Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts. When he was four years old, his father died. Years later, with financial help from his maternal relatives who recognized his literary talent, Hawthorne was able to enroll in Bowdoin College. Among his classmates were the important literary and political figures Horatio Bridge, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Franklin Pierce. These friends supplied Hawthorne with employment during the early years after graduation while Hawthorne was still establishing himself as a legitimate author. Hawthorne's first novel, Fanshawe, which he self-published in 1828, wasn't quite the success that he had hoped it would be. Not willing to give up, he began writing stories for Twice-Told Tales. These stories established Hawthorne as a leading writer. In 1842, Hawthorne moved to Concord, Massachusetts, where he wrote a number of tales, including "Rappaccini's Daughter" and "Young Goodman Brown," that were later published as Mosses from an Old Manse. The overall theme of Hawthorne's novels was a deep concern with ethical problems of sin, punishment, and atonement. No one novel demonstrated that more vividly than The Scarlet Letter. This tale about the adulterous Puritan Hester Prynne is regarded as Hawthorne's best work and is a classic of American literature. Other famous novels written by Hawthorne include The House of Seven Gables and The Blithedale Romance. In 1852, Hawthorne wrote a campaign biography of his college friend Franklin Pierce. After Pierce was elected as President of the United States, he rewarded Hawthorne with the Consulship at Liverpool, England. Hawthorne died in his sleep on May 19, 1864, while on a trip with Franklin Pierce.
Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 - September 28, 1891) was born into a seemingly secure, prosperous world, a descendant of prominent Dutch and English families long established in New York State. That security vanished when first, the family business failed, and then, two years later, in young Melville's thirteenth year, his father died. Without enough money to gain the formal education that professions required, Melville was thrown on his own resources and in 1841 sailed off on a whaling ship bound for the South Seas. His experiences at sea during the next four years were to form in part the basis of his best fiction. Melville's first two books, Typee (1846) and Omoo (1847), were partly romance and partly autobiographical travel books set in the South Seas. Both were popular successes, particularly Typee, which included a stay among cannibals and a romance with a South Sea maiden. During the next several years, Melville published three more romances that drew upon his experiences at sea: Redburn (1849) and White-Jacket (1850), both fairly realistic accounts of the sailor's life and depicting the loss of innocence of central characters; and Mardi (1849), which, like the other two books, began as a romance of adventure but turned into an allegorical critique of contemporary American civilization. Moby Dick (1851) also began as an adventure story, based on Melville's experiences aboard the whaling ship. However, in the writing of it inspired in part by conversations with his friend and neighbor Hawthorne and partly by his own irrepressible imagination and reading of Shakespeare and other Renaissance dramatists Melville turned the book into something so strange that, when it appeared in print, many of his readers and critics were dumbfounded, even outraged. By the mid-1850s, Melville's literary reputation was all but destroyed, and he was obliged to live the rest of his life taking whatever jobs he could find and borrowing money from relatives, who fortunately were always in a position to help him. He continued to write, however, and published some marvelous short fiction pieces Benito Cereno" (1855) and "Bartleby, the Scrivener" (1853) are the best. He also published several volumes of poetry, the most important of which was Battle Pieces and Aspects of the War (1866), poems of occasionally great power that were written in response to the moral challenge of the Civil War. His posthumously published work, Billy Budd (1924), on which he worked up until the time of his death, became Melville's last significant literary work, a brilliant short novel that movingly describes a young sailor's imprisonment and death. Melville's reputation, however, rests most solidly on his great epic romance, Moby Dick. It is a difficult as well as a brilliant book, and many critics have offered interpretations of its complicated ambiguous symbolism. Darrel Abel briefly summed up Moby Dick as "the story of an attempt to search the unsearchable ways of God," although the book has historical, political, and moral implications as well. Melville died at his home in New York City early on the morning of September 28, 1891, at age 72. The doctor listed "cardiac dilation" on the death certificate. He was interred in the Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York, along with his wife, Elizabeth Shaw Melville.
Washington Irving, one of the first Americans to achieve international recognition as an author, was born in New York City in 1783. His A History of New York, published in 1809 under the name of Diedrich Knickerbocker, was a satirical history of New York that spanned the years from 1609 to 1664. Under another pseudonym, Geoffrey Crayon, he wrote The Sketch-book, which included essays about English folk customs, essays about the American Indian, and the two American stories for which he is most renowned--"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle." Irving served as a member of the U.S. legation in Spain from 1826 to 1829 and as minister to Spain from 1842 to 1846. Following his return to the U.S. in 1846, he began work on a five-volume biography of Washington that was published from 1855-1859. Washington Irving died in 1859 in New York.
The other ghost stories in this fine collection are by famous authors. "The Mask of the Red Death," by Edgar Allan Poe; "A Chapter in the History of a Tyrone Family," by Joseph Sheridan le Fanu; "The Spectral Ship," by Wilhelm Hauff; "The Old Maid in the Winding Sheet," by Nathaniel Hawthorne; "The Adventure of the German Student," and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," by Washington Irving; as well as "The Tapestried Chamber," by Sir Walter Scott.
As he has done with a number of other books, Andrew Barger has added his scholarly touch to this collection by including story backgrounds, annotations, author photos and a foreword titled "All Ghosts Are Gray." Buy the book today and be ready to be scared reading the best ghost stories of the first half of the 19th century.
YOUNG GOODMAN BROWN, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
THE CELESTIAL RAILROAD, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
THE GREAT STONE FACE, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
ETHAN BRAND, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
RIP VAN WINKLE, by Washington Irving
THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW, by Washington Irving
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A POCKET-HANDKERCHIEF by James Fenimore Cooper
THE DAMNED THING, by Ambrose Bierce
AN OCCURRENCE AT OWL CREEK, by Ambrose Bierce
THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER, by Edgar Allan Poe
THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO, by Edgar Allan Poe
THE PURLOINED LETTER, by Edgar Allan Poe
THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM, by Edgar Allan Poe
THE PREMATURE BURIAL, by Edgar Allan Poe
THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE, by Edgar Allan Poe
THE LUCK OF ROARING CAMP, by Bret Harte
THE OUTCASTS OF POKER FLAT, by Bret Hartev HANDS, by Sherwood Anderson
I’M A FOOL, by Sherwood Anderson
THE MAN THAT CORRUPTED HADLEYBURG, by Mark Twain
THE CELEBRATED JUMPING FROG OF CALAVERAS COUNTY, by Mark Twain
THE GIFT OF THE MAGI, by O. Henry
THE RANSOM OF RED CHIEF, by O. Henry
THE COP AND THE ANTHEM, by O. Henry
A RETRIEVED REFORMATION, by O. Henry
THE DUPLICITY OF HARGRAVES, by O. Henry
TO BUILD A FIRE, by Jack London
AN ODYSSEY OF THE NORTH, by Jack London
LOVE OF LIFE, by Jack London
THE HEATHEN, by Jack London
THE PEARLS OF PARLAY, by Jack London
THE BRIDE COMES TO YELLOW SKY, by Stephen Crane
THE MONSTER, by Stephen Crane
THE BLUE HOTEL, by Stephen Crane
And don't forget to search your favorite ebook store for Megapack to see the other great entries in this series -- covering science fiction, fantasy, horror, mysteries, westerns, children's literature, and much, much more!