Weird Women: Classic Supernatural Fiction by Groundbreaking Female Writers 1852–1923

Pegasus. Aug. 2020. 384p. ed. by ed. by Lisa Morton & Leslie S. Klinger. ISBN 9781643134161. $25.95. LIT
This enchanting book contains 21 short stories in the horror supernatural genre all written by women. Previous horror anthologies rarely included works by female authors, and editors Morton and Klinger (Ghost Stories) seek to remedy this gap with this compilation. Perusing old periodicals, library archives, and other anthologies, they create a collection that celebrates authors such as Louisa May Alcott, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Ellen Glasgow, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Each entry begins with a brief author biography, with stories exploring topics as varied as banshees, ghosts, mad scientists, mummies, raising the dead, and werewolves. Themes include haunting dreams, human sacrifice, murder, and psychosis, subject matter typically considered “unsuitable” for women at the time the stories were written. The pieces also illustrate vanished eras with depictions of old San Francisco, remote mining towns, antiquated social customs, and marked class distinctions. One anticipates a second volume to complement this excellent first set.
VERDICT A feast of entertaining (and often scary) reads. Highly recommended for those interested in literature of the horror and supernatural variety.

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