Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Ghost Stories

BBC 4 gave us a short history of the ghost story last night. They started with The descent of Inanna and wound up with Robert Aickman- and all in half an hour- whee!

But they got it right. At least I thought they did. They paused on Sheridan le Fanu and M.R. James and Aickman- and that's as it should be. These are the masters. And they didn't bother with the Turn of the Screw (which I consider over-rated.) I'd have liked a nod in the direction of Margaret Oliphant, but you can't have everything and there were an awful lot of Victorian and early 20th century writers who knocked out a ghost story or two.

Ooh, and Jackie, you'd have liked this- they fished out a clip of Algernon Blackwood talking to camera in 1951- and he was everything you could have wished- long-nosed and gaunt with an avuncular twinkle in his eye.

I'm crazy for ghost stories. Here's my personal top ten.

An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street- Sheridan le Fanu
The Signalman- Charles Dickens
The Library Window- Margaret Oliphant
Thrawn Janet- Robert Louis Stevenson
Mr Humphreys and his Inheritance- M.R. James
The Room in the Tower- E.F. Benson
The Dog Hervey- Rudyard Kipling
The Wendigo- Algernon Blackwood
Seaton's Aunt- Walter de la Mare
The Houses of the Russians- Robert Aickman
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