Tales of the uncanny

Jenny Davidson writes,

I [Davidson] find myself only very infrequently really loving regular contemporary grown-up literary short stories . . . but both as a child and in my adult life I have had a complete passion for what might be called tales of the uncanny. . . Robert Louis Stevenson, the more thrilling efforts of Henry James, Saki’s stories (which are funny rather than primarily uncanny, but it’s the exception that proves the rule), Joan Aiken’s absolutely wonderful tales and also, and most particularly, the stories of Roald Dahl . . and Poe . . . and Sherlock Holmes. . . . that kind of story is how you get from reading children’s books to grown-up ones; crime fiction also provides a useful bridge.

I’m with her on Stevenson and would also add John Collier, who wrote somewhat low-grade versions of these twisty stories in the first half of the last century. I have this book called Bedside Tales from around 1940 (I found it at a tag sale, I think) that’s full of really fun short stories, including very readable ones from Fitzgerald, Hemingway, etc., as well as John Collier and others (and also that story that always found its way into anthologies, “The Most Dangerous Game,” about the rich guy who hunts people for sport). The book also had a silly, yet perfect, Peter Arno cover, but unfortunately I lent it to someone who lost the dust jacket. Who are these people who think that the dust jacket doesn’t matter??

1 thought on “Tales of the uncanny

  1. In regard to collaboration, could we hypothesize that the collaborative environment allows for co-construction of knowledge in a community sense. In that sense –if we know it's the learners who are doing the constructing in their own heads, then we (as teachers) can let go of the idea that we are somehow in their heads controlling every synapse as long as they are all quiet and seated in rows. We also may let go of the idea that learning something/anything is enough. It's optimization we can go after once we know that learning is a constant. So part of constructivism is about qualitative dimensions of learning.

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