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Edith Wharton

Tales of Men and Ghosts

Originally published in 1910, Tales and Men and Ghosts is a collection of short stories connected, as the title suggests, by a pre-occupation with men and ghosts. That said, the ghostly aspect is on the whole muted, this isn't a Poe pastiche although of course, given Wharton's appreciation of the man, it could have been. The closer connection is certainly Henry James given that Wharton's notion of ghostly phenomena is more towards the inherently psychological rather than spiritual.

One story that does stand out is 'The Blond Beast' which has nothing to do with ghostly apparitions, but rather is indebted to Wharton's interest in the works of Friedrich Nietzsche. The context is too laboured to expound in such a short space, but the stand out passage, and the one that reveals the undercurrent, concerns the principal character's observations on a sickly and certainly doomed dog that makes an attempt to cross a busy fifth avenue. That the dog doesn't die in the effort is beside the point.
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1937

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