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Ghosts – or the (Nearly) Invisible

Spectral Phenomena in Literature and the Media


Maria Fleischhack and Elmar Schenkel

In this volume, ghost stories are studied in the context of their media, their place in history and geography. From prehistory to this day, we have been haunted by our memories, the past itself, by inklings of the future, by events playing outside our lives, and by ourselves. Hence the lure of ghost stories throughout history and presumably prehistory. Science has been a great destroyer of myth and superstition, but at the same time it has created new black boxes which we are filling with our ghostly imagination. In this book, literature from the Middle Ages to Oscar Wilde and Neil Gaiman, children’s stories, folklore and films, ranging from the Antarctic and Russia to Haiti, are covered and show the continuing presence of spectral phenomena.

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‘At the Hollow, there was Magic.’ The Language of Kim Newman’s Ghost Novel


Abstract: This essay discusses briefly the language of Kim Newman’s An English Ghost Story with a focus on genre specific use of vocabulary and a discussion on whether the novel is, in fact, a ghost story.

Let me begin by quoting the first and final paragraphs of Newman’s novel:

They would fall in a clump, like ripe apples. Mother, father, daughter, son [i.e. Father Steve, Mother Kirsty, Daughter Jordan and Son Tim Naremore (Ne’ ermore?). C.P.] touched by the charm, their persistent – though thinned – love would flare. As only once before, at the birth of baby Tim, the family would be a whole, united by fiercely shared feeling. Things that had seemed important would be trivial, and things that had seemed negligible would be potent. The Hollow awaited the family with a welcome. It needed them. Unpopulated, it tended to drift. Without people in residence, it might disperse on the winds. That afternoon, the place was at its best behaviour, spring green promising summer gold. (An English Ghost Story 7)1

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