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Gothic Tales (Oxford University Press), by Arthur Conan Doyle

Apr. 18, 2017
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Nearly a century after his death, Arthur Conan Doyle remains one of the world’s most famous writers—but only for one fictional character, Sherlock Holmes. Gothic Tales collects 34 other stories by the prolific author, albeit the “gothic” heading is loosely applied. The 1913 short story “The Horror of the Heights” is proto-science fiction in its depiction of a high-altitude encounter with the unknown. The 1921 “The Nightmare Room” considers the short imaginative distance between reality and the movies. Although Doyle was an ardent champion of Rule Britannia and believed in the racial superiority of Northern Europeans, several stories can be read as ambivalent accounts of subjected peoples. Gothic? A sort of vampire shows up in one story, occultists inhabit others and many are set on the moors, not unlike his most famous Holmes tale, “The Hound of the Baskervilles.” 


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