Date of Award

Summer 1959

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




This thesis is an attempt to evaluate the work of the outstanding British and American short story writers from the early 1800's to the present. No attempt has been made to make a precise historical survey of the development of the ghost story. This paper is limited to the short ghost story in fiction; all fairytales, folk-lore, supposedly authentic anecdotes, plays, novels, and poems of the supernatural are omitted. All pseudoscience stories, horror stories, and weird fantasy are also omitted.

In the introductory part of this paper an attempt has been made to ascertain some of the factors which determine success or failure in the short ghost story. Attention has also been paid here to the various types of ghost story; an outline and discussion of ghost stories according to type has been attempted. Finally, some of the earlier and leaser writers have been briefly considered here, as being too unimportant for individual mention in subsequent sections. The second part of the paper is concerned with the individual authors and their work. Emphasis has been placed on authors according to their achievement in the ghost story, not in other fields. The authors have been considered in alphabetical order, as their dates were not always available.

It is hoped that this paper will serve as a guide for those persons interested in learning who wrote ghost stories and what the stories were about. The author acknowledges and regrets many omissions, as some collections of ghost stories are long out of print and impossible to obtain.