Throughout his illustrious writing career, Charles Dickens often turned his hand to fashioning short pieces of ghostly fiction. Even in his first successful work, Pickwick Papers, you will find five ghost stories, all of which are included in this collection. Dickens began the tradition of the "ghost story at Christmas" and many of his tales in this genre are presented here including the brilliant novella, "The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain," which deserves to be as well known as A Christmas Carol. While all his supernatural tales aim to chill the spine, they are not without the usual traits of Dickens' flamboyant style, his subtle wit, biting irony, humorous incidents, and moral observations. It is a mixture which makes these stories fascinating and entertaining as well as unsettling. To paraphrase the Fat Boy in Pickwick Papers: Charles Dickens "wants to make your flesh creep."
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Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth in 1812, the son of a clerk and the second of eight children. He taught himself shorthand and became a reporter of parliamentary debates before starting to publish sketches in various periodicals, which were later collected together as Sketches by Boz. His future career as a novelist was assured with the appearance of Pickwick Papers in 1836AE"37. Following this success, there was a run of hugely popular serialised novels including Barnaby Rudge (1841). His interests in ghosts found its greatest success in his 1843 novel, A Christmas Carol. He wrote many short ghost stories over the years, taking particular delight in setting them during the Christmas season. Dickens always had a love of acting and in later life he toured extensively, including trips to America, giving dramatised readings from his own works. His last novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, remained uncompleted when he died in 1870.
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