Uncanny Stories by May Sinclair

Uncanny Stories

May Sinclair was an innovator of modern fiction, a late Victorian who was also a precursor to Virginia Woolf. In her Uncanny Stories (1923), Sinclair combines the traditional ghost story with the discoveries of Freud and Einstein. The stories shock, enthral, delight and unsettle. Two lovers are doomed to repeat their empty affair for the rest of eternity... A female telepath is forced to face the consequences of her actions... The victim of a vio...

Details Uncanny Stories

TitleUncanny Stories
Release DateApr 28th, 2019
PublisherWordsworth Editions
GenreHorror, Short Stories, Fiction, Gothic, Ghost Stories, Speculative Fiction, Classics, Literature, 20th Century, Fantasy, Supernatural

Reviews Uncanny Stories

  • Bill Kerwin
    May Sinclair (1863--1946) is yet another example of those strong-willed Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian women who wrote to support a hapless family. In 1881, May's father, having devoted himself to drink after a business failure, died, leaving behind a wife, six sons (four with debilitating heart ailments, three who would be dead within ten years), and eighteen year old May, newly enrolled at Cheltenham's Ladies College. Compelled to forsake h...
  • Paul
    4.5 starsIf you like your ghost stories slightly more subtle with a modernist edge then these may be for you. The introduction suggests that Sinclair combines the nineteenth century ghost story tradition with insights from Freud and Einstein. The concept of the uncanny is developed by Freud as meaning familiar but somehow incongruous with an element of cognitive dissonance. I can see point, but it can be stretched a little far. The last (and best...
  • Mimi
    In his famous Supernatural Horror in Literature H.P. Lovecraft characterised May Sinclair’s stories as consisting:“more of “traditional occultism” than of that creative treatment of fear which masks mastery in this field, and are inclined to lay more stress on human emotions and psychological delving than upon the stark phenomena of a cosmos utterly unreal.” Despite Lovecraft’s ambivalence about writers steeped in occult lore – spir...
  • Randolph
    What distinguishes Sinclair’s stories from the rest of the Victorian spooks is their variety. They don’t repeat themselves. They also rise above the level of merely miming the popular ghost tales of the time. Although all the stories involve the supernatural, these stories are hardly ever meant to be frightening so they fall into more of the strange tale category.Sinclair also gives the impression of a feminist still in the closet. I don’t ...
  • Kirsty
    I have been coveting a copy of Uncanny Stories by May Sinclair for such a long time. She is an author whom I was originally focusing upon in my current postgraduate thesis, and whilst my scope has changed since I began my project, I am still very keen to read her entire oeuvre. This particular book proved rather difficult to find, but I struck gold by keeping my eye on Abebooks, and finding a copy which was around £20 cheaper than those which I ...
  • Ana
    "Where their Fire is not Quenched" is a highly unsettling and creepy story about an adulterous couple who are damned to continue their loathsome, loveless relationship for all eternity. (3 stars)"The Token" is a ghost story about a wife who died with an important question in her life unanswered. She revisits her husband's study in search for the answer to the mystery she had never solved while alive. (3 stars)"The Flaw in the Crystal" is about a ...
  • James
    May Sinclair's body of modernist paranormal fiction is small but worth investigating for its precise and delicate use of language, its uncanny atmosphere and the gothic tension that gradually builds.This volume collects eight of her uncanny stories that are united by the themes of realisation in the face of once-hidden knowledge and the intermingling of the lives of the living and the dead; "The Token" and "The Victim" particularly are good examp...
  • Jim
    Note: This book contains the title collection and adds the title story to one of Sinclair's later collections. The upcoming collection of Sinclair's complete supernatural work, THE VILLA DESIREE, will contain the complete contents of UNCANNY STORIES and THE INTERCESSOR &c., as well as the five supernatural stories in TALES TOLD BY SIMPSON.
  • Mel
    have to say I found these stories to be a little disappointing. They were supposed to be a more psychological ghost story, but were just a little odd. I think the nicest was a story called "The Intercessor" about a man who stayed in a haunted cottage with a family and had to solve the mystery of the dead child that he heard crying every night. It was a very nice story; the man had no fear of the child ghost and just set about setting things right...
  • Lynley
    I've no doubt about the influence of May Sinclair on the ghost story, and how she's overlooked as a major influence. But I found these stories hard work in a boring kind of way, probably because she's been emulated a lot in the interim, and I feel like I've already seen what's in here.Also, I have a really hard job enjoying anything too Freudian.
  • Judy
    I found this an uneven collection - some of the stories I loved, others I wasn't so sure about. A powerful Gothic writer, anyway.
  • Kathryn
    This book contains eight short stories and an introduction by Paul March-Russell.The introduction is mostly an analysis of the stories in the book, and would have probably made more sense to me if I'd read it after I'd finished the book. “Where their Fire is not Quenched” is about two lovers who are having an empty affair and end up having to spend eternity repeating it. I found this story a bit confusing as it jumps through the years quite q...
  • David
    Overall, I enjoyed these quite a bit, although a few of the author's (Freudian) conceits get worn a little thin through repetition, though the remedy is simple: I'd suggest dipping into this one occassionally, rather than reading straight through. Lots of unrequited, repressed or unconsumated love driving psyches into wierd assignations beyond death, which is a charmingly creepy idea. "The Nature of the Evidence" is a great brief example of this,...
  • Jailan El-Rafie
    Reading this book was a sharp turn for me since I usually read modern supernatural fiction, but an enjoyable one - although the technicalities of the somewhat old English were challenging. As far as horror stories go, I wasn't terrified or thrilled, but rather intrigued by the various shades of human nature that Sinclair showed throughout the book. It was fascinating how, for example in "The Intercessor" and "If the Dead Knew," she manages to mak...
  • Tyrannosaurus regina
    I wasn't sure what I was going to think of this, because I tend to find older horror and supernatural stories too gentle, too slow, or too formal and mannered for my taste. But when it comes to ghost stories, all of those things can work in their favour. From the intimate to the existential, May Sinclair's stories were a constant surprise to me, and a couple of them gnawed at my brain long after I finished reading them.
  • Jack
    A really good set of ghost stories from May Sinclair. The stories themselves are pretty solid. There's only one that I didn't particularly care for. However, as an artifact of an early 1900's female viewpoint, there is a lot that can be learned from them. The ghost stories read as allegories for the female experience, and are quite fascinating in that regard.
  • Val
    This is a collection of eight stories. They are not 'ghost stories' in the traditional sense and are surprisingly modern for the time. There are elements of the supernatural, but also a lot of psychology and a feminist sensibility.
  • Dylan Rock
    A superb collection of supernatural/ weird fiction from a criminally unknown author May Sinclair can't recommend this collection enough
  • Michael
    uncanny and rather dull.