The Annotated Supernatural Horror in Literature
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The Annotated Supernatural Horror in Literature

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4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  806 ratings  ·  55 reviews
H. P. Lovecraft's "Supernatural Horror in Literature," first published in 1927, is widely recognized as the finest historical survey of horror literature ever written. The product of both a keen critical analyst and a working practitioner in the field, the essay affords unique insights into the nature, development, and history of the weird tale. Beginning with instances of...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published January 1st 2000 by Hippocampus (first published 1927)
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Keely
Sometimes called 'the most important piece of literary criticism in the Horror genre', Lovecraft's essay on the history and method of supernatural horror is a great resource for readers and writers alike, as it mostly consists of a list of his favorite authors and their most notable and unusual stories. Really, an editor should go through the text, collect all the stories and authors Lovecraft mentions, and then make them into a shot story collection, with this essay as an introduction--hard to...more
Lee
Read this rad, free, typoriffic eBook accessible through goodreads, which led to downloading a dozen ePub files for books listed available via the Gutenberg Project. Not sure how many I'll actually read but, like Bolano's Between Parentheses, this explodes your to-read queue (out of respect for others' update streams, I only added one book I couldn't find at the Gutenberg Project site). Also I found this interesting in terms of going though 2666 again recently and noting bits apparently influenc...more
Nicole Cushing

Here's the good, the bad, and the ugly about this book:

The Good: If you read this book, you'll get a sense of the historical development of the dark "weird" tale (in the U.S. and Europe). If you're like me, you'll find yourself reading the various descriptions of stories and novels and finding yourself underlining them for future addition to your to be read list. That might be the coolest thing, actually...through this book, I've discovered all sorts of other authors I wouldn't have known about....more
Michael
Jun 15, 2014 Michael rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovecraftians, horror fans, literature students
Recommended to Michael by: Serendipity
Shelves: literary-studies
As someone who loves Lovecraft, but doesn’t care much for most of what passes for “horror” writing, this book is a wonderful readers’ guide for me. I’ve tracked down a number of the stories he recommended, and in general have found them quite enjoyable. Even in cases where I’m not as enthused as HPL was, (eg: Lord Dunsany), I’m interested to see the influences on my favorite writer of weird fiction. For others with as much interest in him as I have, this book is a must-read.

For the rest of you,...more
Donald
This started as a historical essay on weird fiction that was published in 1927 in a magazine called The Recluse. The edition I was able to find is a 1973 reprint of a 1945 reprint. Interesting that no one since has taken on the task of writing about writers, and that Lovecraft's thoughts have stood the test of time.

I've pulled some names out of this edition. Perhaps I can even find some of the novels mentioned and thereby see into the past in order to more understand supernatural horror today...
Kevin Lucia
Probably the only downside: SO comprehensive, I have no idea if I'll ever be able to read all the tales suggested. Highly recommended for anyone reading or writing in the horror genre. And highly readable, also.
Riina
Lovecraftin kirjoittama lyhyehkö artikkeli kauhukertomusten historiasta toimii hienosti nopeana läpileikkauksena aiheeseen. Se ei jää pohtimaan teosten merkittävyyttä, listaa ennenminkin kuin perehtyy ja arvottaa "lovecraftimaisen" kauhun muiden muotojen edelle, mutta samalla siitä välittyy myös kirjoittajan lukeneisuus ja katsauksen kattavuus. Erityisen mielenkiintoista oli huomata naiskirjailijoiden määrä tässä historiikissa.

Aiheesta kiinnostunut lukija voi huomata merkkailevansa miltei joka s...more
David B
This is HP Lovecraft's assessment of the state of supernatural fiction from its origins in pre-history (much of his celebrated racism figures in these theories) to the 1920s, when this slim volume was written. Since Lovecraft himself is such a titanic figure in American horror, his critical opinions on the genre are naturally of interest to anyone attracted to the topic. Here Lovecraft discourses at great length on his personal favorites, proving himself to be an expert summarizer. Anyone intere...more
Eija
Yliluonnollinen kauhu kirjallisuudessa käsittää H. P. Lovecraftin esseen kauhukirjallisuuden historiasta aina 1700-luvulta 1920-luvulle saakka. Varhaisessa kauhukirjallisuudessa ajan hengen mukaisesti tarinat sisältävät kauhun ohella sentimentaalisuutta ja romansseja. Lovecraft kritisoi juurikin näitä piirteitä monissa muuten ihailemissaan teoksissa.

Tätä tietokirjaa voi suositella kaikille kauhukirjallisuudesta ja sen historiasta kiinnostuneille ja se soveltuu hyvin myös aloitteleville kauhukir...more
Kenny
You could hardly hope for a better guide to the horror genre than H. P. Lovecraft. Not only is he near-universally acknowledged as the 20th century's greatest horror-story author, he seems to have read an impossible volume of the stuff. His knowledge is encyclopedic: generally with a survey written 80+ years ago, the writer's idea of what was most important doesn't line up with modern anthologists, critics, etc.; but with Lovecraft even "The Yellow Wallpaper" (for instance), anthologized now mai...more
Ana Martins
É um ensaio histórico fabuloso sobre horror sobrenatural feito por H. P. Lovecreft, que abrange um alargado príodo da história da literatura de terror de relatos, contos e romances desde contos populares, baladas e mitos da antiguidade e da Idade Média, passando pela época do Renascimento e pelos romances góticos, as histórias de fantasmas Vitorianas e escritores americandos pulp, e, dando vários exemplos de alguns autores e histórias mais conhecidas.
É um registo sobre autores como Edgar Allan P...more
S. I. Burgess
It breaks the heart to think that, for much of a sadly brief life, H.P. Lovecraft produced some of his best work as a studious amateur rather than as a sublime professional. 'Supernatural Horror in Literature' is a wonderful exploration of a literary feeling and mode that Lovecraft himself would have totally redefined within a decade of the essay's publication, but appreciation of it is dampened somewhat by the nagging thoughts; these 95 pages took two years to complete? And all for an unpaying,...more
Alejandro
Lovecraft's treatise on the horror genre isn't so much of a collection of dos-and-don'ts as it is an essay about what's worked and what hasn't. Essentially a long list of recommended works (many of which are summarized in HPL's uniquely opulent patois), this brief book is a reading list/who's who of the writers who have inspired (or annoyed) Lovecraft. Definitely recommended for those with an interest in the history of horror fiction.
Gabriel
Though a little too much of this is summarizing weird fiction tales/novels/poems and not enough is on the analysis of those stories, there are still moments in it that make it worth the read. The essay itself has been called the required reading list of early horror (and indeed, there is plenty of reading there; from gothic to Poe) and it does a nice job of creating a linear path from the Gothic tradition of old decrepit castles to the "modern" horror that was based in the sciences. While HP Lov...more
Gonzalo Oyanedel
Conjunto de ensayos, notas y apuntes que ofrecen un sólido retrato del autor, destacando su persistente interés en el horror y cómo éste se ha reflejado en la literatura a través del tiempo. Desde su precoz autobiografía hasta la ardiente apología de su cuento "Dagón" (al parecer denostado por sus contemporáneos), la selección enriquece el perfil del escritor acusando además la evolución de su prosa en el tiempo, resultando muy recomendables los textos dedicados a sus admirados Lord Dunsany, Rob...more
Henry
This book is, simply put, priceless. H.P Lovecraft, one of the most influential 20th century horror writers, reviews some of the best horror tales of all times. Make no mistake, if you know something of the man you can easily feel his voice. But, while as expected he promotes those writers that have similar cosmic views as his own, he still describes in detail the work of others whose "limited" or "traditional" views of man and his place in the universe greatly differ from his own. The man can p...more
K
This is a pretty good survey of weird/horror literature for it's time. H.P. Lovecraft does an excellent job of covering quite a bit of territory, but I wish there had been more depth to the novel.

From Wikipedia: Lovecraft examines the roots of weird fiction in the gothic novel (relying heavily on Edith Birkhead's 1921 survey The Tale of Terror), and traces its development through such writers as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe (who merits his own chapter), and Ambrose Bierce. Lovecraft nam...more
Raúl
Un resumen parcial, incompleto y bastante subjetivo de la historia de la literatura de horror. La visión del maestro Lovecraft es lo que defiende este texto, en el que podemos aprovechar las sugerencias de ciertos autores, como precursores e influencias posibles del genio de Providence. Aparte de eso, un estudio bastante pobre y en el que el autor no explica muchas de las bases que rigen su forma de evaluar textos. Por ejemplo, hay miles de referencias a lo que sería un "horror cósmico" sin que...more
Jim Perry
An interesting account of the development of horror in literature. What I found most interesting were all the authors cited. Plenty of new material to read, material Lovecraft found significant.
Duane
HP Lovecraft was a serious student of the work done within his chosen genre, and this book is evidence. Though written long, long ago, and discussing some works that are long (and undeservedly)-forgotten, the tenets that the Old Gent sets forth in this treatise still hold true to this day. Anyone seeking to work within the horror genre MUST have it. Those who wish to further their understanding of that genre, or of the Cthulhu Mythos specifically, SHOULD have it. The book itself is well-written...more
Jon
H.P. Lovecraft writes a nice little history of horror and supernatural literature. It's easy to read and comes from someone who really likes horror literature. I had hoped for a bit more analysis of the genre or authors/stories. A lot of the time he gives quick, spoiler synopses to tons of books and short stories that he really digs. With horror stories, I don't know if we want to be told the end before we read it. Oh well, the good thing is that he rattles off so many titles that there's reall...more
Ann
S. T. Joshi's annotations helped immensely with my understanding of Lovecraft's essay, particularly with the Gothic period authors (e.g. M. G. Lewis, et al) since that is the era with which I'm least familiar. Lovecraft assumes his reader has a depth of familiarity with the works discussed equal to his own, which might not be true of modern readers (at least it isn't for me!)

It's a shame Lovecraft died at such an early age; I would've loved to see his essay expanded into literature of the 1940s,...more
David Bonesteel
This is HP Lovecraft's assessment of the state of supernatural fiction from its origins in pre-history (much of his celebrated racism figures in these theories) to the 1920s, when this slim volume was written. Since Lovecraft himself is such a titanic figure in American horror, his critical opinions on the genre are naturally of interest to anyone attracted to the topic. Here Lovecraft discourses at great length on his personal favorites, proving himself to be an expert summarizer. Anyone intere...more
Benjamin Uminsky
This was a wonderful overview of the historical evolution of the weird tale... certainly a great starting point for anyone interested in learning about many of the "elder" influences on modern weird tale writers.

Lovecraft certainly identifies his favorites and is fairly blunt in his assessment of the various strengths and weaknesses of various weird tale writers.

I also appreciated Joshi's added research and commentary found in the footnotes... very enlightening.

Definitely recommended as a grea...more
Pat Gibbons
On one hand, an interesting slice about a fascinating subgenre of literature. On the other, it was a bit unorganized and tended to wander a bit. I think this may have originally been published in magazines which makes sense. It had the feel of a casual conversation from one academic expert to a group of regular, ordinary academics. A starting point, perhaps, of a larger, more organized work. Definitely intriguing and will give you ideas for a ton of future reading material.
Rui Bastos
Um espectacular ensaio sobre a literatura fantástica, nomeadamente sobre o terror na literatura fantástica, que não me deixou indiferente ao profundo conhecimento literário do autor, H.P. Lovecraft (ele próprio um mestre do terror), e que me ensinou muitas coisas sobre este tipo de livros...

Aconselho, definitivamente, a toda a gente, mas em especial a fãs desta literatura fantástica e de terror!

Pode é ser difícil de encontrar...
Phil Slattery
A fascinating introduction and history of the supernatural in horror literature from its earliest beginnings in the 18th century to the 1920s. Anyone who wants a good, solid grounding in horror literature should read this as the authors and trends Lovecraft describe influence us to this day. It is also fascinating because some of the concepts and ideas that horror writers once had and are now forgotten are still truly mind-blowing.
Leah
Rating: 4 of 5

Supernatural Horror in Literature proved a helpful resource, by one of the genre's masters, for fans of literary horror. I daresay there's enough included in the pages of this essay to keep readers busy for a couple years at least. However, don't expect in-depth analysis of the works mentioned. Now, the fun part begins ... reading the books Lovecraft suggested.
Rowan
Lovecraft's analysis is still one of the most quoted and quote-able.
Insightful and erudite, but a little dated. This edition has a great introduction which points out the flaws and explains them. No-one would use this information in isolation anyway and it's worth reading for the definition of cosmic horror alone.
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9494
Howard Phillips Lovecraft, of Providence, Rhode Island, was an American author of horror, fantasy and science fiction.

Lovecraft's major inspiration and invention was cosmic horror: life is incomprehensible to human minds and the universe is fundamentally alien. Those who genuinely reason, like his protagonists, gamble with sanity. Lovecraft has developed a cult following for his Cthulhu Mythos, a...more
More about H.P. Lovecraft...
The Best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories At the Mountains of Madness and Other Tales of Terror At the Mountains of Madness The Transition of H. P. Lovecraft: The Road to Madness

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“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” 1059 likes
“The one test of the really weird (story) is simply this--whether or not there be excited in the reader a profound sense of dread, and of contact with unknown spheres and powers; a subtle attitude of awed listening, as if for the beating of black wings or the scratching of outside shapes and entities on the known universe's utmost rim.” 16 likes
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