Three Ghost Stories by Charles Dickens available for free download at Project Gutenberg

Retro Reads: Dickens’ Ghosts

 

I avoided any serious encounters with Charles Dickens until college. Sure, like everybody else I had read a couple of the standard works: “A Christmas Carol” and “David Copperfield.” But I never felt the magic of The Great Dickens. While good ol’ Chuck had come up with a decent holiday story and some great names, none of his stories made my heart pound like when I first watched Emily Brontë’s Heathcliff take possession of Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights.

Isotropic Fiction Retro Reads: Three Ghost Stories by Charles Dickens — Click the cover image to visit this title on Project Gutenberg.

For the record, Heathcliff still makes my heart jump and palms sweat. What can I say: I love a good monster.

But back to Dickens–I was a junior when I groaned at the discovery of “Bleak House” on my syllabus. When I complained to a professor about Dickens’ being overly wordy and having little to offer the modern reader, she just laughed. “I’m going to tell you something that really pissed me off when my professor told me,” she said. “My dear, you’re much too young.”

She was right. Reading “Bleak House” changed my life. Never before had a story made me laugh and cry as much as this 160 year old, 361,000 word, densely populated, scathing critique of England’s byzantine legal system.

With this professor in mind, here’s a smaller gem by Dickens I stumbled upon shortly after getting my first e-reader. Three Ghost Stories by Charles Dickens includes The Haunted House, The Trial For Murder, and (my favorite) The Signal-Man. Those who haven’t read one of Dickens’ ghost stories are in for a real treat. I still get a chill every time I see someone throw an arm before his or her face to block a bright light.

So pour yourself a nice pint of stout or a mug of hot chocolate and ride the chill of these spring nights into the ghostly worlds of one of England’s greatest writers.

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“Three Ghost Stories” is available in several formats from Project Gutenberg.



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