Tag Archives: Edith Wharton

House of the Dead Hand

The House of the Dead Hand by Edith Wharton  (1902)

Tales of Terror  August 9, 2016

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We all know the novel The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde as the most famous story about a painting that has supernatural powers. In Edith Wharton’s The House of the Dead Hand, we have a Leonardo masterpiece owned by a possessive doctor named Lombard and his daughter Sybilla who live in Sienna Italy. A young man Mr. Wyant comes to their home to view the painting. Of course, there’s much more than just observing a work of art going on here. The painting is a mesmerizing beauty, but we all know that beauty without spirituality is an empty vessel.

This story sneaks up on you, is psychological and supernatural, and has a twisty ending. Edith Wharton was known as a skillful social commentator especially in her fiction. In this short story, we find a mystery of a young woman trapped by her father, a forbidden romance, and the atmosphere full of dark descriptions and subtle spirituality.

The House of the Dead Hand

The name comes from an antique hand of marble which for many hundred years has been above the door … The hand was a woman’s — a dead drooping hand, which hung there convulsed and helpless, as though it had been thrust forth in denunciation of some evil mystery within the house, and had sunk struggling into death.

The mystery here is written in classic Wharton style. Her stories are realistic of her times and culture. This story is a bleak message about a father-daughter relationship and typical male dominance of the early 1900s. While Edith Wharton was known as the dark prophetess, she was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize—in 1921 for Age of Innocence.

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Read the short story at EastOfTheWeb.com.

 

 

 

 

 

THE MOUNT, LENOX, MASSACHUSETTS

Recently I toured Edith Wharton’s home in Lenox, Massachusetts. At The Mount, there are reported ghosts who float the passages, linger in the bathroom, and occupy chairs. The house is magnificent but I didn’t sense any ghosts as I toured the rooms, no footsteps or chills, no desperate whispers at my back. Because the reality of ghosts fails logic and reason, some of us believe in them because we sense them emotionally. The house has a quiet imperious air and reflects the stately Wharton as I imagine her.  Here are a few images of my moments with Edith Wharton on a Friday afternoon in Lenox.

 

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My view as I sipped iced tea on Edith’s stone and marble veranda.

Lush green everywhere.

 

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No ghosts lurking but the shadows at the window had shapely images of distorted heads looking in from the green boughs at the glass.

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Edith’s window lounge. Can’t you just see her reclined with a book in her hand? An unidentified flower-scent hovered in the air.

Read more about the ghosts at The Mount.

My favorite image for The Age of Innocence by Victor Gabriel Gilbert,

“An Elegant Sioree”

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The Mount, Lenox, Massachusetts (1900s)

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free short stories and ghost tales. This is a compendium of over 170 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery,  supernatural, and ghost stories. Join me in reading one short story every other week! Comments are welcome.

  

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine

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 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

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Filed under fiction, ghost stories, mysteries, psychological horror, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural, suspense

Cryptal Twilight, Wharton Style

The Fullness of Life   by Edith Wharton (1890s)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  December 1, 2015

 

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“The soul sits alone and waits for a footstep that never comes.”

For this short fiction, take a step back. Let the words flow and yourself move with the story into the mystical beyond. Who among us takes death lightly? In Wharton’s account in The Fullness of Life we have a story of an unfulfilled marriage. When the wife dies, and she dies fully conscious (an amazing description!), she travels to the ‘other side’ of our worldly existence and meets the Spirit of Life.

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Here she expects to find her highest fulfillments.  To join her soul mate, perhaps? Wharton raises the question, do soul mates exist here in our physical world or elsewhere? And much more in this rich story of love, death, and the beyond. The prose is beautifully written, slightly ornate, and very much in the Wharton style of intelligent and mysterious elements. Death and literature make a stunning combination. Edith Wharton died at the age of 75 in France. She won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and wrote over 40 books in 40 years.

 

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Read The Fullness of Life at EastOfTheWeb.com.

Listen to the audio (30 minutes) at AudioLiteratureOdyssey.

 

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Ethan Frome is probably Wharton’s most famous novel.  Ethan and Zeena in a bleak domestic struggle set against a wicked New England winter. Love, romance, betrayal. Starring Liam Neeson and Joan Allen. A masterpiece!

You can watch the film FREE at  WatchFree.to.

 

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Books & Such

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com        Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian     HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

 Rob Around Books     Sillyverse    The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic authors.

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The Feet of the Dead

Bewitched  by Edith Wharton (1926)

 Tuesday’s Tale of Terror, February 3, 2015   Classic Tales from Women In Horror

 

It’s February, Women in Horror Month. This is the time to recognize your favorite women horror writers, buy their books, read their stories, comment, and give your support. As a horror reader and author myself, especially ghost stories, I so enjoy sharing my favorite women authors in our history with you this month.

 

6165890_1071303709Today we are recognizing Edith Wharton. She wrote 38 novels, some 50 short stories, and wrote her first novel at age 11. Did you know that Wharton could not sleep in a room with a book containing a ghost story? She was that haunted. I think we can say that a good deal of her ghost stories evolved from a true and immediate sense of the supernatural. She is one of our most prestigious Women of Horror.

 

Bewitched is a story that has everything for a winter’s bleak reading experience. We are on the dark side of New England. A stinging wind with snow is falling thickly upon the old and isolated Rutledge house in Starkfield, an abandoned stretch of land between North Ashmore and Cold Corners.

Prudence Rutledge is dressed in black calico and a grey woolen shawl. She tells her three visitors at the door …

“There’s a spell been cast over Mr. Rutledge.”

The Deacon looked up sharply, an incredulous smile pinching his thin lips. “A spell?”

“That’s what I said: he’s bewitched.”

Mrs. Rutledge is accusing her husband Saul of adultery with the dead woman Ora Brand.

This is more than just any old haunting. We’ve got adultery and necrophilia and insanity going on. And more.

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This Pulitzer-prize winning (The Age of Innocence) author is known for her patterns of imagery and psychological insights. What is so amazing about Wharton’s writing is that you can read her stories again and again and still find them deliciously haunting. You can read more about her ghostly history at The Mount, her home in Lennox, Massachusetts, where ghosts are said to still haunt her property: http://www.edithwharton.org/programs-and-events/ghosts/

 

 

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Read Bewitched at Ebook.Adelaide.edu

 

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I couldn’t find an audio version of Bewitched but did find Tales of Men and Ghosts, which includes several of Wharton’s ghost stories. I can personally recommend “The Eyes” and “Afterward.”

Listen to the audio version of Bewitched at Librivox.org

 

 

 

 

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For more about Women in Horror Month, visit their web site

http://www.womeninhorrormonth.com/

 

 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WomenInHorrorMonth

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Stop by the Horror Society this month to see their tribute to Women In Horror

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com       Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

 Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic authors.

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The Hurrying Blackness

A Journey   by Edith Wharton (1890)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   June 3, 2014

 

images-2This odd little story has a ghostly presence and Edith Wharton’s well-sustained tones and imagery conjure a deep oppressive mood.

A woman is traveling with her husband on a long-distance train to New York. She is on her way back home to her family. Her husband is seriously ill.

The opening lines at the start of her journey, “As she lay in her berth, staring at the shadows overhead, the rush of the wheels was in her brain …” are the polar opposite of what happens at the end of her journey.

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We are inside this woman’s “circles of wakeful lucidity” but there’s much more going on. I like what is not being said as much as what is communicated.

 

As the days pass, this lovely and devoted wife tries to attend to her husband’s needs, protect him, and  keep everyone else on the train away from him for his privacy. Her anxiety, loneliness, and frightening helplessness prevail as the train zooms across the countryside.

 

 

On this journey, death is also a passenger.

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When her journey is over and she thinks her worst terror has past, there is one more drama to come. I read the ending again and ever so slowly. That last image inside the darkened Harlem tunnel is the true haunting in this story

 

Edith Wharton is most famous for her skills of subtle irony and drama. We know her best works to be The Age of Innocence and House of Mirth, and of course her ghost stories.

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Read A Journey at ReadBookOnline.net.

No audio available for A Journey but Librivox does have a number of her short reads on their Tales of Men edition. It includes The Eyes and Afterward and others you might like. Listen to the audio of Edith Wharton’s short stories here at Librivox.

 

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica.com

Horror Novel Reviews   Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

 Lovecraft Ezine      Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

     The Gothic Wanderer   Sirens Call Publications  The Fussy Librarian

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic Authors

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Filed under fiction, Hauntings, literary horror, psychological horror, short stories, tales of terror