Some spine-tingling Victorian examples of all things gruesome, gory, and ghostly:
- In search of a little blood-sucking? If you have ample leisure, you can always try reading the endless saga of Varney the Vampire (1845; volume ed. 1847). The first online edition, with illustrations, is here. J. S. Le Fanu's novella Carmilla is a must for any vampire aficionado. For another female vampire, try Mary Braddon's "Good Lady Ducayne" (PDF). While most of us think of Edith Nesbit as a children's novelist, she also wrote a number of horror stories, including this vampire tale, "The Haunted House" (PDF). Remember that Dracula blogs! If you want to read Dracula in one go, there's an e-text here; don't forget to visit his homepage.
- Are horrific tales of murder more your thing? The Victorians, of course, have the ultimate serial killer--Jack the Ripper. Penny Dreadfuls brings us The Whitechapel Murders, in six parts. While you're visiting the site, be sure to drop in on the Sweeney Todd page. Crime Library hosts articles on a number of, um, unpleasant Victorian folks, including Dr. Thomas Neill Cream and Mary Ann Cotton. Other upstanding Victorian citizens make an appearance at the History of the Metropolitan Police.
- Nothing more Victorian than a good ghost story, of course. (Somewhat inconveniently for our purposes, however, ghost stories were a Christmas tradition.) My students tell me that J. S. Le Fanu's "An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street" ought not to be read while alone at night. We all like to make fun of Edward Bulwer-Lytton, but that doesn't make "The Haunted and the Haunters" any less effective. Meanwhile, M. R. James' "'Oh, Whistle, And I'll Come to You, My Lad'" reminds us that there are times when packing a Latin grammar can come in handy. Incidentally, who knew that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote horror poetry? For many more Victorian ghost stories, visit Gaslight, HorrorMasters, and The Literary Gothic.