Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Ghost Book, The

UK Anthology series. The first volume, The Ghost Book (anth 1926) ed Cynthia Asquith was intended as a one-off. It contained mostly literary Ghost Stories, either original or reprinted from select sources; authors included Algernon Blackwood, Clemence Dane, Walter de La Mare, L P Hartley, D H Lawrence, Arthur Machen, Oliver Onions, May Sinclair (1863-1946) and Hugh Walpole (1884-1941). The stories were not traditional, instead exploring the more psychological aspects of Possession. The volume was a critical success. Asquith did not return to TGB for over 25 years, then producing The Second Ghost Book (anth 1952; vt A Book of Modern Ghosts 1953 US), which further updated the ghost story and set a firm basis for later volumes. The Third Ghost Book (anth 1955), with its critically important introduction by L P Hartley, was Asquith's last. The series was revived by James Turner (1909-1975) for Fourth (anth 1965), then continued by Rosemary Timperley (1920-1988) for Fifth (anth 1969), Sixth (anth 1970; vt in 2 vols as The Blood Goes Round and Other Stories 1972 and The Judas Joke and Other Stories 1972), Seventh (anth 1971), Eighth (anth 1972) and Ninth (anth 1973). Further editors were: Aidan Chambers for Tenth (anth 1974) and Eleventh (anth 1975), these two vols being assembled as The Bumper Book of Ghost Stories (omni 1976); Polly Parkin (uncredited) for Twelfth (anth 1976); and James Hale with Thirteenth (anth 1977), assembled with Twelfth as The Second Bumper Book of Ghost Stories (omni 1978). Under Hale's editorship the series was retitled, starting with The Midnight Ghost Book (anth 1978; vt The Third Bumper Book of Ghost Stories 1979). It changed publisher from Barrie & Jenkins to Hutchinson (by now part of the same conglomerate) for The After Midnight Ghost Book (anth 1980; vt The Fourth Bumper Book of Ghost Stories 1981), technically the last of the series, although Hale's The Twilight Book (anth 1981), from Gollancz, can be considered a spiritual continuation. All are faithful to Asquith's original series, presenting literary ghost stories that explore psychological aspects in modern-day settings; most stories are original to the series. Regular contributors included Joan Aiken, George Mackay Brown, John F Burke (1922-    ), Elizabeth Fancett, Giles Gordon (1941-    ), Dorothy K Haynes (1918-1987), William Sansom (1912-1976), Rosemary Timperley and William Trevor (1928-    ). [MA]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.