amelia b. edwards

Victorian Literature Challenge 2011 – Completion

For the past six or so months I haver been slowly inching towards finishing the Victorian Literature Challenge 2011. I was participating under the “Great Expectations” participation level of  where the challenge was to read five-nine books from the Victorian era. The first six books I finished with extreme swiftness but the last three took more time than I had anticipated because of my new job and everything else.

Anyhow, I have finally managed to finish the challenge. Thanks to Bethany of Subtle Melodrama for hosting this challenge! I enjoyed participating in it very much!

Books Completed:

1. Under the Red Robe. Stanley J. Weyman.

2.  The Diary of a Nobody. George Grossmith.

3. The Country of the Pointed Firs. Sarah Orne Jewett.

4. Mrs Lirriper’s Lodgings. Charles Dickens.

5.  Mrs. Lirriper’s Legacy. Charles Dickens.

6. Sailors Knots. W. W. Jacobs.

7. The Phantom Coach and Other Stories. Amelia B. Edwards.

8. Spinning-Wheel Stories. Louisa May Alcott. 

9. Barchester Towers. Anthony Trollope.

The Phantom Coach and Other Stories by Amelia B. Edwards

The Phantom Coach and Other Stories is a collection of horror stories by Amelia B. Edwards.

Amelia B. Edwards (1831 –1892) was a prominent Victorian English author, traveller and Egyptologist. Edwards was well known for her ghost stories. In her later life she more or less abandoned her literary career in favour of her career as an Egyptologist. She had co-founded the Egypt Exploration Fund (now the Egypt Exploration Society) in 1882 and the University College London has the Edwards Chair of Egyptology named after her.

My edition of The Phantom Coach and Other Stories contains altogether six stories, The Phantom Coach, An Engineer’s Story, A Service of Danger, The Story of Salome, Was it an Illusion? and How the Third Floor Knew the Potteries.

I had read the first story The Phantom Coach in an anthology as a child and thought it was really scary. After the re-read, I still think it’s pretty good. But too much time is spent on dwelling upon other non-ghost related things like the boring evening the protagonist spends with his elderly host.

An Engineer’s Story is an irritatingly melodramatic story. In it a materialistic woman is the cause of the rift between two best friends.

A Service of Danger is a predictable story but overall pretty okay.

The Story of Salome is once again predictable but not terrible. The ghostly presence is a tad more prominent in this story.

Was it an Illusion? is somewhat gruesome. The main incident disturbed me.

The last story How the Third Floor Knew the Potteries is a half baked tale. It feels as though the story is an unfinished draft of a story.

The problem with most of the stories is that they are almost all ordinary stories with a ghostly presence tacked on as an afterthought. Their rambling nature doesn’t help either.

The stories are terribly predictable. With each and every story it is obvious from the very first page what the conclusion is going to be.

As a fan of vintage horror and a Victorian lit enthusiast, I was really looking forward to reading this horror collection by Edwards. My memory of The Phantom Coach had made me pick this book up. But The Phantom Coach and Other Stories is sadly disappointing. Definitely not up to my expectations.

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