First Impressions Saturday: Classic Tales of the Macabre

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During my third day in Graz I discovered a bookstore with a section of books in English. My intentions were not dishonest, I really did not intend to buy anything, I merely wanted to know where I could buy in Graz a book in English if I get the craving. Oh was I wrong. Buchhandlung Moser is located next to Jakominiplatz in the centre of the city. In the next two days I purchased Richard Dawkin’s The Selfish Gene (2006 edition) and The Greatest Show on Earth (2010 edition), The Grand Design (2011 edition) by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow and Classic Tales of the Macabre (2011).

I am familiar with most authors in the book and recognized some of the short stories, however, I had not read a single one of them.

Yesterday night I had a chance to read two of them: the famous “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and “The Damned Thing” by W.W. Jacobs. The stories can be found in various editions and although I enjoyed them, especially “The Yellow Wallpaper” this is not the reason why I decided to include this volume in The First Impression Saturdays. It is the physical beauty of this edition that I think should be of interest to any macabre and horror fiction enthusiast.

The front cover presents a painting by Arnold Böcklin, The Self Portrait (1872) and the back cover features an engraving by Cornelius Huyberts of one of Frederick Ruysch’s anatomical dioramas. 20160409_090915

The protective cover protects a red hardcover with the name of the collection spelled out in gold on the side of the book (and featuring the classic bookmark!):

As if this was not already enough, the edges are gold and have a distinctive glare:

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Collector’s Library has published other collections which all have the golden lettering and edges and have roughly the same design: http://www.collectors-library.com/

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The collection also contains an introduction by David Stuart Davies, an author of both fiction and non fiction books, and a short biography of all writers included in the volume.

Classic Tales of the Macabre is a good introduction to the tales of the macabre for readers who are unfamiliar with the genre. The experienced readers who might already possess some of these stories  in other collections, will be impressed by the design and its details.

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