The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories Chosen by Michael Cox and R.A. Gilbert is a 504-page hardcover published in 1986 by Oxford University Press. The dust jacket has light staining, surface rubbing, and the price has been inked out but there are no chips or tears. Inside, the book has several drops of candle wax on the cover and some bumping to the top of the spine. The inside pages and binding of the book are in pristine condition.
Ghost stories have long exercised a universal fascination but the literary ghost story, as opposed to the tales of oral tradition, is of relatively recent origin, dating only from the early decades of the nineteenth century. This selection of forty-two stories written between 1829 and 1968 is the first to present the full range and vitality of the English tradition of ghost fiction by demonstrating its historical development as well as its major themes and characteristics. The fictional ghost story is dominated by English authors, from J.S. Le Fanu and M.R. James to Walter de la Mare and Robert Aickman, and by American authors, such as Edith Wharton, writing in the English tradition. Though its heyday coincided with the golden age of Empire in the nineteenth century, the ghost story enjoyed a second flowering between the two World Wars and even now still attracts dedicated practitioners and readers.