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Weird Women: Classic Supernatural Fiction by Groundbreaking Female Writers, 1852-1923

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While the nineteen-year-old Mary Shelley may be hailed as the first modern writer of horror, the success of her immortal Frankenstein undoubtedly inspired dozens of female authors who wrote their own evocative, chilling tales. Weird Women, edited by award-winning anthologists Lisa Morton and Leslie S. Klinger, collects some of the finest tales of terror by authors as legen While the nineteen-year-old Mary Shelley may be hailed as the first modern writer of horror, the success of her immortal Frankenstein undoubtedly inspired dozens of female authors who wrote their own evocative, chilling tales. Weird Women, edited by award-winning anthologists Lisa Morton and Leslie S. Klinger, collects some of the finest tales of terror by authors as legendary as Louisa May Alcott, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and Charlotte Gilman-Perkins, alongside works of writers who were the bestsellers and critical favorites of their time—Marie Corelli, Ellen Glasgow, Charlotte Riddell—and lesser known authors who are deserving of contemporary recognition. As railroads, industry, cities, and technology flourished in the mid-nineteenth century, so did stories exploring the horrors they unleashed. This anthology includes ghost stories and tales of haunted houses, as well as mad scientists, werewolves, ancient curses, mummies, psychological terrors, demonic dimensions, and even weird westerns. Curated by Klinger and Morton with an aim to presenting work that has languished in the shadows, all of these exceptional supernatural stories are sure to surprise, delight, and frighten today’s readers.


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While the nineteen-year-old Mary Shelley may be hailed as the first modern writer of horror, the success of her immortal Frankenstein undoubtedly inspired dozens of female authors who wrote their own evocative, chilling tales. Weird Women, edited by award-winning anthologists Lisa Morton and Leslie S. Klinger, collects some of the finest tales of terror by authors as legen While the nineteen-year-old Mary Shelley may be hailed as the first modern writer of horror, the success of her immortal Frankenstein undoubtedly inspired dozens of female authors who wrote their own evocative, chilling tales. Weird Women, edited by award-winning anthologists Lisa Morton and Leslie S. Klinger, collects some of the finest tales of terror by authors as legendary as Louisa May Alcott, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and Charlotte Gilman-Perkins, alongside works of writers who were the bestsellers and critical favorites of their time—Marie Corelli, Ellen Glasgow, Charlotte Riddell—and lesser known authors who are deserving of contemporary recognition. As railroads, industry, cities, and technology flourished in the mid-nineteenth century, so did stories exploring the horrors they unleashed. This anthology includes ghost stories and tales of haunted houses, as well as mad scientists, werewolves, ancient curses, mummies, psychological terrors, demonic dimensions, and even weird westerns. Curated by Klinger and Morton with an aim to presenting work that has languished in the shadows, all of these exceptional supernatural stories are sure to surprise, delight, and frighten today’s readers.

30 review for Weird Women: Classic Supernatural Fiction by Groundbreaking Female Writers, 1852-1923

  1. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    As with all collections of short stories there are highs and lows and this group is the same. It is worth a look though, because there are at least 4 or 5 great yarns here. I would recommend the ones by Elizabeth Gaskell, Francis Hodgson Burnett, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman and Charlotte Riddell. The two I liked best were by authors completely unknown to me: "The Were-wolf" by Clemence Housman and "The Dream Baby" by Olivia Howard Dunbar. Both are spectacular in their own unique way. The ones by more As with all collections of short stories there are highs and lows and this group is the same. It is worth a look though, because there are at least 4 or 5 great yarns here. I would recommend the ones by Elizabeth Gaskell, Francis Hodgson Burnett, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman and Charlotte Riddell. The two I liked best were by authors completely unknown to me: "The Were-wolf" by Clemence Housman and "The Dream Baby" by Olivia Howard Dunbar. Both are spectacular in their own unique way. The ones by more well known authors tended to be the most hackneyed, such as the one by Louisa May Alcott. I feel like Mr. Bauer would tell his Jo to please be less sensational dear.

  2. 5 out of 5

    KWinks

    Ever since I read Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction last year, I've been obsessed with reading a lot of these authors whose work I had never really stumbled upon. I am now a huge Gaskell fan (Lois the Witch is crazy good). This anthology hit the mark for including many of those authors, and some new ones too. It's so hard to review an anthology. There is always going to be a story or two that I loved and a story or two that didn't work for me, but I think Ever since I read Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction last year, I've been obsessed with reading a lot of these authors whose work I had never really stumbled upon. I am now a huge Gaskell fan (Lois the Witch is crazy good). This anthology hit the mark for including many of those authors, and some new ones too. It's so hard to review an anthology. There is always going to be a story or two that I loved and a story or two that didn't work for me, but I think Weird Women kills it with finding works that are hidden gems and are really, really good reads. New favorites: The Were-Wolf, In the Closed Room, Lost in a Pyramid, What Was the Matter?, An Itinerant House (actually had a dream about this story the night I read it. A moving haunted house? Unlike anything I've EVER read before!!!), The Giant Wistaria, The Lady With the Carnations, The Wind in the Rose-Bush, and The Third Drug. Seriously, that's a lot of new favorites- all in one collection. I hope they are working on a second collection!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alex (The Bookubus)

    This is an excellent collection of stories! I thought all of them were well worth reading and there were only a couple that I thought were good rather than great (but they were still good!) There is a wonderful variety of ghost stories, ancient curses, psychological horrors, and so much more. I rated each story individually and most of them were 4 stars for me. There were two stories in particular that stood out to me as my favourites: The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman A mysterious woman arrives a This is an excellent collection of stories! I thought all of them were well worth reading and there were only a couple that I thought were good rather than great (but they were still good!) There is a wonderful variety of ghost stories, ancient curses, psychological horrors, and so much more. I rated each story individually and most of them were 4 stars for me. There were two stories in particular that stood out to me as my favourites: The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman A mysterious woman arrives at a small farming community. There are two twin brothers, one of whom starts falling in love with her while the other knows she is not what she seems. This was beautifully written with a real timeless quality to the story. It also got quite violent which I wasn't expecting! Transmigration by Dora Sigerson Shorter A bed-bound man swaps bodies with someone else and is able to commit some horrendous acts as this other person. I loved how gleefully demented this story was! It's a well written and compelling story with a really dark edge that I thoroughly enjoyed. I definitely want to read more by the authors of these two stories along with many of the other authors here. I'm thankful that these stories are not being forgotten and that this collection has introduced me to some wonderful authors.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    Just not at all the quality I expected. Basic ghost stories with less imagination by far than any moderns of 4 or 5 types I’ve read. Stilted and then hyperbole swooning/ effusive over description was nearly a pall on all of these. A few of these were 1 star. And they eliminated 50? Meh!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    I first learned about this book from Mike Mignola's Facebook page. I liked it. My favorite stories were... 1.)Lost in the Pyramid, or The Mummy's Curse by Louisa May Alcott (Author of Little Women) 2.)The Lady with the White Carnations by Marie Corelli 3.)The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman 4.)The Third Drug by E. Bland (Edith Nesbit) I first learned about this book from Mike Mignola's Facebook page. I liked it. My favorite stories were... 1.)Lost in the Pyramid, or The Mummy's Curse by Louisa May Alcott (Author of Little Women) 2.)The Lady with the White Carnations by Marie Corelli 3.)The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman 4.)The Third Drug by E. Bland (Edith Nesbit)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Danielle Trussoni

    In the introduction to Weird Women, the editors Lisa Morton and Leslie S. Klinger write that horror often seems to be a “genre bereft of female writers.” Here they set out to correct that misperception, highlighting stories by women writers whose work has fallen into obscurity. One of my favorite stories in this excellent collection is by the British novelist Marie Corelli (1855-1924). A popular author in her day, she regularly outsold her contemporaries Rudyard Kipling and Arthur Conan Doyle, ye In the introduction to Weird Women, the editors Lisa Morton and Leslie S. Klinger write that horror often seems to be a “genre bereft of female writers.” Here they set out to correct that misperception, highlighting stories by women writers whose work has fallen into obscurity. One of my favorite stories in this excellent collection is by the British novelist Marie Corelli (1855-1924). A popular author in her day, she regularly outsold her contemporaries Rudyard Kipling and Arthur Conan Doyle, yet her work has all but disappeared from print. Her story, “The Lady With the Carnations,” is a compact masterpiece in which a woman is drawn to a portrait in the Louvre and begins to encounter the subject of the painting — a lady with carnations — first at the opera and again in Brittany. She concludes that the woman is an illusion, but whether she is real or a figment of her mind doesn’t matter: The narrator carries the scent of carnations with her like a curse.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bea Wooding

    Some deliciously spooky, eerie, and odd stories in here. Well worth a read. Some favourites: Moonstone (lovecraftian) Itinerant house Far off world Werewolf (Grimmlike) Closed room (king ish) Swine-gods (a bit biblical) Some footnotes from the editors could have been removed for better immersion

  8. 4 out of 5

    EuroHackie

    If you're looking for spooky stories, look elsewhere. This is exactly what it says on the tin: a collection of stories featuring some sort of supernatural element (or an element that was considered supernatural back in the day but isn't now, like mental illness). Of the 21 stories, I DNFed 3 and really enjoyed 3, while the other 15 fell somewhere in between. The stories I really liked where: [+] "Lost in a Pyramid or, The Mummy's Curse" (1869) by Louisa May Alcott: Paul and Evelyn are cousins on If you're looking for spooky stories, look elsewhere. This is exactly what it says on the tin: a collection of stories featuring some sort of supernatural element (or an element that was considered supernatural back in the day but isn't now, like mental illness). Of the 21 stories, I DNFed 3 and really enjoyed 3, while the other 15 fell somewhere in between. The stories I really liked where: [+] "Lost in a Pyramid or, The Mummy's Curse" (1869) by Louisa May Alcott: Paul and Evelyn are cousins on the brink of marriage. Paul tells Evelyn the story of one of his trips to Egypt, where he brought back a small golden box with mysterious seeds as a souvenir. Turns out he stole the box from the mummy of a sorceress who "bequeathed her curse to whoever should disturb her rest." Evelyn is a bit of a ninny, so of course she plants the seeds to find out what they are. It blooms very quickly into a beautiful but scentless flower, which turns out to be poisonous to anyone who touches it - so poor Evelyn dies the day after her wedding (as does Paul's professor friend who was studying the plant). Per the story notes, this was the first published story that made use of the mummy. [+] "Nut Bush Farm" (1882) by Charlotte Riddell: This is probably the longest story in the book, so it definitely has the best chance for full character development. Jack is down in Kent, looking to let a farm in order to bring his family into the country to restore their health. He finds a hauntingly beautiful place, Nut Bush Farm, though the owner is a bit of a nutcase. After he lets the property he starts hearing rumors that it's haunted, perhaps by the previous tenant. Jack dismisses these stories until he runs into the ghostly apparition himself, and then he's determined to learn the fate of the previous tenant, even moreso when the owner rebuffs his questions. This story had a rambling start but it turned into a great edge-of-your-seat sort of thriller. [+] "The Were-Wolf" (1896) by Chemence Housman: Told in the style of a Scandinavian myth, this is the story of the deadly werewolf that disguises itself as a beautiful woman and bestows a kiss of death upon its victims before they vanish. The story centers around twins, Sweyn and Christian; one believes the creature is a werewolf, while the other thinks his brother is mad and jealous because the beautiful woman is paying attention to him, instead. This one has a violent, but rather fitting, ending. If not for the religious imagery plastered on the ending, it would've been absolutely perfect. Honorable mentions go to: [+] "What was the Matter?" (1869) by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, about a servant girl who gets headaches that lead to clairvoyant visions [+] "An Itinerant House" (1878) by Emma Francis Dawson, which is something right out of The Dead Files [+] "The Gray Man" (1886), where Death takes on a living presence [+] "The Lady with the Carnations" (1896) by Marie Corelli, in which the spirit of a painting comes to the narrator, begging for prayers so that she can be released from the ties holding her to earth [+] "Transmigration" (1900) by Dora Sigerson Shorter, about the consequences of exchanging souls [+] "In the Closed Room" (1904) by Frances Hodgson Burnett, about a little girl who is a physical medium [+] "The Third Drug" (1908) by Edit Nesbit, in which a man is injected with 3 mysterious drugs by a physician who's looking for the elixir that can create immortal superhumans, and who barely lives to tell the tale

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tyson Mueller

    I was disappointed that most of the stories were basic ghost stories. I was expecting a lot more weird horror.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Emma ( Mrsbreads )

    This was a great collection of gothic ghost stories

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    You're never going to get a perfect anthology, but there's so many excellent stories in this one and enough powerfully creepy moments to massively outweigh any of the weaker offerings that it's hard not to recommend it. You're never going to get a perfect anthology, but there's so many excellent stories in this one and enough powerfully creepy moments to massively outweigh any of the weaker offerings that it's hard not to recommend it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Idk, when I started this I was totally loving it but by the end it was dragging where it shouldn't have. I think better stories could have been chosen but what can you do. It wasn't an overall terrible anthology but I wasn't as impressed as I initially was. Idk, when I started this I was totally loving it but by the end it was dragging where it shouldn't have. I think better stories could have been chosen but what can you do. It wasn't an overall terrible anthology but I wasn't as impressed as I initially was.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    It's good to know that it wasn't just dudes writing weird fiction back around the turn of the century. If you looked at the mainstream, you would think it was just Lovecraft, Poe, Clark, Howard and the rest. But Louisa May Alcott loved writing about ghosts more than she liked writing about small ladies. There was one female author who Lovecraft counted among his favorites. (Of course, he probably didn't know she was a woman.) One thing to note is that, oftentimes, the forces in these stories aren It's good to know that it wasn't just dudes writing weird fiction back around the turn of the century. If you looked at the mainstream, you would think it was just Lovecraft, Poe, Clark, Howard and the rest. But Louisa May Alcott loved writing about ghosts more than she liked writing about small ladies. There was one female author who Lovecraft counted among his favorites. (Of course, he probably didn't know she was a woman.) One thing to note is that, oftentimes, the forces in these stories aren't evil. They're warning people that something wicked this way comes or they're trying to finish something that they weren't able to in life. Try getting Lovecraft to write a story like that. Not all of the stories are jewels, but they're all interesting. I would definitely be into reading a second volume if they ever put one together.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    A nice compilation of rarely discussed authors that were ahead of their time. I enjoyed about 75% of these short stories (a high number, for me) and appreciated the biographies of each author as well. I do wish the bios had been a bit longer, but overall a great collection of spooky stories from classic female writers.

  15. 4 out of 5

    W. Jordan

    This was a magnificent collection of classic stories. Though it might not appeal to modern sensibilities as much, it is certainly worth a read for those who want a more foundational understand of the genre and the women who contributed to it. Read my full review here. https://www.ihorror.com/book-review-w... This was a magnificent collection of classic stories. Though it might not appeal to modern sensibilities as much, it is certainly worth a read for those who want a more foundational understand of the genre and the women who contributed to it. Read my full review here. https://www.ihorror.com/book-review-w...

  16. 5 out of 5

    TJ Kang

    This is a remarkable anthology of well-known and obscure female authors of the Nineteenth Century. I read a lot of works from this genre and period, and I was delighted to find several stories here I had never seen before.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    Easy, fast-paced stories. I enjoyed reading this over the weekend, especially in the evenings.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sarada

  19. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Frohn

  20. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  23. 4 out of 5

    Hayley

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lydia

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Krekelberg

  26. 5 out of 5

    Annemarie

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bryan

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  29. 4 out of 5

    Julie Janson

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Enck

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