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The Great God Pan (Creation Classics)
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The Great God Pan (Creation Classics)

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  3,536 ratings  ·  298 reviews
A terrifying tale about the god of wild places.

The Great God Pan is a novella written by Arthur Machen. On publication it was widely denounced by the press as degenerate and horrific because of its decadent style and sexual content, although it has since garnered a reputation as a classic of horror. Machen's story was only one of many at the time to focus on Pan as a usef
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Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1894)
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Petra X
Reading this book was a bit like eating a salad made with bottled dressing instead of one made with virgin olive oil (view spoiler) and a spike of balsamic or wine vinegar for piquancy. It was almost there, you could see that there was definitely flavour in there somewhere, bu ...more
Eddie Watkins
The Great God Pan is a succinct gem of horror and mystery; a kind of spiritual variation on classic tales of lycanthropy; though its effectiveness depends on one’s sensitivity to, and belief in, the potential horrors of the very real though unseen forces beneath material manifestation.

A scientist, a self-proclaimed practitioner of transcendental medicine, cuts into a young woman's brain to heighten her spiritual awareness; but instead Pan, the wild nature spirit, or rather the tremendous invisib
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Keely
My favored definition of wisdom has always been 'a recognition of one's limits', and as such, wisdom is vital for writers. When an author knows their capabilities and their flaws, they are in prime position to write a story which takes advantage of their strengths and mitigates their weaknesses.

Yet what is preferable for an artist: to stay within the bounds of their skill, or to work to always to exceed them? The first sort will be able to create precise and deliberate works of mastery, while th
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Kat  Hooper
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Written in 1894, Arthur Machen’s The Great God Pan is a short novel which was highly influential to H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King. King, in fact, said The Great God Pan is “…one of the best horror stories ever written. Maybe the best in the English language. Mine isn’t anywhere near that good…” The Great God Pan used to be hard to find, but is now available free on the Kindle (and at other public domain e-book outlets) and is easily read in one dark and
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Nate D
19th century neurobiology as means of "lifting the veil" of consensus reality as mediated by flawed senses, and terrible repercussions of both this hidden knowledge and what may cross back through such lifted veils. An influence on Lovecraft, apparently (obviously), and as such it could be improved somewhat by, rather than just telling us that things are cripplingly horrifying, actually giving us some more of the specifics. Of course, the merits of the unknown, suggestion, etc -- so it still rat ...more
Maciek
The Great God Pan is one of Arthur Machen's earliest works, and also his most popular. Upon release it was widely denounced as decadent and depraved, although it has since influenced countless writers of horror and weird fiction, from H.P. Lovecraft to Stephen King.

Machen was a bohemian fellow, deeply opposed to science and modernity; he held a belief that the real world is just a veil behind which another world is hidden, infinitely more strange, mysterious and magical. The Great God Pan is set
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Jason
I've been hearing of Machen's work for years now, but never got around to reading him. I live in a small, Canadian town, and finding his work around here is near impossible. When I got my Kindle, all that changed. Suddenly, I had all the classic books I yearned for, including Machen.

I hesitated, though. What if my expectations were raised too high? What if I were let down? I have, after all, heard a lot of great things about Machen from authors of whom I admire. Great writers like Caitlin R. Kie
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Marvin
The reason Machen remains influential among modern horror writers is quite evident in his most famous tale, The Great God Pan. While not the as shocking and decadent as his contemporary critics said it was, it is still quite disturbing as Machen tells this story about evil seductions and hidden deities. Machen seems to have a strong interest in the mystical (he hung around with Alister Crowley) and strong pantheistic leanings. Yet while contemporary Algernon Blackwood wrote about the same areas ...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
I quite liked this story by Arthur Machen. I liked the air of mystery, but harrowing menace he created. Apparently the doctor's experiments in piercing the veil had some very bad effects. There was a subtle element of dark sexuality in this story, handled very elegantly. I like that much is left for the reader to discern in this story. Many of those people who see what should have been left hidden don't live long afterward, and I was encouraged to draw my own conclusions about that horror they w ...more
Dfordoom
Arthur Machen’s 1894 novella The Great God Pan is probably his best-known work. Machen himself was an interesting character, a devout Anglo-Catholic with an intense dislike for just about everything modern, as well as a fascination with paganism. His books embody a kind of personal mythology, dealing with the continued existence of a mysterious ancient race, a race that has supposedly given rise to various legends about fairies and so forth.
The theme of The Great God Pan is typical of Machen’s
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Noran Miss Pumkin
This vintage story, is like a bad 50's B/W Monster movie-where you never get s good look at the beastie. Never could figure out what evil vileness the women did to drive men to their deaths. It had great potential, but just did not deliver, then nor now.
Scott
Who is the dark and lovely young woman living in Ashley Street, in the cheery house with red geraniums in the windows and flowers on the curtains? Why do so many gentlemen call upon her? What do they see there? What do they do in the house in Ashley Street? And why do they all kill themselves so hideously afterwards?

Arthur Machen's The Great God Pan (1894) is a paranormal mystery that twists together the lives of mad scientists, occultists, and men about town, all attracted, some destroyed, by t
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Antonomasia
[My 100th Goodreads review, and more of an actual review than many of them.]

What a curious beast. As it was a free Kindle book, I hadn't read up on this specific story and expected numinous pagan ramblings in the English landscape, a sort of Rewards and Fairies for grown-ups. Certainly there are some beautiful descriptions, but opening as it does with dastardly experimental brain-surgery on a nubile 17-year-old ward (backed by a curiously modern theory echoing the idea of the "god module") - and
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Kimberly
The story starts out with a chilling account of a sort of "brain operation" in order to transcend barriers and enable the recipient to be able to view the great god Pan. After this, the narration jumps about--introducing us to other key characters within different scenes and times. The common thread, of course, ties back to Pan and the profound effect he has on the sensibilities of ordinary humans.

This classic was considered a bit scandalous in it's time, but very tame by today's comparisons. Pe
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Chris
Widely considered to be one of the finest works of classic horror, The Great God Pan deals with the idea of scientific experimentation bringing one closer to the great nature deity, Pan, only in this short novel it has disastrous circumstances. Akin to rogue science gone mad ala Frankenstein, we're introduced in the beginning to the somewhat sinister Dr. Raymond and his friend, Clarke. Raymond proceeds to operate on a young girl's brain in order for her to commune with Pan, but the end result le ...more
Nikki
I didn't find The Great God Pan (or the other stories in this volume) as scary as I expected to, given the introduction, but there's definitely a sense of chill, a sense of the uncanny. I think they're just so very restrained compared to the guts and gore you come across now -- I don't find these tales as horrifying as Val McDermid's The Mermaids Singing, for example, and I don't think that's intended to be horror. There's something very sedate about Machen's writing, and something picturesque, ...more
Oscar
Confieso que siento debilidad por los relatos fantásticos clásicos, ya sean de terror, góticos o de suspense y misterio. Los autores decimonónicos y de principios del siglo XX, tienen una magia especial, una manera de narrar que no se encuentra en otros géneros. Es muy satisfactorio sumergirse en esas tramas en las que prima mucho más el modo en que se va desplegando la historia y su contenido que los propios personajes, que, sin dejarlos a un lado, son meros comparsas de lo que está sucediendo. ...more
Palmyrah
Maybe it's my fault. Tales of the supernatural had a tremendous effect on me as a child, but the magic no longer works as it did. That said, in a competent writer's hands I'm as susceptible to atmosphere and suspense as anybody else.

And here is a book that is all about atmosphere and suspense. It has little enough of anything else – hardly any action, not much of a plot, no characters worthy of the name, no interesting new ideas to set you thinking. It is a play of hints and shadows – of unspeak
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Emy
Aug 05, 2012 Emy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Emy by: Frozenwaffle
I read this book as part of the EEVILLE book challenge, the idea being we were challenged to read something that we would never normally pick up. I was partnered with the lovely Frozenwaffle, who challenged me to read this strange, rough little gem of a book.

In essence, The Great God Pan is a tale of the unintended consequences of an experiment that delved into the hidden mysteries of the human brain. At least, that's what I took out of it. You could also desribe it as a series of linked mysteri
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Ricardo Lourenço
Marco importante na literatura fantástica, inspirando e influenciando muitos autores que se inserem nesse género, não se justifica a imerecida falta de atenção dada à obra de Machen por parte das editoras portuguesas. Felizmente a Saída de Emergência, à semelhança do que tem vindo a fazer em relação a diversos escritores, acaba por preencher o relativo vazio no que a traduções em português diz respeito.
No entanto, é preciso ter em conta que, naturalmente, não podemos ler os seus contos da mesma
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Sam
Whilst this isn't an in your face horror story it is still a superbly chilling Gothic horror that creeps up on you as Villiers' tells of his experiences, building to a finale that leaves the reader stunned and horrified. This version also has two more stories by Machen, the first is the Shining Pyramid that follows two friends as they try and understand stone messages left along a nearby footpath, messages not meant for them. The second is the White People which is a story within a story as two ...more
Ben Dutton
Arthur Machen is almost a forgotten name these days. The Great God Pan, perhaps is masterwork, is almost unread, but for a few hardy souls willing to tread into late Victorian gothic. In its day, however, Arthur Machen was well regarded, and this novel was praised by H. P. Lovecraft who said: "No one could begin to describe the cumulative suspense and ultimate horror with which every paragraph abounds." It is an apt description of the novella - this is a slim, but powerful volume - whose mysteri ...more
Chad Bearden
When authors like H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King refer to you as an influence, you know you're doing something right. Such is the case with turn of the century horror writer, Arthur Machen.

King's latest volume of short stories wasn't his strongest contribution to the genre, but one story stood out, a brief glimmer into what kind of genius King is capable of when he's firing on all cylinders. The story was called "N.", and King directly mentions "The Great God Pan" as an inspiration, which deals
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Matthew Hunter
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Terence
Jul 24, 2009 Terence rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Lovecraft, early pulp horror
Shelves: horror-gothic
Reading articles and other stuff about the horror genre and its authors, I had come across Arthur Machen’s name many times and had always meant to sample his work when time or opportunity permitted.

Well, it happened – a reference to a totally unrelated author and a Wikipedia search took me to “The Great God Pan” and, hence, to the Gutenberg Project, where I downloaded a copy.

The plot is similar to H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Dunwich Horror” (a debt HPL openly acknowledged) – A scientist performs an op
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Jason Megraw
I read this entire book in one sitting while flying from Dallas to Phoenix. I was just at the last page when I had to debark and connect to my San Diego flight. I read the last page in a toilet stall in the men's room.

Just 65 pages long, a successful portrayal of the ultimate horror manifested by an outwardly beautiful woman who is apparently a gateway to hell. Her mere words and appearance leave a lot to the imagination, but is never directly referenced; people die of fright, hang themselves, o
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Suvi
You gotta love occultists and mad scientists sprinkled with pagan gods! It's great that Machen doesn't describe anything too precisely, but leaves the most horrible things to the mercy of the reader's imagination. I usually like descriptions, but some authors manage to make the story work without it. The characterisation wasn't the best, and the story itself was somewhat predictable. I still enjoy reading Victorian gothic and horror tales, which usually stops me from giving less stars than three ...more
Matt
"No one could begin to describe the cumulative suspense and ultimate horror with which every paragraph abounds." Those were the words used by H.P.Lovecraft to praise this novella. I have to say I cannot fully subscribe to this statement. The notion of a spiritual world, that lies beyond our perception, and where you can see the god Pan, appears, at first glance, to be a promising premise. And the first few chapters are good enough to fulfill this promise. But I think that after that the story ge ...more
Jon
First, I’d better come clean: I read The Great God Pan because Stephen King told me to. King has never been shy about name-dropping his influences, and this particular story is one of his biggest, apparently. If I ever find and decide to re-read my copy of Danse Macabre, I’ll probably need to get “I’m reading this because Stephen King told me to” printed on a tee-shirt for all the books I read there-after.

Right then; The Great God Pan.

I read this last week and gave it 3 stars, and was somewhat d
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Nerine Dorman
My first encounter with Arthur Machen’s writing was in a (now) quaint selection of classic horror, and from my meanderings in the interwebz, his name just keeps cropping up. He’s considered one of the grandpappies of authentically modern horror, and knowing what I do about HP Lovecraft, it’s clear Machen had a huge influence on the man.

Those who’re into their esoteric vibe will also recognise Machen in connection to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn courtesy of AE Waite – the two were buddie
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The Bookhouse Boys: The Great God Pan discussion 42 21 Nov 06, 2013 06:28PM  
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Arthur Machen was a leading Welsh author of the 1890s. He is best known for his influential supernatural, fantasy, and horror fiction. His long story "The Great God Pan" made him famous and controversial in his lifetime, but The Hill of Dreams is generally considered his masterpiece. He also is well known for his leading role in creating the legend of the Angels of Mons.

At the age of eleven, Mache
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More about Arthur Machen...
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“I had to cast out a good many lines, though, before I got what I wanted, and when I landed the fish I did not for a moment suppose it was my fish. But I listened to what I was told out of a constitutional liking for useless information, and I found myself in possession of a very curious story, though, as I imagined, not the story I was looking for.” 6 likes
“By what seemed then and still seems a chance, the suggestion of a moment’s idle thought followed up upon familiar lines and paths that I had tracked a hundred times already, the great truth burst upon me, and I saw, mapped out in lines of light, a whole world, a sphere unknown; continents and islands, and great oceans in which no ship has sailed (to my belief) since a Man first lifted up his eyes and beheld the sun, and the stars of heaven, and the quiet earth beneath.” 5 likes
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