Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Modern Weird Tale” as Want to Read:
The Modern Weird Tale
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Modern Weird Tale

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  74 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
This is a critical study of many of the leading writers of horror and supernatural fiction since World War II. The primary purpose is to establish a canon of weird literature, and to distinguish the genuinely meritorious writers of the past fifty years from those who have obtained merely transient popular renown. Accordingly, the author regards the complex, subtle work of ...more
Paperback, 278 pages
Published June 30th 2001 by McFarland & Company (first published March 8th 2001)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Modern Weird Tale, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Modern Weird Tale

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 182)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Bill  Kerwin
Dec 17, 2015 Bill Kerwin rated it liked it
Shelves: weird-fiction
Joshi treats the weird tale--as all critics should treat it--as a distinct and worthwhile genre, and consequently seeks to establish a canon of works by using the criteria of 1) literary merit, 2) the presence of the weird and uncanny (as opposed to mere horror or suspense) and 3) the consistent logic of the author's world. Using these criteria, he judges Shirley Jackson, Robert Aickman, Ramsey Campbell, T.E.D. Klein and Thomas Ligotti as masters of the form, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Peter St ...more
Jun 10, 2013 Neale rated it liked it
S. T. Joshi, the eminent Lovecraft scholar, is not so much a literary critic as a bibliographer with opinions. Strong ones. But his opinions are invariably worth reading, even – perhaps particularly – at their most truculent and (occasionally) pedantic.

He is unashamedly elitist, while at the same time aware that the literature that he loves most is considered, by other shameless elitists, as rubbish. This makes him simultaneously critical and defensive, which may be why he often seems in a bad
Jun 29, 2015 Jonathan rated it really liked it
Out of the cannon of horror writers since the pulp era (particularly the 50's onward) who can be considered truly "weird"? This is the underlying topic of The Modern Weird Tale by S.T. Joshi, preeminent Lovecraft scholar.

What I learned from Joshi regarding the "weird" authors of the post-Lovecraft/Machen/Blackwood era:
Shirley Jackson,T.E.D. Klein, Ramsey Campbell, Robert Aickman and Thomas Ligotti are class A writers.

Peter Straub, Anne Rice, Clive Barker and Stephen King are shite.

It is clear
Nicole Cushing
Jun 02, 2012 Nicole Cushing rated it really liked it
This book is a collection of literary criticism focusing on several late-20th century authors of what is often called "horror fiction" and sometimes called "the weird tale". Joshi focuses on the following authors: Shirley Jackson, William Peter Blatty, Stephen King, T.E.D. Klein, Clive Barker, Robert Bloch, Thomas Harris, Bret Easton Ellis, Thomas Tyron, Peter Straub, Robert Aickman, Anne Rice, and Thomas Ligotti.

I greatly enjoyed the Shirley Jackson essay. I've not read a huge amount of Jackso
Benjamin Uminsky
Apr 28, 2012 Benjamin Uminsky rated it really liked it
Shelves: scholarly-study
Well, I can't say I entirely agree with Joshi's views on everything in this book, but by and large, his evaluation of the modern weird tale is well researched and reflective of a quality review and assessment. Much of this book is one chapter after another deconstructing an author who he sees making very little literary contribution through their work, juxtaposed with another chapter evaluating an author whose work has literary merit. Joshi is of course very high on the less commercialized but c ...more
Nathan Sturm
Jan 26, 2015 Nathan Sturm rated it really liked it
This borderline-polemic survey of weird/horror fiction post-Lovecraft is entertaining as well as informative. Joshi's attacks on poorly-thought-out religious messages and on several of the dull conventions of popular writing approach laugh-out-loud territory, even if I don't fully agree with him on everything (as I feel that some of Stephen King's and Clive Barker's early short stories are actually quite good). However, even when critical of an author overall, he usually has nice things to say a ...more
Apr 01, 2012 Richard rated it liked it
I disagree with Joshi on many, if not most of his points.

There are plenty of reasons to criticize Stephen King, but "he doesn't give reasons for the weird stuff" seems a poor one, especially since plenty of the authors that he praises don't give any justification (scientific or otherwise) for the weird phenomena in their stories.

The larger problem is that too much of this book is a summary of plots, which gets tedious quickly. I would rather Joshi spent more time analyzing fewer works.
Jack Wolfe
Oct 08, 2014 Jack Wolfe rated it it was amazing
For the young person of discerning literary taste who wants to get into "weird" fiction, S.T. Joshi is a godsend. What he have here is a practically heroic undertaking: an effort to evaluate horror and science fiction stories purely on their aesthetic merits; i.e., not on their nerdy or sociological aspects. The man is incredibly well-read and a pretty damn aesthetic writer himself, so I trust him when he says, for example, that Shirley Jackson and Ramsey Campbell have captured the "weird" far m ...more
Sep 30, 2011 Jon rated it it was ok
I wanted to rate this higher. After reading the first half though I was tempted to put it down and rate it even lower than I did after I finished it.[return][return]The problem is that the chapter on King and Barker are just too long. I tend to like everything that S. T. Joshi recommends, so I'm going to hunt down the authors I hadn't heard of. I'd rather he had focused more on those folks than lambasting other authors. Indeed, the inclusion of so much harsh material on Blatty seems odd, as it s ...more
Mar 18, 2009 Jail rated it it was ok
I like horror fiction or "weird" fiction as Joshi calls it, but I was hoping for a way more intellectual examination than what we get here. What you basically get is a laundry list of poorly written summaries of various horror writer's work. Joshi constantly ruins the endings and over and over again will write things like, " doubtlessly, this sounds silly when it is poorly summarized, but it's chilling when actually read." As if the problem is that all summaries of books are poorly written when ...more
Nick Urciuoli
Jul 13, 2013 Nick Urciuoli rated it really liked it
The Modern Weird Tale is an insightful and refreshingly unpretentious bit of literary criticism. However, I could have done without Joshi's compulsion to doggedly promote his atheistic worldview, especially given that many of his jabs at religion were not very persuasive. Take his dismissal of William Peter Blatty's belief that the presence of tangible evil proves the existence of good, or even of God. Blatty's position - as presented by Joshi - is of course too strong: evil can only serve as ci ...more
Jun 13, 2013 Hesper rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
From an index card that fell to the floor when I dropped the book: S. T. Joshi, you are piquant. Let's go have mule kicks and shoot the bull.

I don't remember writing that, but I do remember actually laughing out loud a few times when reading this, and how often does that happen with literary criticism. There were also several oh-no-he-didn't moments (in the delightfully and deservedly scathing Stephen King chapter), much vigorous nodding (Shirley Jackson, William Peter Blatty), and a few exagger
Jim Phillips
Oct 23, 2011 Jim Phillips rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
The subtitle here is more correct that you might think. Joshi has very little complementary to say about any of the modern authors he covers. There are a few exceptions (T. E. D. Klien and Ramsey Campbell to name two) but otherwise is very aggressive about his dislike of most modern authors in the genre. An Joshi's strong (very strong) dislike of anything religious comes pounding through. Many of his entires (most notably Blatty, for whom Joshi is especially vituperative) come off as little more ...more
John Hughes
Mar 12, 2013 John Hughes rated it liked it
Joshi's previous 'The Weird Tale' is an absolute cornerstone of Weird literary criticism. This later, lesser work is more problematic. It suffers in two major ways: the lack of firm editorial guidance, which may have pared away much of the casual, idiosyncratic put-downs and other personal foibles from the actual insights (of which, to be fair, there are many); and the fact that though published in 2001, there is little examination of any work after 1990. Given that it largely deals with current ...more
Ekel Adolf
Ekel Adolf marked it as to-read
Dec 26, 2015
J.L. Flores
J.L. Flores rated it liked it
Jan 05, 2016
Steven Harbin
Steven Harbin marked it as to-read
Dec 25, 2015
Ariane marked it as to-read
Dec 17, 2015
Purvi Petal
Purvi Petal marked it as to-read
Dec 17, 2015
Berna Labourdette
Berna Labourdette marked it as to-read
Dec 14, 2015
James Eardley
James Eardley marked it as to-read
Dec 10, 2015
Stefan marked it as to-read
Dec 06, 2015
Chet Williamson
Chet Williamson rated it it was amazing
Dec 03, 2015
Taylor Greil
Taylor Greil marked it as to-read
Nov 20, 2015
Liam marked it as to-read
Nov 15, 2015
Mike Thorn
Mike Thorn marked it as to-read
Nov 13, 2015
Richard Smiley
Richard Smiley marked it as to-read
Oct 27, 2015
Paul Blackwell
Paul Blackwell rated it really liked it
Oct 25, 2015
Duarte marked it as to-read
Oct 21, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Sunand Tryambak Joshi (b. 22 June 1958 in Pune, India) is an Indian American literary scholar, and a leading figure in the study of Howard Phillips Lovecraft and other authors. Besides what some critics consider to be the definitive biography of Lovecraft (H. P. Lovecraft: A Life, 1996), Joshi has written about Ambrose Bierce, H. L. Mencken, Lord Dunsany, and M.R. James, and has edited collections ...more
More about S.T. Joshi...

Share This Book