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The Man Whom the Trees Loved

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  295 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
This story of a man’s deep connection with nature and his wife’s fear of it, inserts a tendril of fear into your mind where it grows into a green tangle that will grab your heart and make it react with fear or love depending on whose perspepective you are most drawn to, the man's or his wife's. Either way it will stay with you as Algernon Blackwood's powerful, unusual work ...more
Hardcover, 112 pages
Published by (first published 1912)
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Debbie Zapata
Nov 24, 2014 Debbie Zapata rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gutenberg
Algernon Blackwood, according to wiki, was "one of the most prolific writers of ghost stories in the history of the genre." I don't usually read ghost stories, my imagination is too vivid and I end up more spooked than the spooks. But the title of this book intrigued me.

We first read about Sanderson the painter, but a painter whose special talent is understanding and capturing on canvas the personalities of trees. At first I thought Sanderson would be The Man, but he was not. He is the catalyst
Of all stories by Algernon Blackwood that I've read so far, The Man Whom the Trees Loved is my least favorite. This is not to say that it's a completely bad one - I just didn't enjoy like the ones I read before it.

The Man Whom the Trees Loved is a weird tale, which can be seen as an early precursor of the ever popular horror trope of the Killer Plant. It's concerned with Sophia and David Bittacy living in a house on the edge of a great forest, in which David develops a deep interest. The story i
Jun 01, 2016 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic, horror

A man who loves nature and his wife, a woman who loves God and her husband, this long married couple living in a house near the edge of the forest in the English countryside. What a peaceful-sounding life and a wholesome, balanced relationship this scenario brings to mind--if only it were so. Not in the hands of this short story's author, Algernon Blackwood, known for his gothic and supernatural horror stories.

This one, written in 1912, was more along the lines of psychological horror, or was i
May 01, 2011 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, review
Review from Badelynge
David Bittacy and his wife have been happily married for decades. Mr Bittacy has another love though. He loves nature. More specifically he loves trees. So when he discovers an artist who paints portraits of trees in a way that captures their individuality... their personality even, he decides to invite the artist to stay at his home. The two men are kindred spirits, both believing that trees have souls... that God is in the trees. Over a long night gazing at the trees that
May 30, 2011 Lou rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This author does atmosphere eeriness and melancholy well. This story is an example of some of his splendid works. Blackwood is a master word user and writes with wonderful prose.
There is one painter who has an obsession with the plant world, trees in particular. He loves them more than just artistically.
Does there exist in plants a faint copy of what we know as consciousness in ourselves?
It seems that he the husband Mr Bittacy the painter of trees an artist does believe so.
His wife the main prot
Amberle Husbands
Mar 01, 2013 Amberle Husbands rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
One of those that you don't realize is as frightening as it is... until you walk outside and the trees are making noises.
Oct 28, 2012 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
Algernon Blackwood explores so many topics that are usually found in occult textbooks - it is very rare to see ceremonial magick and metaphysical topics presented in novel format. I am completely addicted to Blackwood's novels and stories ;)

This book is based on the premise that nature is more powerful than man. The trees/forest lure a man to join them, to become one with them, to become them. Of course, the man's wife is scared of the trees, and frightened of the outcome ... this could be taken
Portia S
Jan 09, 2012 Portia S rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like trees
I am a person who enjoys nature and would think I have a certain connexion to the those of the vegetable kingdom, however, I never before fathomed the intimacies one would have with trees until I read this novel. The beauty of the book is how they touched on the fallacies of religion, with the beliefs of Mrs Bittacy contrasting to her husband's love for the forest, and the obviously amorous feelings that they had for him. Her faith in God did not seem to protect her from their jealous actions, a ...more
Nov 01, 2013 Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, dark, e-book, 2013
The Willows was a story that kept popping up in my Goodreads recommendations, and a few weeks ago, I finally downloaded it as a free e-book. I had initially planned on getting a hard copy, but it was hard to argue with free. As I was doing more research into the author, though, I noticed a couple of reviews that mentioned another short novel, The Man Whom the Trees Loved, which was supposed to be even more effective than The Willows, so I checked its availability, too. It was also free! So I dow ...more
The Story Which the Trees Might Love

… because it is slow enough for them to follow it at their leisure.

Like The Wendigo, The Man Whom the Trees Loved is concerned with the unfathomed forces embodied in nature, forces that some men – and we do not know whether these are to be pitied or envied – are able to perceive and to commune with. In this story, Blackwood gives us an elderly couple, whose love seems to have taken on the form of politeness early on, living on the brink of a forest. David Bitt
Feb 28, 2013 Nick rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Forest rangers, insomniacs looking for a cure
T.S. Eliot once said that he would show us "fear in a handful of dust." Blackwood, it seems, was trying to show us fear in a forest of trees. It could have worked, I guess. Tolkien's Mirkwood forest gave me the creeps. The Black Forest of German fairytales has often given me the willies, but here something fell flat. If a tree falls in the forest when no one is around does anyone care?

Perhaps it started with title. It sounds more like a bad Hallmark film than a scary tale. I mean The Willows was
Martha Sockel
This story was first published in 1912, over 40 years before Tolkien described to us the lively trees of The Old Forest east of The Shire, or Treebeard and the Ents and Huorns of Fangorn Forest. In Algernon Blackwood's tale, an old gentleman living on the edge of The New Forest is turning treeish. His wife is helpless to prevent the change and he tries to encourage her to join him on his strange odyssey. There is a beautiful old cedar growing on their lawn between the house and the forest, that ...more
Justin Covey
Mar 05, 2013 Justin Covey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A masterpiece of horror. I've never read a book more successful at sustaining such an atmosphere of menace and gradually building dread. Describing the plot, which could be ultimately reduced to “evil trees”, makes it sound like a comedy. But the best horror comes not from making something alien and horrible, but taking the familiar and comfortable and transforming it into the alien and horrible. Writing that kind of horror is a near impossible task. If you break the readers immersion for an ins ...more
Apr 30, 2014 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
This is a wonderful and deep meditation upon Nature and human nature. I think it would best be absorbed with a leisurely read in a place where you can hear the wind rustle through the tree branches. Pause every once in a while and look out at them and wonder.
Algernon had such a way with words. No matter how fantastical a story, each feels believable when I'm immersed in his writing. This was eerie and strange and one of his few stories I have read in which a woman is the protagonist.
Prattle On, Boyo
Jun 12, 2013 Prattle On, Boyo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Prattle On, by: Movies, music, tech, sun, sand, surf, mt. biking.
Written in 1912 by prolific, English ghost story writer, Algernon Blackwood, this tale draws you in not so much for any obvious oddities or strangeness coming from the forest as much as it is the absolute dread of the unknown as personified by the protagonist's wife. We know that David Bittacy has an unusual affinity for the trees, but what we don't know is why (and neither does he) until it is all made clear to him by his friend, artist & poet, Sanderson, Mrs. Bittacy's mortal enemy. Horror ...more
Brian Cooke
Jul 27, 2011 Brian Cooke rated it really liked it
A simply fantastic peace of work. far fetched certainly and a shallow appraisal would be tempting, except that it would be such an awful disservice to the characters and their situation. It's been a while since I cared about someone in a short story this much. The setting and the circumstances facing them are all at once horrific and beautiful in a way that resonates with my own love for the outdoors, because it allows me to "get it". Devotion is not exlusive, and one can be found through anothe ...more
Suzanne moodhe
A good, creepy read. The wife in this book is characterized as a nagging, weak-tempered Christian, superstitious and just down right stupid. Wondering about the misogynistic views that may or may not be running rampant through this book? Seems like they are not only running but banging on a gigantic tin drum. Algernon has something going on here in his division of the sexes. However, in the nature of its gesture- which is to be scary, The Man Whom the Trees loved is a satisfying scare.

Judy"Intergalactic Bookworm"
Nov 24, 2007 Judy"Intergalactic Bookworm" rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
This story can be found at

This is a well-written "word picture" story about how something you love can get the better of you and take over your life and strain the relationships that you have with other people. This is the first story that I have read by Algernon Blackwood and normally I do not like horror stories, I liked this one and will try other stories by him.
Oct 24, 2012 Faby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i love they this persons describes the past and the trees and the feelings in the pains
Mar 09, 2013 Tina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was really sexist and thus lost a star. Even considering the time frame the rampant gender classifications and degradation of the female mind became overwhelming.
Feb 26, 2012 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nature, fiction, plants, trees
A vivid but disturbing vision of nature and nature lovers.
Feb 23, 2013 Sienna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, 2013
This is a deeply flawed, awkwardly paced story with a rich and disturbing vein of sexism that I'm sure other irritated, enlightened twenty-first-century reviewers have taken to task already. (Far be it from me to mirror the thoughts of others "like many women.") What I want to talk about is how exquisite The Man Whom the Trees Loved is in spite of these faults. It begins magically:

He painted trees as by some special divining instinct of their essential qualities. He understood them.

These sente
Dec 14, 2015 Mo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I'm not entirely certain how to describe this book. It is neither plot driven or character driven but almost atmosphere driven. It is quite slow paced, in fact almost nothing happens in it. And it is made more difficult to describe by the fact that it is about a vague and invisible consciousness or force.

I was initially drawn in by the prose, which is beautiful, and by a sense of the eerie and surreal. I think that it may be classified as psychological horror, but it seems to defy that definitio
Mar 19, 2015 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I looked at this story from a different perspective than most of the other reviewers. I thought that this story was less about the general creepiness of trees and more about the wife going slowly insane. I began reading it as this about halfway through, and there is nothing that happens in the story that could not be attributed to the wife's mind suffering some kind of mental degradation. If that is indeed how Blackwood intended this story, then it is a masterpiece.
Apr 03, 2012 arg/machine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Creepy dark fantasy from Mr. Blackwood. In the public domain, with a free electronic copy here.
May 09, 2017 Steph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
it's easy to read the naggy christian wife as an indication that this is about a man's latent (queer(?)) sexuality manifesting itself for the first time, but, eschewing all things freud-y, for me I think it's really just about the trees. blackwood's prose personifies with reckless abandon, steadily morphing the familiar into the alien.
this read doesn't make the sexism/condescension go away, but I appreciate that, by the plot's necessity, the reader is specifically put into the woman's position
Mar 21, 2017 Vilmibm rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
latent misogyny and extremely boring. nice descriptions of a forest i guess.
Tauki Tahmid
Jun 15, 2016 Tauki Tahmid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I guess the good thing about this book is, how vividly painted the words are. This one guy, who's the main character, you could get lost in his individuality. This is truly amazing how Blackwood's word can paint his emotions and perspective into the readers own imagination when no one has the same way of looking at something since the underlying emotion toward every word and every pattern is unique to individuals. Even though perhaps some of the pattern may seem vague, but Blackwood did an amazi ...more
Stuart Aken
Modern readers may find this short novel too wordy, which is a shame, as it's a well-told story. But it is undeniably written in the style of its age, with a good deal of description and not a great amount of action.

The central characters are all very fully drawn and their interactions are beautifully set out on the page. This is a strange tale, founded in the paranormal genre, but bordering on horror and definitely laced with subtle menace. The God's eye point of view won't be to everyone's ta
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Blackwood was born in Shooter's Hill (today part of south-east London, but then part of northwest Kent) and educated at Wellington College. His father was a Post Office administrator who, according to Peter Penzoldt, "though not devoid of genuine good-heartedness, had appallingly narrow religious ideas".Blackwood had a varied career, farming in Canada, operating a hotel, as a newspaper reporter in ...more
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“The impulse came to her clairvoyantly, and she obeyed without a sign of hesitation. Deeper comprehension would come to her of the whole awful puzzle. And come it did, yet not in the way she imagined and expected.” 5 likes
“And, with the dark, the Forest came up boldly and pressed against the very walls and windows, peering in upon them, joining hands above the slates and chimneys.” 0 likes
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