This exceptional collection of stories is the third of four begun by Isaac Asimov Presents the Brest Science Fiction of the 19th Century, and Isaac Asimov Presents the Brest Fantasy of the 19th Century.
From Washington Irving’s “The Adventure of the German Student” to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Story of the Brazilian Cat,” the most popular authors are represented by their most unusual—and terrifying—stories. Among this special group are Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-tale Heart,” Guy de Maupassant’s “The Necklace,” Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Markheim,” and Anton Chekov’s “Sleepy.” Bram Stoker offers “The Squaw,” and Ambrose Bierce chills once again with his telling of “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.”
Women in the last century also made a name for themselves writing stories of the macabre and unnatural. Represented here are several of the best: Kate Chopin’s “Desiree’s Baby,” Mrs. Elizabeth Gaskell’s “The Doom of the Griffiths,” and Harriet Prescott Spofford’s “Circumstance.”
In all, here is a unique compilation that belongs in every collection, bringing together the finest works of horror and supernatural by the ablest writers of the 19th century.
This isn’t really a bad anthology, and if one is a student or fan of 19th century horror and supernatural stories, by all means read it. I, however, am not a fan of 19th century horror and supernatural stories, and although the stories aren’t nearly as gothic as I’d feared when I first picked it up, they‘re still rather filled with a florid prose style for which I do not care. And, of course, since Asimov himself is really not involved in this collection except for the introduction—and an inferior introduction, at that, which somehow tries to tie the continuing appeal of horror fiction to Asimov’s Annotated “Paradise Lost”—there’s nothing here of particular interest for the Asimov fan.