26. The American Ghost Story

  1. Alfred Bendixen Professor founder Executive Director2 and
  2. James Nagel Professor Rockefeller Fellow3
  1. Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock Professor

Published Online: 16 MAR 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444319910.ch26

A Companion to the American Short Story

A Companion to the American Short Story

How to Cite

Andrew Weinstock, J. (2010) The American Ghost Story, in A Companion to the American Short Story (eds A. Bendixen and J. Nagel), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444319910.ch26

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Texas A&M University, USA

  2. 3

    University of Georgia, USA

Author Information

  1. Central Michigan University, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 MAR 2010
  2. Published Print: 19 FEB 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405115438

Online ISBN: 9781444319910



  • American Ghost Story;
  • primary practitioners of American ghost story, focusing on Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ambrose Bierce, Henry James, Mary E. Wilkins;
  • rise of American Ghost Story;
  • American supernatural fiction - profiting from general cultural and technological developments, with publishers hungry for short fiction;
  • Dickens's promotion of the ghostly tale - his interest in supernatural stories;
  • development of Spiritualism and of the ghost story - in the late 1840s and 1850s;
  • Ghost Stories by American men;
  • “The Tale of the German Student,” allowing the Gothic mood to develop fully rather than undercutting it with Irving's characteristic humor;
  • Poe's reputation as preeminent American Gothicist - surprisingly few actual ghost stories in his oeuvre


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • The Rise of the American Ghost Story

  • Ghost Stories by American Men

  • Ghost Stories by American Women

  • The Waning of the American Ghost Story

  • References and Further Reading