Tag Archives: gothic

Do You Believe in the Mysterious?

‘It’s night.

It has been night for a long time. Hours pass— yet it’s the same hour. I can’t sleep.

My mind is fractured like broken glass. Or a broken mirror, shards reflecting shards. I am incapable of thinking but only of receiving, like a fine-meshed net strung tight, mere glimmerings of thought. Teasing fragments of “memory”—or is it “invented memory”?—rise and turn and fall and sift and scatter and rearrange themselves into arabesques of patterns on the verge of becoming coherent, yet do not become coherent.’

Want to read more? This is from Joyce Carol Oates’ blog Celestial Timepiece.



This is her latest collection of short stories. Twenty-five Gothic horror tales.





“We work in the dark—we do what we can—we give what we have.

Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.”  

Henry James.  This quote hangs above Oates’ writing desk.


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Filed under dark fantasy, Dreams, fiction, ghost stories, ghost story blogs, horror blogs, literary horror, literature, occult, psychological horror, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, tales of terror

Southern Gothic: Macabre and Grotesque

A Rose for Emily   by William Faulkner (1930)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   January 20, 2015

Most know Flannery O’Conner to be the queen of southern Gothic literature. William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily has all the ingredients of the traditional macabre and then some.



When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral.”

Spinster Emily Grierson lives in a decaying old house in the town of Jefferson, Mississippi during Civil War time. She used to paint china cups and taught young women to paint china cups. Then, tragedy strikes.  As she grows old and sick, the townsfolk would see her sitting at her downstairs window “like a carven torso of an idol in a niche, looking or not looking out …”


Artist George Frederic Watts


Faulkner writes a moody tale, forbidding, with palls of dust and shadows slathering his prose. Death is the central character in this story where the past and present coexist. Most of the story is told in flashbacks as we go forward and backward in time in Emily’s life. And it’s all done in Faulkner’s seamless and provocative narrative. I especially like how his descriptions mirror the psychological complexity of Emily. She is the relic of a once grand family.

180px-Rose_for_emily_2The title A Rose for Emily is allegorical. There is no rose in the story, only presence of the color: ‘the valance of curtain of faded rose color, upon the rose shaded lights’ in the bridal chamber. (See Faulkner note.)

Some readers find Faulkner’s novels too stream of consciousness, his syntax heavy, making his writing thorny to follow. If you’re not a fan of Faulkner or have not experienced his writing style (and I’d wager that most horror and supernatural readers are not big fans), this is a story that is easy to follow and will invite you into Faulkner’s world. His writing conjures up vivid images and emotionally delicate but grotesque elements.


Faulkner once advised his readers to reread his novels to get it. You won’t have to reread Emily. Once is enough for this short story. And if you do read it, I’d love to hear your reaction to this Gothic short story by an American literary giant. search

Read the text here at Eng.fju.edu.tw/EnglishLiterature

Listen to the audio (done in a Southern accent) here at YouTube.

Might I suggest you listen to the audio as you read along for heightened southern flavors.



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.


Filed under fiction, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, short stories

Virginia Woolf’s Ghostly Couple

A Haunted House by Virginia Woolf  (1944)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  July 16, 2013


Virginia Woolf? A tale of terror? Really? I agree this author is not known for her supernatural horror, but this story does possess a haunting and beautiful darkness. I can hear many of you saying, Oh no, Virginia Woolf with her high modernistic style and all that stream of consciousness prose is too dense. I’m not a fan of Woolf either, but A Haunted House (very short at 700 words) will likely surprise you at how entertaining this little tale is for a 7-minute read.

Here’s the key. Do not approach reading this story for plot or action. Woolf’s narrative style requires a close reading, slow and careful, to get the impact of her stunning language, the imagery, and the ghostliness. Create a blank page in your reading mind and expect nothing.

We are in an old English house with a garden, apple trees spinning darkness, wood pigeons bubbling their coos from wells of silence. We meet a ghostly couple in the first paragraph. They are searching for a buried treasure in the house. The live occupants of the house are fully aware of the ghosts from knockings, shutting of doors, wandering footsteps and … from “the pulse of the house.”

Try not to slide over a single line as they all carry a beauty and symbol of their own.

“Death was the glass; death was between us …”  What possible buried treasure could these two ghosts desire to find for themselves now?

Woolf will keep you suspended until the very last line and, once you absorb it, I dare you not to murmur a small gasp.

Read this flash fiction at University of Adelaide:



Listen to the narration by David Federmen, Librivox, Ghost Story Collection on YouTube:


If you liked the literary darkness of A Haunted House by Woolf, do leave me a message. This type of story is quite a diversion from the typical tales of terror on this blog. Did you find it refreshing? boring? too literary? stimulating?




Virginia Woolf, born  January 25, 1882 –  died March 28, 1941.

“I want to write a novel about Silence,” he said; “the things people don’t say.”  The Voyage Out.

“She seemed a compound of the autumn leaves and the winter sunshine …”  Night and Day

“The wave paused, and then drew out again, sighing like a sleeper whose breath comes and goes unconsciously.”  The Waves


“And somehow or other, the windows being open, and the book held so that it rested upon a background of escallonia hedges and distant blue, instead of being a book it seemed as if what I read was laid upon the landscape not printed, bound, or sewn up, but somehow the product of trees and fields and the hot summer sky, like the air which swam, on fine mornings, round the outline of things.”  The Essays, Vol 3: 1919-1924.

Virginia Woolf’s advice on life, women, writing, and the world:


Also, click this link to visit March 28, 2017 here at Reading Fiction Blog to view Virginia Woolf’s Suicide Letter post.

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, supernatural, ghost stories,  suspense, crime, sci-fi, and ‘quiet horror.’ Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month. Comments are welcome.

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog


Filed under fiction, ghost stories, Ghosts, Hauntings, horror, literature, quiet horror, short stories, soft horror, supernatural, suspense, tales of terror