The Uninhabited House
  • Publication Date: March 21, 2022
  • ISBN: 9781554815036 / 1554815037
  • 264 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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The Uninhabited House

  • Publication Date: March 21, 2022
  • ISBN: 9781554815036 / 1554815037
  • 264 pages; 5½" x 8½"

Charlotte Riddell’s The Uninhabited House (1875) tells the story of River Hall and the secrets that are hidden behind its doors. Within this haunted house, Riddell combines the supernatural with Victorian anxieties over stolen inheritance, crime, greed, and class mobility. This new Broadview Edition includes a detailed biography of Charlotte Riddell and illustrations from the original appearance of the novella in Routledge’s Magazine; it also includes Riddell’s ghost story “The Open Door” (1882), which serves as a useful companion text for The Uninhabited House.

The contextual material in the edition highlights Victorian cultural, historical, and literary influences on Riddell’s text, including women’s contributions to the ghost story, print culture, and the development of supernatural fiction; the link between ghost stories and the holidays; and the haunted house, ghost hunting, and popular beliefs about ghosts in the Victorian era.


“Melissa Edmundson has given us a well-supported edition of this haunted-house novel by an important Irish novelist who takes as her métier mid-century London—its clerks, suburbs, and shabby gentility. Those unfamiliar with Charlotte Riddell will find this a pleasure to read, and those who have wished to teach her work—and the long-form Victorian ghost story more broadly—will find this invaluable. A prolific and very successful writer, Riddell showcases her eye for detail and sense of humor in this, one of her most-loved novels.” — Pamela K. Gilbert, University of Florida

The Uninhabited House is one of the best ghost stories of the nineteenth century—by one of the genre’s finest writers. While Charlotte Riddell was a bestselling and prolific novelist and short-story writer, she has been neglected and even ignored for decades and is only now attracting the kind of critical and scholarly attention that her work deserves. Edmundson’s comprehensive Introduction places both the author and her novel in relation to the reinvention of Christmas and the obsession with ghosts and haunted houses that were features of late Victorian life. The appendices provide a fascinating insight into the ways in which concerns about property and the preternatural were deeply intertwined in the late nineteenth century. This is a very welcome addition to Broadview’s extensive range of nineteenth-century texts.” — Jarlath Killeen, Trinity College Dublin

Charlotte Riddell: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text

The Uninhabited House

Appendix A: Literary and Biographical Contexts

  • 1. From Mrs. J.H. Riddell, “The Miseries of Christmas,” Routledge’s Christmas Annual (December 1867)
  • 2. [Raymond Blathwayt], “Lady Novelists—A Chat with Mrs. J.H. Riddell,” Pall Mall Gazette (18 February 1890)
  • 3. From Helen C. Black, “Mrs. Riddell,” Notable Women Authors of the Day (1893)

Appendix B: “The Open Door”

  • 1. Mrs. J.H. Riddell, “The Open Door,” Weird Stories (1882)

Appendix C: Contemporary Views on Ghosts, Haunted Houses, and Dream States

  • 1. From Catherine Crowe, The Night Side of Nature (1848)
  • 2. From F. Anstey [Anstey Guthrie], “The Decay of the British Ghost,” Longman’s Magazine (January 1884)
  • 3. From Andrew Lang, Cock Lane and Common-sense (1894)
  • 4. From William Fishbough, “The Spirit World Illustrated from Dream Life,” The Spiritual Magazine (February 1872)

Appendix D: The Business of London City Life

  • 1. From F.G. Trafford [Charlotte Riddell], George Geith of Fen Court (1865)
  • 2. From George Augustus Sala, “Houses to Let,” Gaslight and Daylight (1872)
  • 3. From Edward F. Turner, The Organisation of a Solicitor’s Office (1886)
  • 4. From Francis Davenant, What Shall My Son Be? (1870)
  • 5. From Charles Edward Parsons, Clerks: Their Position and Advancement (1876)

Select Bibliography and Recommended Reading

Melissa Edmundson is Senior Lecturer of English at Clemson University.