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Literary Gothic
October 31, 2002 3:02 PM   Subscribe

Literary Gothic offers up a splendid smorgasboard of literary ghosts, ghouls, goblins, and, of course, gothic. As a Victorianist, I have a particular predilection for their ghost stories. Many more Victorian tales of the terrifying--and just plain weird--can be found at this site, which also features an ongoing reading group. [more inside]
posted by thomas j wise (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Those interested in early ghosts and gore more generally should keep their eyes peeled for anthologies edited by Chris Baldick, Michael Cox, Richard Dalby, Hugh Greene, and Peter Haining. My favorite horror writer in the twentieth century is probably Shirley Jackson, both for "The Lottery" (great twist ending) and her short novel The Haunting of Hill House (terrific use of suggestive imagery). What else do people read by flashlight underneath the covers--much to their later regret when they realize they really, really need to turn the lights on, right now?
posted by thomas j wise at 3:15 PM on October 31, 2002


being a Victorianist, you often find yourself using phrases like "particular predilection." how delicious!
posted by mcsweetie at 3:31 PM on October 31, 2002


Well, in my opinion it's clear that Lovecraft did the most to define what horror was in the 20th century. I don't think he was a good enough writer to pull off his ideas as well as they deserved, but the new terrrrortory he opened up was significant.

On another note, I read a short story once that began with the coolest line ever.

"The shortest horror story in the world is this: The last man on earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock at the door."

Anybody know the source?
posted by Hildago at 4:18 PM on October 31, 2002


"Author unknown", aka "Anonymous", Hildago - but those two sentence cause a chill in the spine. Perhaps someone will read this and 'fess up?
posted by vers at 4:45 PM on October 31, 2002


Lovely! Bookmark, bookmark, bookmark, click, click, print, click, read. Thanks, thomas j wise!

Dammit; there are so many good posts today, I'm practically spinning on my heels from so many thanking and drooling.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:50 PM on October 31, 2002


I absolutely love the work of M. R. James.

Many of his stories involve the antiquarian's thrill of discovering different places to explore and documents to puzzle over.

His ghosts are innovative enough (though he did stay within the form) that his fiction tickles the same part of my brain as pioneering progressive rock.
posted by kurumi at 5:05 PM on October 31, 2002


Wonderful links, TJW! I wasn't aware of the Literary Gothic. I love turn of the century weird horror (One day, I'll name my first child Enoch Soames--whether it's a boy or a girl.)

And if you're not scared enough already, now that you've read the stories, maybe you'll want to sink your teeth into Montague (no relation to Buffy that I know of) Summers's Guide to Vampires.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:54 PM on October 31, 2002


Thanks for the great links TJW, this should keep me busy for a while.
posted by Tarrama at 9:05 PM on October 31, 2002


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