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The Haunted Looking Glass (1959) Edited by Edward Gorey. 5”x7.5”, 315 pages. Illustrated by Edward Gorey. 

Edward Gorey’s Haunted Looking Glass contains twelve classic, haunting tales about ghosts and the supernatural. The book’s contents reads like a who’s who of outstanding writers in the genre, with contributions from such authors as Bram Stoker, Algernon Blackwood, M. R. James, Wilkie Collins, L. P. Hartley, E. Nesbit, Robert Louis Stevenson, Charles Dickens, and others. Nomally, any collection with such outstanding authors would be of special value. Yet this volume is more than just a short story collection—it is a compilation of twelve favorite stories chosen by the well-known illustrator and author, Edward Gorey. Each story comes to life in a haunting Gorey illustration that was tailor-made for each spine-chilling tale.

The stories chosen by Gorey are from original anthologies of the individual authors’ works. Here readers will encounter the knife-wielding ‘Dream Woman;’ the missing marble figures; the mysterious body-snatcher; and the mystical monkey’s paw, among other eerie characters and objects. Each writer has chosen an unusual supernatural element around which to weave a plot of horror and suspense.

The eerie quality of each Gorey illustration lends an air of foreboding of what is to come before the tale’s final twist. The collection includes Algernon Blackwood’s ‘The Empty House,’ ‘Casting the Runes’ by M. R. James, L. P. Hartley’s ‘A Visitor from Down Under,’ Charles Dickens’s ‘The Signalman,’ ‘August Heat’ by W. F. Harvey, and ‘The Judge’s House’ by Bram Stoker, among others. Although the book contains the work of twelve very different writers, the spooky illustrations tie the collection together, enhancing the supernatural quality of each story. Anyone who enjoys a good scare will find this volume absolutely irresistible.

This is a copy of the first edition, which originally sold for $1.95. It’s been republished twice (once in 1984, with a different cover), and recently in 2001 by the New York Review Book Classic in paperback form that sells for $11.96.