Top Ten Tuesday is a super fun weekly event hosted by the amazing blog The Broke and the Bookish where each week they post a new Top Ten list!
Today’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is a Halloween Freebie!
As you may already know, I’m a Brit Lit PhD student who works in eighteenth-century studies, so I have a deep love of the books we call “classics” and their contemporaries which for some reason or another have fallen out of favor, or weren’t picked up by popular anthologies. So, I thought I’d share some of my favorite classic spooky tales!
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
What I love about Frankenstein is not just the story itself, which is creepy and sad and full of uncomfortable questions, but the ways that the issues it grapples with are still incredibly relevant over 100 years later. Themes of isolation and loneliness are timeless in their ability to reach an audience, which questions of what it means to be human are increasingly complicated and politically relevant.
Dracula, Bram Stoker
Oh Dracula. I am sure many of you have had to read this for school at some point and either loved how weird it was or hated the delayed satisfaction of the epistolary structure. While not as overtly violent as more contemporary media creations make it out to be, the story tackles complex issues surrounding gender, sexuality, nationalism, and xenophobia.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson
Shirley Jackson is the master of creep. This book is disturbing, frustrating, and remains suffocatingly close to it’s main characters, Merricat and Constance Blackwood, two sisters who’s family has died under mysterious circumstances and are now living alone with their uncle, isolated from the town, in the Blackwood estate. The point of view, the lack of information, and the intense connection between the two sister, coupled with the constant sense of impending doom, make this novel delightfully unsettling in the best possible way.
The Mysteries of Udolpho, Ann Radcliffe
I have a deep, deep love of early gothic novels and Ann Radcliffe is the queen of this genre. Beautiful young orphans, dark medieval castles, villainous old men, a touch of the super natural, and of course a good romance all make Radcliffe’s novels the centerpiece of the historical romantic/gothic moment.
The Turn of the Screw, Henry James
The textbook example of the unreliable narrator makes it impossible to tell if this novel is a true ghost story or a complex examination of the frayed nerves of a young woman in over her head. Creepy, dark, and utterly unresolved, this novel is one of my absolute all-time favorites!
The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins
“This is the story of what a Woman’s patience can endure, and what a Man’s resolution can achieve.” Part gothic ghost tale, park psychological realism, The Woman in White takes readers on a mysterious journey through the streets, parlors, and asylums of Victorian England. This is another of my all time absolute favorite novels.
What are some of your classic tales of mystery and horror?!