Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) is celebrated for his tales of the macabre and the supernatural. “The Tell-Tale Heart” is one of his most famous. In it, the narrator tells how, without any motive, but merely because he is obsessed with his eye (“The eye of a vulture”), he murders an old man, and of the consequences when the murdered man's heart seeks revenge.
Eliza was the first volume of the Eliza Stories by Barry Pain (1864-1928). It was published in 1900 and was the first of these stories that appeared in cheap editions and were sold on railway bookstalls. The stories were hugely popular and made Pain's name. Although the book is titled Eliza, it is her husband who is its comic hero.
Guy de Maupassant (1850 - 1893) is recognized as one of the fathers of the modern short story and one of its finest exponents. From the humorous to the tragic to the gruesome, with an economy and precision of language, his stories can delight or disturb. Here are 10 of them.
M.R. James (1862-1936) was provost of King's College, Cambridge. and Eton College. He was a highly regarded scholar and academic in his time but today is remembered for his ghost stories which are considered among the finest in the genre. Here is one of them: "The Tractate Middoth".
The narrator is in deep sorrow, mourning his lost love, and is slowly sinking into despair when he is visited by a talking raven from whom he seeks comfort and hope, but whose only utterance is a single portentous word - "nevermore."
The "Songs of Innocence" were published in 1789 and republished in 1794 together with the "Songs of Experience". They represent Blake's two perspectives on the world, that of the child (innocence) and that of the adult (experience). Blake's poetical works were largely neglected in their own time but are today considered some of the most brilliant of English verse. The "songs" are presented here together with "Auguries of Innocence".
Francis Marion Crawford (1854-1909) was an American writer, born in Italy and educated in the USA. He also studied at the universities of Cambridge and Heidelberg. He was a prolific writer in many fields, but it was his novels that were most popular, commanding a large following. His stories of the macabre and supernatural are very highly regarded. Roy Macready reads five of them from
Arthur Machen (1863-1947) was a Welsh author known for his works of horror and the fantastic. He is recognized as an influence on modern writers of supernatural fiction. Holy Terrors (published in 1946, a year before his death) is a collection of 14 short stories of which nine are very short and are included in this recording. They are: “The Rose Garden”, “Psychology”, “The Soldier's Rest”, “The Cosy Room”, “The Ceremony”, “Holy Things”, “The Turanians”, “The Happy Children”, and “Munitions of War”.
The author of the famous Alice books also wrote many poems notably in the humorous and nonsense genres. "The Hunting of the Snark (An Agony in Eight Fits)", published in 1876 and possibly his best known and most accomplished verse, is presented here together with another of his longer poems, "Phantasmagoria" and "Melancholetta", "Sea Dirge", "Size and Tears", plus five poems from Alice.
The first collection of the exploits of A.J. Raffles and his friend Bunny Manders was published as The Amateur Cracksman in 1899. The characters of Raffles and Bunny were possibly inspired by his brother-in-law's creations, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, although they are on the opposite side of the law.
Here is a collection of nine tales of the macabre and the supernatural from the acknowledged master of these genres. They are: "The Black Cat", "The Tell-Tale Heart", "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar", "The Premature Burial", "The Pit and the Pendulum", "The Cask of Amontillado", "The Oval Portrait", "Berenice", and "Ligeia".
The delicious, biting wit of Saki's short stories satirizing Edwardian high society are some of the funniest and most delightful exquisite literary miniatures. In this first volume, there are 22 glittering examples. Saki was the pen name of Hector Hugh Monro. He was born in Burma in 1870, where his father was a senior official in the Burma police. From the age of two, he lived with two maiden aunts and his grandmother in Devon and was educated in Exmouth and at the Bedford Grammar School.
The Toys of Peace and Other Papers by "Saki" (H. H. Munro) is a collection of 33 "papers" or short stories, which were originally published separately in various journals and later issued in one volume in 1919, three years after the writer's death in the Great War. They are some of the most delightful of literary miniatures.
Nicholas Goade, the Scotland Yard detective, takes a well earned rest after his recent work in arresting single-handed a notorious criminal who had for five years defied the police forces of New York and London. He has been awarded a cheque for $25,000 and six months leave of absence and is enjoying a touring holiday in the West of England in his ancient Ford car with his companion Flip, a small, fat, white dog. But his holiday soon becomes “a busman's holiday”, as he himself puts it, as at each turn he is called upon to deal with crimes.
Henry Seton Merriman was the pen name of Hugh Stowell Scott (1862-1903). He was a successful and popular Victorian novelist. His only book of short stories, Tomaso's Fortune, was published posthumously in 1904, the stories having appeared originally in various magazines. This recording contains a selection of seven stories from that volume. They are: “Tomaso's Fortune”, “Sister”, “For Juanita's Sake”, “In a Crooked Way”, “The Tale of a Scorpion”, “The Prodigal's Return”, and “Stranded”.
Fitz-James O'Brien, born in Cork, Ireland, in 1826, is considered an important early writer of science-fiction. His three probably best-known stories are included in this volume. They are “The Diamond Lens”, “What Was It?”, and “The Lost Room”.
Reginald in Russia and Other Sketches was published in 1910 and was the second of Saki's collections of short stories following Reginald (1904). It consists of 15 stories or “sketches” as the author calls them and contains two of his most famous tales: “Gabriel Ernest” and “The Reticence of Lady Anne”.