Interview with Andrew Barger

You have edited the best ghost short stories for the first half of the 19th century and now you are finishing off the century with your new ghost stories anthology?
In the fantasy genre I wanted to start with the first modern form of short stories in the English language, which really began the first half of the 19th century. I published 6a66le: The Best Horror Short Stories 1800-1849, Shifters: The Best Werewolf Short Stories 1800-1849, Mesaerion: The Best Science Fiction Short Stories 1800-1849, Middle Unearthed: The Best Fantasy Short Stories 1800-1849 and Phantasmal: The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849. Now I have moved on to the last half of the century with a collection of the best scary ghost stories.
What are some of the differences in the ghost short stories from the first to the last half of the century?
The writing is at a higher level and, for the most part, the character generation is better. Also, for the first time in the century women began publishing in the ghost story genre. Mary Braddon, Rhoda Broughton, Catherine Crowe, Amelia Edwards, Mary Anne Evans (aka George Eliot), Florence Marryat (daughter of horror story writer Captain Frederick Marryat), Mary Louise Molesworth, Rosa Mulholland, Edith Nesbit, and many other women stood out as fine ghost story writers of the Victorian age.
In Phantasmal: Best Ghost Short Stories 1800-1849 you gave an introduction titled “All Ghosts are Gray” where you drew attention to the lack of color in early ghost short stories. Does color play a role later in the century?
Consider the color yellow, for instance. It morphed from the cheerful glow of flowering snapdragons and daffodils in the English countryside to one that forewarned of evil in Britain and the United States. It became a color to describe the sickly, instead of the happy. Yellow fever entered the vernacular and those outside of the African continent became fearful of the viral disease spread by female mosquitoes. This was especially true given the active slave trade in parts of America.

The color yellow soon became treated as a precursor to death thanks to writers in the supernatural community. By 1892, American Charlotte Perkins Gilman published her classic horror story “The Yellow Wallpaper.” In it the sickly colored wallpaper has a terrible effect on the occupant of the room. Three years later, fellow American Robert Chambers published his collection of short stories The King in Yellow that begged the overriding question “Have you found the yellow sign?” It contained the haunting ghost story “The Yellow Sign” (1895) included in this anthology and his treatment of the color in The King in Yellow has evolved into what
Last question, how did ghosts change from the first to the last part of the century in question?
The ghosts streaming from the pen of Dickens were highly communicative with the living. They were no longer stagnate beings of the spirit world who moved silently among the darkling corners of haunted houses, but rather interacted with the sorry lot of the living in ways never before seen in literature. In Phantasmal: Best Ghost Short Stories 1800-1849 there is an excellent story that was published anonymously titled “The Deaf and Dumb Girl” that is a fine example of how ghosts started out being rather innocuous.
Published 2016-09-05.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Best Horror Short Stories 1850-1899: A 66a6le Horror Anthology
Price: $3.98 USD. Words: 91,590. Language: English. Published: June 28, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Anthologies » Horror
The best horror short stories from the last half of the nineteenth century are combined for the first time by Andrew Barger, award-winning author and editor of 6a66le: Best Horror Short Stories 1800-1849. Andrew has researched the finest Victorian horror short stories and combined them into one undeniable collection. He has added his familiar scholarly touch by annotating the stories. Read now.
Best Ghost Short Stories 1850-1899: A Phantasmal Ghost Anthology
Price: $5.98 USD. Words: 84,920. Language: English. Published: September 5, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - multi-author, Fiction » Anthologies » Horror
Best Ghost Short Stories 1850-1899: A Phantasmal Ghost Anthology contains the best ghost stories from the last half of the 19th century and it edited by Andrew Barger. It is annotated an includes shocking tales from popular American and Victorian authors including: Bram Stoker, M. R. James, Joseph Le Fanu, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Nesbit, and Francis Marion Crawford. Read it tonight. Boo!
The Divine Dantes: Cruising in Paradise
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 69,560. Language: English. Published: August 15, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Parody, Fiction » Classics
Book I of The Divine Dantes trilogy was a "best second novel" finalist in the Indie Book Awards. Now, in this final installment of the popular trilogy, Eddie finds himself on a cruise with his beloved Beatrice. There will be mayhem, love and of course rock-n-roll.
Leo Tolstoy's 20 Greatest Short Stories Annotated
Series: Tolstoy Short Works, Tolstoy Short Works #1. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 140,220. Language: English. Published: July 19, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Classics, Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
"Anna Karenina" and "War and Peace" branded Tolstoy as one of the greatest writers in modern history. Few, however, have read his wonderful short stories. Now, in one collection, are the 20 greatest short stories of Leo Tolstoy, which give a snapshot of Russia and its people in the late nineteenth century. A fine introduction is given by Andrew Barger. Annotations are also included.
Leo Tolstoy's 5 Greatest Novellas Annotated
Series: Tolstoy Short Works, Tolstoy Short Works #2. Price: $5.98 USD. Words: 118,660. Language: English. Published: August 31, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author, Fiction » Adventure » War & military adventure
After reading War & Peace, Dostoevsky put the book down and said, "The fool hath said in heart there is no God." Yet, Tolstoy's shorter novels (i.e., novellas) are filled with the war, adventure, tragedy, and Russian tradition that inhabit the longer novels of the Russian bear of literature. Andrew Barger, editor of the best selling anthology, "Leo Tolstoy's 20 Greatest Short Stories Annotated."
The Divine Dantes: Paella in Purgatory
Series: Divine Dantes Infernal Trilogy, Infernal Trilogy #2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 70,880. Language: English. Published: June 27, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Coming of age
Book 2 of The Divine Dantes's Infernal Trilogy finds Eddie and Virgil in Barcelona, Spain. Eddie, the young rocker with an active mind, thinks they are there to get on a cruise. Virgil, however, has tricked Eddie and arranged for Bea to secretly meet them. Meantime, Virg and Eddie visit famous Barcelona landmarks as Eddie adds his trademark commentary. Will Eddie get back with Bea and rock on?
Mesaerion: The Best Science Fiction Stories 1800-1849
Series: Best Short Stories 1800-1849, Book 5. Price: $3.98 USD. Words: 75,140. Language: English. Published: August 17, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - multi-author
Andrew Barger, award-winning author, editor and engineer, researched forgotten magazines of the early 19th century to find groundbreaking science fiction short stories in the English language. In doing so, he found possibly the first science fiction story by a female (and it is not from Mary Shelley). He located the first steampunk story and many others! Read the stories that started a genre.
The Divine Dantes: Squirt Guns in Hades
Series: Divine Dantes Infernal Trilogy, Infernal Trilogy #1. You set the price! Words: 74,230. Language: English. Published: April 13, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
A finalist in the Indie Book Awards "Best Second Novel" category, "The Divine Dantes: Squirt Guns in Hades" is the first in a trilogy of laugh-out-loud books paralleling Dante Alighieri's classic poem, "The Divine Comedy," where the characters of The Inferno are encountered in modern times with surprising results. Read this literary, rock, love story today!
The Divine Dantes: A Prologue
Price: Free! Words: 4,480. Language: English. Published: April 13, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
If "The Divine Comedy" and "Catcher in the Rye" had a love child, "The Divine Dantes: Squirt Guns in Hades" would be it. The novel is the first in a trilogy of laugh-out-loud books paralleling Dante Alighieri's classic poem, "The Divine Comedy," where the characters of The Inferno are encountered in modern times with surprising results. Read this literary, rock, love story today!
Azraeil & Fudgie: A Short Story
Price: Free! Words: 9,090. Language: English. Published: August 30, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
In this story the angel of death, who has taken the form of a precocious eight-year-old girl, tags along with Private Fudgerié and his team of marines as they sweep for roadside bombs in Afghanistan.
The Best Vampire Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Vampire Anthology
Series: Best Short Stories 1800-1849, Book 4. Price: $4.98 USD. Words: 77,390. Language: English. Published: February 19, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Horror, Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - multi-author
In this International Book Awards anthology finalist collection, Andrew Barger has unearthed from long forgotten journals and magazines the best vampire short stories from the first half of the 19th century, the cradle of all vampire short stories in the English language. They are collected for the first time in this groundbreaking book on the origins of vampire lore. Read it tonight!
The Brownie of the Alabaster Mansion: A Short Story
Price: Free! Words: 14,270. Language: English. Published: August 6, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
In "The Brownie of the Alabaster Mansion" Andrew Barger brings a precocious monster of antiquity back to life. At times the tale is dark, at times it is funny. This is a short story contained in his first collection entitled MAILBOXES - MANSIONS - MEMPHISTOPHELES.
The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Ghost Anthology
Series: Best Short Stories 1800-1849, Book 3. Price: $4.98 USD. Words: 74,270. Language: English. Published: July 20, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - multi-author, Fiction » Anthologies » Horror
Andrew Barger has collected the best ghost stories for the first half of the nineteenth century, including author photos and story backgrounds. Two of the stories have never been collected in an anthology since their original publication nearly 200 years ago. Read them tonight!
Mailboxes - Mansions - Memphistopheles: A Collection of Dark Tales
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 60,030. Language: English. Published: May 25, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author, Fiction » Anthologies » Horror
An award finalist in the International Best Book Awards, Mailboxes - Mansions - Memphistopheles is the first short story collection by Andrew Barger, award winning author of Coffee with Poe: A Novel of Edgar Allan Poe's Life and The Best Horror Short Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Horror Anthology. In it Andrew unleashes a blend of character-driven dark tales, which are sure to be remembered.
The Best Horror Short Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Horror Anthology
Series: Best Short Stories 1800-1849, Book 1. Price: $4.98 USD. Words: 84,890. Language: English. Published: November 26, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - multi-author, Fiction » Anthologies » Horror
Award winning finalist in the Next Generation Book Awards, Andrew Barger read over 300 horror short stories to compile the 12 best. At the back of the book he includes a list of all short stories he considered along with their dates of publication and author, when available. He even includes background for each of the stories, author photos and provides a list of stories read. Download today
The Best Werewolf Short Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Werewolf Anthology
Series: Best Short Stories 1800-1849, Book 2. Price: $3.98 USD. Words: 50,000. Language: English. Published: May 11, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - multi-author, Fiction » Anthologies » Horror
For the first time in one anthology, Andrew Barger has compiled the best werewolf stories from 1800-1849. The stories are "Hugues the Wer-Wolf: A Kentish Legend of the Middle Ages," "The Man-Wolf," "A Story of a Weir-Wolf," "The Wehr-Wolf: A Legend of the Limousin," and "The White Wolf of the Hartz Mountains." Two of these fine stories have never been republished. Buy it today.
Coffee with Poe: A Novel of Edgar Allan Poe's Life
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 110,060. Language: English. Published: April 4, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Historical » General
(4.00 from 1 review)
A finalist in the Best Book Awards historical biography category, "Coffee with Poe" is a historical novel detailing Edgar Allan Poe’s life. It is filled with actual letters to his three fiancées, his literary contemporaries (Dickens, Longfellow, Irving, and Hawthorne), and his bitter enemies. Live the life of America's brightest and most mysterious author.