what is a ghost story in literature

Ghost stories exist in all kinds of literature, from folktales to religious works to modern horror stories, and in most cultures. More generally, the phrase may refer to a tale based on imagination rather than fact. Author: Gerry Glenn Jones. Again and again, stories by women can be found emphasising the psychological aspects of a character’s torment. Gilman herself was diagnosed with neurasthenia (nerve weakness) in her twenties, and treated by Dr S Weir Mitchell, whose rest cure consisted of banishing the patient to bed for months at a time, allowing her only mild foods, and denying all mental, physical, and social activity. A really effective ghost story rests solidly within the purview of the stuff of real life, the grounding details of everyday routines. It takes a familiar trope of the ghost story – a couple of friends spend the night in an old mansion – and offers a sinister insight into one man’s past, a particularly nasty judge whose ghost visits the two men. Featured in our Halloween Stories. The ghost story. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. The story is reported to have taken place during the reign of Philip II of Macedon (359-336 BCE). As Gillian Beer so quotably notes, the form depicts “the insurrection not the resurrection” of the dead, and nowhere is this more true than in works by women. Read about our approach to external linking. The story is based on the infamous 19th-century hoax of the Cardiff Giant, in which a "petrified giant" was carved out of stone and buried in the ground for others to "discover. But what really killed him – could that reality be still worse? The Tale of Philinnion & Machates. Learn more about short stories in this article. The ghosts become proto-feminist figures who – in death at least – cast off the traditional roles that society foists upon them, those of obedient wife, doting mother, dutiful daughter. It’s no coincidence that the ghost story experienced a rebirth of popularity at about the same time. Corrections? By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. A Ghost Story for Christmas: The Tractate Middoth. They are stories about the intrusion of the spirits of the dead into the realm of the living. Define ghost story. Eventually, a skulking female figure appears, seemingly trapped behind the bars of its design. A Christmas Carol may not be a Halloween ghost story, but it's certainly one of the most famous ghost stories of all time. The Winners Of Our Fall Fiction Contest. The doctor faints upon finding his wife stripping the walls, leaving her to “creep” over his inert body to freedom. When her husband enters to find her tearing down the wallpaper, she tells him “I’ve got out at last. See more. Both Spiritualism and the acknowledged, fictitious ghost story evolved out of the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century. Test your knowledge of all kinds of ghosts with this true or false quiz. They may have a surprise ending and are often also horror stories. I also write factual and fictional articles. Three days after Emma dies, she’s back. (The words come from a newly published collection of literary odds and ends, Let Me Tell You, but her 1959 novel, The Haunting of Hill House, has been cited by Stephen King as one of the greatest horror novels of all time.). Here’s a real treat to conclude the series of Christmas ghost stories that I’ve been posting for the last few weeks – the BBC adaptation of The Tractate Middoth from just a couple of years ago. Of course, some women occupied more marginal roles than others. Creative pursuits such as writing, painting – even reading – were strictly prohibited. Omissions? But Rudyard Kipling appears to have been the first to realise the potential for the ghost story … Ghosts, after all, are the opposite of mundane, an antidote to the quotidian. 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