View Full Version : Wordsworth Books -- recommended

10-07-2013, 04:21 AM
Like Dover, Wordsworth Books specializes in literature that has lapsed into public domain. Except they pack more material into more pages at a lower price than any other publisher I know of. In addition, Wordsworth has ushered many lost or obscure stories back into print. Did you know that most supernatural fiction in the 19th century was written by women? Yes, women authors dominated the genre. So Wordsworth collected the classic short stories and novellas by Edith Nesbitt and Elizabeth Gaskell, among others, in their Tales of Mystery & Supernatural series with informative introductions written mostly by David Stuart Davies:


Although published in Her Majesty's solemn kingdom, Wordsworth books can be had for under $8 in the USA on amazon and just about everywhere else. You won't find a better deal or a nicer uniform set of weird tales and horror fiction anywhere. If you're not curious about one of the authors, but you come across the book, buy it anyhow. Chances are you'll want to read it later. The covers took some effort. Here's a sample of a few:

8139 8140

8143 8142

Paul L
10-07-2013, 05:36 AM
Wordsworth Books have been around for quite a while. They used to sell on shelves for £1, back when I worked in a bookstore. They've increased their price point lately (they're about £3 now, as I recall) but they're still exceptional value. The new covers are very good too, although the new editions I've bought lately (including their M R James anthology) have some clumsy typos on the back covers which, in my experience, thankfully aren't replicated in the books themselves.

Paul L
10-07-2013, 05:41 AM
Speaking of these new Wordsworth Editions, have you ever read this book, Richard? Is it worth buying?


10-07-2013, 06:38 AM
I haven't opened that one yet, Paul, but I'd buy it if I were you. Everything I've heard about Chamber's stories is positive and enthusiastic. Everyone says it's essential and I note it's written during the best period of weird fiction. I bought the entire Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural series, except for the Lovecraft and Poe books, but I haven't got around to reading some of them yet. I already have S.T. Joshi's edited editions of Lovecraft and better, more authoritative and annotated editions of Poe.

Do you read much weird fiction of the period?

Paul L
10-07-2013, 06:16 PM
I have done in the past, Richard (Le Fanu, James, Poe, Lovecraft, Conan Doyle) but there's still a great deal for me to explore. (I've never read any of the Ernest Bramah stories, for example, or THE BEAST WITH FIVE FINGERS. I should catch up with those via these editions.)

10-07-2013, 08:05 PM
I haven't read Wordsworth's collection of Ernest Bramah's Max Carrados detective stories yet. I glanced at another collection from Dover books of his Oriental mysteries which failed to leave a dull impression on my mind. Check out Irish Ghost Stories and Scottish Ghost Stories compiled by Rosemary Gray. Over 600 pages each and both volumes are packed with classic old tales.

Weird tales and hardboiled fiction from the golden age are my favorite literature. For a perspective on weird fiction, check out one of those essay books and compilations by S.T. Joshi. Joshi compiled and introduced a number of weird tales collections. He also restores the texts back to what the authors intended, before pulp magazine editors trimmed them for space and censored the expression. Joshi is best known for restoring Lovecraft's texts (for Arkham and for Penguin), but he has done the same for other other weird tale authors like Ambrose Bierce, Algernon Blackwood, Henry James, M.R. James, Arthur Machen, H.L. Mencken, etc.

Right now I'm looking for stuff by Manly Wade Wellman and Charles Beaumont.