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This collection brings together, and sets into dialogue, Gothic works by a number of authors, men and women, black and white, which illuminate many of the deepest concerns and fears of nineteenth-century America. Among the themes in this conversation are the horror at illness and bodily decay, in an age with many incurable infectious diseases; the mutual mistrust of men and women, as gender roles shifted radically; the relationship of humans and machines; the horror that may lurk within outwardly normal families; and, inescapably, the tragedy of race relations in America. In this journey through nineteenth-century shadows, present-day readers should not be surprised to find uncomfortable and challenging parallels with the present. The collection contains short stories, novellas, and poems by some of America's best-known authors (Cooper, Hawthorne, Melville, Dickinson, Mark Twain), and others who are obscure or recently rediscovered, e.g. John Neal, Henry Clay Lewis, Alice Cary, Lafcadio Hearn. Writers long associated with the uncanny or supernatural appear, such as Charles Brockden Brown, Edgar Allen Poe, and Ambrose Bierce, as well as authors usually not placed within this tradition (Stephen Crane, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Frank Norris, for example). There is a strong representation of female Gothic, and African-American writers such as Charles Chesnutt who brilliantly anticipate the Gothic fiction of race in our own time.