted house and no servant will dare enter employment Refusing to be thwarted he instead invites a number of acuaintances to join him commissioning each with the task of routing out any supernatural inhabitants As they gather together on twelfth night each recounts his version of the ghostly activities. Not so 'classic' Charles Dickens Sad to say this was my first experience with reading Dickens Might have been better to have read one of his famous tales as he has to this day uite the reputation of being a great writer of the Victorian EraThis novella compiled by him and edited by him includes stories from other authors as well as himself Some being short some being a bit longer some ghostly and others not ghostly at all But I still found this book very interesting and reading it gave me a chance to obtain a feel for the writing style of DickensI will definitely experience this author again I would recommend if you are just getting started with Charles Dickens that you do as I did not read one of his proliferus writings that made him one of the 'literary geniuses' of his era Charles Dickens is often credited with having “invented” Christmas as we know it This claim might be exaggerated as is argued here but one can hardly contest the fact that his “Christmas novels” are a major contribution not only to the literature of this feast but also to what might be termed its “social iconography” Works such as “A Christmas Carol” or “The Chimes” both fed and met the expectations of the periodical reading public whilst tapping into the tradition of telling ghost stories during long December nights “The Haunted House” dates from 1859 and was published in Dickens’s weekly periodical 'All the Year Round' It is a collective effort featuring contributions from several of Dickens’s friends and regular collaborators Dickens himself acts as master of ceremonies and provides the frame story about a group of acuaintances who spend Christmas at an allegedly haunted house with an agreement that they recount their experiences on Twelfth Night Given the title and premise one would be forgiven for expecting a supernatural work or even a prototype “Haunting of Hill House” Alas this is nothing of the sort Many of the contributors either interpret “haunting” in a metaphorical sense or else merely use the ghost as a “prop” for a totally different sort of tale Just to give an example Hesba Stretton writes a moralistic love story whilst George Augustus Sala’s narrator claims to have been visited by “the Ghost of the Ague” prompting a rather tiresome slapstick piece about a wretch with an uncontrollable tremorThis Hesperus Press edition includes a foreword by novelist and Dickens biographer Peter Ackroyd He is decidedly lukewarm in his praise for this work singling out only Dickens’s contributions for their uality Even about these he has some serious reservations which are frankly justified Indeed apart from the background narrative Dickens contributes a strange and rather uncomfortable story about a group of infants at a school who decide to set up a harem It is likely that Dickens meant to satirise a contemporary fad for “Orientalism” but to a modern reader his tale raises disturbing spectres of both paedophilia and although Ackroyd does not specifically mention this racism Ackroyd still considers the remaining chapters as inferior and here I beg to differ I must confess that except when I’m in the mood for him I tend to find Dickens’s prose heavy and his humour smug In The Haunted House for instance I much preferred his friend Wilkie Collins’s rollicking seafaring tale or despite its streak of melodrama Elizabeth Gaskell’s domestic tragedy about a son who disappoints his simple parents’ expectations And yes Adelaide Ann Procter’s “sacred legend in verse” featuring a nun visited by the Virgin Mary is over written at times but its Medieval setting and deliberate archaisms give it pleasant Pre Raphaelite and Gothic overtones not unlike Flaubert’s The Legend of Saint Julian the Hospitaller Still a few ghostly scares would not have been amissVisit It’s Not the House That’s HauntedI am sure that I will not spoil anything when I tell you right at the start that you must not expect a haunted house in this collection of short stories Rather each of the stories included in this collection tell you something about the fears worries and preoccupations of the minds of their respective narrators This could be the breeding ground for some truly spine chilling yarns but alas the title The Haunted House is misleading in that the house is not haunted at all I am telling you this beforehand lest you should approach this collection with wrong expectations as I most certainly did The Haunted House is a collaboration of Dickens’s with a handful of other writers and it appeared in the 1859 Christmas number of Dickens’s periodical All the Year Round Probably Dickens wanted to live up to the public’s expectation of his delivering his annual Christmas story without putting too much time into it His collaborators were well known writers to the Victorian reader although only two of them – Wilkie Collins and Elizabeth Gaskell – have stood the test of time And if you look at the two stories these two contributed you might get an idea why this is the case because these two contributions are the best tales in the whole collection Collins gives us the tale of a sailor who goes through two hours of mortal anguish when he is manacled and put into the hold of a ship containing explosives – with a burning candle and a slow match wick ready to light It is not a ghost story but a tale of terror redolent of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum Gaskell’s story is about a couple of honest to God farmers whose son is an ingrate and underhanded good for nothing How far will this villain go in his attempts at obtaining his parents’ modest fortune? Not only is there a very dramatic ending but Gaskell also manages to give us a vivid impression of her characters and the atmosphereDickens’s introduction is also amusing to read as he makes fun of people’s sensationalist gullibility when it comes to haunted houses but the tale he contributes is downright silly A similar experience in silliness and in an annoyingly contrived attempt at original prose can be seen in George Augustus Sala’s story The first story in the collection was written by Hesba Stretton and it has a certain touch of Brontëan sentimentality and pathos which made it the most unpalatable story of the bunch for me Last not least there is a long narrative poem by Adelaide Anne Procter which is superior to Sala and Stretton’s efforts though still not as convincing as the tales given by Collins and GaskellAll in all I did not particularly enjoy this short story collection but nevertheless I would recommend the two outstanding tales by Gaskell and Collins DNFing about a third of the way through I really like the idea of this book but it has way too many characters for what it's trying to do If you had the main guy that we met in the first chapter and just documented his interactions with the ghosts in each of the rooms it would be a better and clearer story Instead we have a different character staying in every room and then those characters start telling the ghost's stories and it's hard to catch who is actually talking since we don't actually know any of the characters in the first place Published in 1862 in the periodical 'All the Year Round' 'The Haunted House' is a portmanteau of seven 'ghost' stories including a narrative poem by different authors that Dickens invited to contribute to an annual Christmas collection These authors included Elizabeth Gaskell and Wilkie Collins both personal friends of Dickens However if the reader is expecting full blown supernatural Gothic effects heshe may be disappointed However it is a collection that repays reading to appreciate its subtlety Each narrator is assigned a haunted room in the abandoned house where the story telling takes place Undoubtedly the story that stands out in this collection 'The Ghost in the Cupboard Room' manages to evoke a real sense of psychological terror that is worthy of Edgar Allen Poe is by Wilkie Collins The narrator a mariner called Jack Beaver cannot take a candle upstairs to his haunted room As the reader discovers in his account of how he is taken prisoner on his ship travelling to Bolivia the sight of a candle burning down its wick will mean a gruesome death from which it is seemingly impossible to escape Not everything by Charles Dickens is worthy of being called a masterpiece The Haunted House is a selection of short stories on the theme of a haunted house Dickens dashed off the joining story and two smaller contributions and edited the other stories The contributors included Wilkie Collins who wrote the only good story in the collection and Elizabeth Gaskell along with three other writers whose names were not familiar to meAt first I thought the stories would all be about ghosts in the particular haunted house which Dickens's hero and his friends were staying but it seems that most of the stories were about incidents in the others' pasts that haunted them I had about given up hope of finding a complete copy of THE HAUNTED HOUSE It was included in two Dickens collections that I own However when I started the book in each one I found that only the portions written by Dickens had been included The book is a collection of stories contributed by six writers on one theme My library had an eBook copy and it too only had the Dickens portions Finally I ordered the Modern Library paperback edition published in 2004 It had the complete text According to the Introduction by Wesley Stace one of Dickens’ literary journals was called “All the Year Round” He came up with the idea for THE HAUNTED HOUSE as a holiday edition for Christmas The British have a long standing tradition of ghost stories during this holiday time In fact I have some DVD copies of shows produced by the BBC over a number of Christmas years The emphasis here was not to be on scares but on a theme A man and his sister lease a dilapidated house that is believed to be haunted Servants take their leave after a short time giving the occupants an idea They will invite their friends to stay for the Christmas holiday in a “roughing it” atmosphere of managing the household duties on their own Then on Twelfth Night they will have a special party at which they will detail any ghostly experiences that they encountered in their rooms In the first chapter Dickens sets the stage Not to expect any supernatural visitations Screams and moans in the house are tracked to their source and are either repaired or made uiet such as a rusted weathercock on the rooftop One young townsperson in particular taking pleasure in giving people a fright is discovered and warned away from the property So there is no need to look here for something akin to “The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow” But what will they find? The short book reminded me of one of those Writers’ Seminar assignments when attendees were given the start of a story and were then sent away to finish it their final result being shared with the group Dickens had a definite idea of what he wanted for the form of the stories but he was the only one to actually follow that form in his offering “The Ghost In Master B’s Room” Everyone else went in a different direction Adelaide Anne Procter took the most extreme approach for “The Ghost In The Picture Room” by producing a long poem Each was given one of the house’s rooms as the setting and the occupants of that room as the central character Modern Readers those who find a complete edition tend to be confounded by what they discover in THE HAUNTED HOUSE None of the stories is particularly scary The “Master B” story by Dickens comes the closest to that Yet I did enjoy most of what I read “The Ghost In The Double Room” by George Augustus Sala was the wildest ride with the most humor Wilke Collins uses “The Ghost In The Cupboard Room” to tell an adventure tale reminiscent of Poe’s THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM Hesba Stretton unfolds a proper love story in “The Ghost In The Clock Room” And Elizabeth Gaskell relates a story that would be worthy of one told by Dickens in “The Ghost In The Garden Room” Dickens is there at the beginning and the end too providing a framework in which the stories can reside His hope for a thematic “Lesson Learned” is discarded though and the book ends abruptly As a sampling of creative British writers of the time 1859 THE HAUNTED HOUSE is an enjoyable “place” to visit If you are looking for ghostly tales to be told around the campfire with some eerie voice chanting “Whose got my golden arm?” you’d best keep looking That level of creepiness will not be found here at all This book was my first attempt at reading a full length Dickens novel Unfortunately I didn't realize until I'd got home from the library that it was a collection of short stories a collective round robin of Victorian literary minds This didn't detract me though and I'm very glad Though Dickens only contributed a few short chapters to the novel he orchestrated the whole scheme and his humor and affinity for the supernatural was present throughout the work This was a very enjoyable read very amusing at times especially the story of the Ague ghost Boy howdy was this boring So much moralizing and none of it particularly fit together or was the slightest bit spooky No thanks An interesting concept for an anthology of short stories very uniue The introduction and setting of the Haunted House was creepy and funny and created a vivid atmosphere for the stories so that though they were extremely varied they always hand an air of mystery as well as a bridge between their widely differing genres and styles The ending of the book fell a bit flat for me though since the ghostly activity from the beginning of the book was never sufficiently resolved and just seemed to vanish in the end without reason; instead two couples got married and the author talked about the Bible Maybe this made sense as a convention of literature at the time it was written maybe to make it a happy ending or something but at present it threw an anticlimax at the end of a book that was really good and engaging in all other aspects Aside from that this book was highly entertaining and extremely memorable The stories themselves are haunting and will stick with me for sometime to come This is most definitely a book worth reading

The Haunted House eBook ☆ The Haunted  PDF or
  • Paperback
  • 130 pages
  • The Haunted House
  • Charles Dickens
  • English
  • 14 April 2016
  • 9781843910213