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The Damned

3.43  ·  Rating Details  ·  227 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
And instinctively, once alone, I made for the places where she had painted her extraordinary pictures; I tried to see what she had seen. Perhaps, now that she had opened my mind to another view, I should be sensitive to some similar interpretation--and possibly by way of literary expression. If I were to write about the place, I asked myself, how should I treat it? I delib ...more
Kindle Edition, 116 pages
Published (first published 1914)
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Aug 25, 2012 Jack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
This is one of those books that gets hurt by modern horror writing. The atmosphere is creepy and there is a constant sense of dread throughout. You constantly expect something horrible to happen, and it never really does. A lot of reviewers on this site have used that as a criticism. They say nothing really happens, which was exactly the point of the book, even going so far as being explicitly stated.

The characters do not trust that their feelings are genuine. They want to leave, but they feel f
⊱ Irena ⊰
Compared to today's horror stories, The Damned would disappoint you if you want and expect things to jump at you.

Bill and Frances are visiting their widowed friend, who has just come back home. Her home, the Towers, seems to have kept her bigoted preacher husband's essence.
Nothing ever happens in the Towers. The thing is, the most frightening thing here is the wait. They constantly expect something, anything really, to make itself known. That lack of action is the actual story and its essence is
Portia S
Jan 26, 2012 Portia S rated it liked it
This was alright. The point of the book I think was that horror is not always one that peaks to the point of ultimate terror, but sometimes there are several layers of the haunted area which are fighting for complete control. Yet they cannot have it, and in the end, only the seeming ascension of something that is about to happen occurs, however nothing really happens. I know, sort of confusing isn't it?

The book is about a brother and sister, Bill and Frances who visit a friend of theirs, Mabel(
Ryan McCarthy
This longer story (or is it a novella?) would be a great exhibit of Blackwood's mastery of nameless dread if one could just ignore the denouement. Like in his better work, such as "The Willows," Blackwood is able to conjure all shades of terror from subtle impressions and details, made all the more intense because of the inability to define it or explain it away. The atmosphere through the middle of the tale is therefore classic Blackwood. The problem arises when an explanation begins to surface ...more
Mike McArtor
This wasn't bad, but it lacks action. The narrator himself, and I kid you not, mentions several times that "nothing happens" and the lack of things happening is a central aspect of the story. Up until the narrator starts pounding into us that nothing happens there's a hope that the constant buildup of tension will find a released. But no. That doesn't happen. Because nothing actually happens.

This is an atmospheric piece and it is at its best when indulging in the slow and steady construction of
Pamela Scott
Sep 07, 2014 Pamela Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first time reading Algernon Blackwood. I really enjoyed The Damned. Blackwood offers a traditional ghost story. If you’re looking for blood and guts and monsters you won’t find any in this novella. The Damned is creepy and unsettling. The narrator repeats ‘nothing happens’ regularly and to an extent this is true. It’s the possibility of what could be lurking in the shadows that sends shivers down your spine. I’m not a huge fan of over-the-top horror with blood and guts and screaming ...more
Linda BkReviews
May 31, 2016 Linda BkReviews rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, horror
This is the perfect example of horror stories that I enjoy and admire.

While highly graphic, violent and gory details of blood and dismembered bodies are horrific, they do not chill me to the bones. This book, on the other hand, creates an intensely chilly atmosphere which is terrifying.

(Slight spoiler warning:)

The concept of how men's evil intent lingers on in a house, and not only magnifies over time, but struggle amongst themselves to gain control over others is new to me, but makes perfect se
John Gillespie
Jan 25, 2013 John Gillespie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great haunted house story along the lines of Turn of the Screw and the Haunting of Hill House. This is my first time reading Algernon Bloackwood, and I hope his other works as as subtle and well-written.
Nancy Butts
Over and over again in this story, the narrator says the horror of the “haunted house” in which he, his sister, and the “damned” hostess are staying lies in this: “Nothing happened.” And the whole story feels like that; nothing much does happen. There is a clearcut theme in this story, one that grew out of Blackwood’s childhood with a domineering father who apparently subscribed to a conservative Christian sect that preached judgment and damnation. Blackwood condemns that utterly in this story, ...more
Dec 17, 2015 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I forgot I read this some time ago. This is a really odd novella, but not a bad one. It has a good atmosphere of unease about it, and a subtle creepiness, and is trying to say something about religious intolerance too. A man and his sister go to stay with a widowed friend of hers who was once married to a overly religious man who believed in damnation for nearly all people’s. The house has an aura about it of depression and general unease. Everything seems stunted, undeveloped, yet nothing ever ...more
Jul 13, 2012 Elleigh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This gave me the s$&ts mainly because of the perpetual rise to climax that grew on you the entire story whilst getting steadily creepier
Jul 07, 2011 Abi_88 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story held me captivate from beginning to end. The struggle of beliefs and fears seemed very real to me.
Feb 19, 2014 Christina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, classics, 2014
I have found a new author to love. An excellent ghost story...
Feb 09, 2015 Harold rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I just didn't care for this book. The story is about a brother and sister that go to stay with a friend after he husband passes away. Her husband was a hell and brimfire preacher who's energy can still be felt in the house. There just didn't seem to be a lot happening in this book. It seems that the story was "there's something happening, I think there's something happening, oh wait not really."
David Elkin
actually listening to the podcast-on chapter 5-Very well read (and free).

Now finally finished as I listened to the last chapter.

I found a treasure trove of free Lovecraft and Lovecraft like tales:

Excellent reader who keeps you interested.

As for the story The Damned is interesting for the time it was written. It was only 116 pages, thus certainly could be classified a novella. He wrote it in 1914 and was a fairly brave examination of intolerant religious bigot
Jun 18, 2015 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, horror
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Interesting book by Algernon Blackwood! A brother and sister spend some time with a recently widowed friend. Her deceased husband was a strict fire and brimstone preacher who damned everyone who didn't believe like him to hell. His less strong-willed wife fell under his spell, but now the house seems to be haunted by...a shadow? Goblins? Ghostly pagans? Or many different things at once.

It's an interesting concept, a house possessed by the strong beliefs of those who lived there before. I imagine
Christopher Horn
Always difficult for me to write a short review of an Algernon Blackwood story. With this piece, he is the Larry David of horror. Nothing happens, but that nothing is creepy as hell. I will leave it there.
Mar 22, 2011 Mary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ghost-stories
While I am fascinated with the idea of damnation since my Isaiah class, this is a tedious book where nothing happens. There is backstory and leadup and...nothing happens. People's hair stand on end, they faint and shutter and hear mysterious sounds (or do they?) and...nothing happens. I'm not anti-nothingness; I love Chekhov's pained nothing-happening in The Cherry Orchard , but here it's merely the old Lovecraft racket of "something so horrifying it can't be described" and even more irritating ...more
Rhona Crawford
Actually 3.5. It was really readable, but slow in the sense that nothing really happens - almost like "Waiting for Godot" for ghosts.
Jan 07, 2010 Dennis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I always give books here five stars and simply because I am too lazy to rate them. Someday I will make revisions though I believe.
I liked this book because I kept waiting for something really scary to happen and yet nothing ever really did. Quite unlike the film 'The Changeling' in which something happened in like every scene.
It still had the same level of suspense as The Changeling though because of the cool Victorian wording. I think that it was first published in 1914. That's still Victori
Jun 13, 2015 Dane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Jan 06, 2014 Tricotaine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
This story has a slow rhythm to it. You get caught in the atmosphere of the house and as it is said so many times "nothing happens". That said the atmosphere of terror and the tension crafted in parts of the book is amazing. True nothing happens but the tension is palpable and it makes the book.
Jan 24, 2016 Sean rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brian Cooke
May well be among the most atypical ghost stories I've ever read with a palpable tension that had me tensing my shoulder to the point where I'd have to put it down just to take a break. This was an odd one since I normally deplore any story where there's divergence from the typical buildup and climax. This one ramps up, get's going and then it just sort of ends. Yet I am thoroughly satisfied. :)
Aug 18, 2012 Holly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was really pretty good! I'd like to give it 3.5 stars, not just 3, but can't. Considering when this was written, I can imagine it gave people quite a scare! There were parts of the book where I was a little on edge. Doesn't come right out with big scary things coming at you. He uses subtle imagery to allow the reader to use his/her imagination to fill in the scary parts. Nice!
Justin Howe
May 24, 2010 Justin Howe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not quite 4 stars but I rounded up. There are better Blackwood stories out there than this one, however this is still a Blackwood story and as such it delivers at least one chilling and eerie moment, while also remaining hopeful. Parts of it reminded me of the Nicole Kidman movie "The Others".

Also you can download it from Project Gutenberg!
Jeremy Stephens
I couldn't decide wether to give this 3 or 4 stars because although it is a classic haunted house story and does present an original expanation for the paranormal activity, it's kinda dry at time and most of the activity in the house is too subtle for my liking. Still, it really wasn't too bad of a read.
Nov 13, 2010 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not up to par with Blackwood's other works but I have a tendency to prefer his short horror stories. This was more of a suspenseful experience, still good though. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of the 'goblin garden'.
Bianca van Willigenburg
Good story, I wouldn't classify this as horror but as suspense. Something's happening that isn't natural but it never really comes to a climax. In the end everything is neatly explained to the reader, and main character.
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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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“And each, believing he was utterly and finally right, damned with equally positive conviction the rest of the world.” 3 likes
“It was clear, however, that the woman had in herself some secret source of joy, that she was now an aggressive, positive force, sure of herself, and apparently afraid of nothing in heaven or hell.” 3 likes
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