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Supernatural Horror in Literature

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  1,181 Ratings  ·  95 Reviews
H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937), the most important American supernaturalist since Poe, has had an incalculable influence on all the horror-story writing of recent decades. Altho his supernatural fiction has been enjoying an unprecedented fame, it's not widely known that he wrote a critical history of supernatural horror in literature that has yet to be superceded as the finest ...more
Paperback, 106 pages
Published June 1st 1973 by Dover Publications (first published 1927)
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Witches Immortal by R.W.K. ClarkBrother's Keeper by R.W.K. ClarkLiving Legacy by R.W.K. ClarkIn the Depths by R.W.K. ClarkOvertaken by R.W.K. Clark
Horror: 101
14th out of 69 books — 51 voters
The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. LovecraftThe Shadow Over Innsmouth by H.P. LovecraftThe Rats in the Walls by H.P. LovecraftThe Dunwich Horror and Other Stories by H.P. LovecraftThe Colour Out of Space and others by H.P. Lovecraft
H.P. Lovecraft: His greatest works
6th out of 20 books — 7 voters

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Community Reviews

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ᴥ Irena ᴥ
May 27, 2016 ᴥ Irena ᴥ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
'The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.'
Supernatural Horror in Literature is Lovecraft's take on horror fiction. It is a pretty long essay consisting of ten chapters, each focusing on different things. And it is really good.

The chapters are self-explanatory:
The Dawn of the Horror-Tale
The Early Gothic Novel
The Apex of Gothic Romance
The Aftermath of Gothic Fiction
Spectral Literature on the Continent
Jul 11, 2016 Bastet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, gothic
Howard Phillips Lovecraft demuestra tener una encomiable capacidad para sintetizar en menos de 100 páginas la evolución de la literatura gótica desde sus inicios hasta su ocaso. Sitúa el origen de la literatura del horror en Inglaterra, en la segunda mitad del siglo XVIII, con Horace Walpole —aunque reconoce que en ciertas baladas y en algunos poemas del XVII ya existían elementos preternaturales—; y el final, en el primer tercio del siglo XIX, con Sheridan LeFanu, Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan D ...more
H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) nos ofrece en ‘El horror sobrenatural en la literatura y otros escritos teóricos y autobiográficos’, un gran análisis sobre lo que es el verdadero horror. Esta fantástica y exhaustiva edición, nos llega de la mano de Valdemar, e incluye el famoso ensayo del Maestro de Providence, sus relatos de terror preferidos, textos sobre narrativa fantástica (algunos inéditos en castellano), algunos apuntes autobiográficos y una completísima bibliografía y notas a cargo de Juan An ...more
J.G. 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
Amy Sturgis
Every time I reread "Supernatural Horror in Literature," I find something new to appreciate. This is an invaluable resource, both for what it tell us of the development of the Gothic, weird fiction, and horror (and, for that matter, science fiction and fantasy) -- Lovecraft is a well informed and insightful critic who grasps context as well as content -- and also for what it tells us of Lovecraft's influences and inspirations. Anyone interested in imaginative literature should consider this a "m ...more
Scarlet Cameo
Mar 26, 2016 Scarlet Cameo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fan de Lovecraft hy del terror.
Tal vez Lovecraft sea una de las mejores personas para recomendarte libros por que este ensayo es, en gran parte, eso: una enorme lista de recomendaciones pero no sólo porque el considerara a Dickens, Shelley, Polidori o Poe buenos autores, sino porque los consideraba autores que le dieron la vuelta a su genero, que supieron explotar las emoción más primitiva: El miedo.

Lo que Lovecraft hace aquí es ir construyéndo el camino hacia su escritura, pasando por autores, países y géneros que le fueron
Libros Prohibidos
Nov 18, 2015 Libros Prohibidos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Leer a Lovecraft es siempre una experiencia estimulante, ya sea en su faceta de escritor de ficción o ensayista. En El horror sobrenatural en la literatura demuestra sus conocimientos sobre un género del que es uno de sus mayores referentes y aporta su opinión autorizada de algunas de las mejores obras de terror de la Historia. Una pequeña joya de lectura (y consulta) imprescindible. Reseña completa:
Sep 17, 2016 Steffi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dieses an sich ganz leichte und unterhaltende Buch liefert jede Menge Anregungen für weitere Lektüre, ist aber hin und wieder auf schon fast ärgerliche Art subjektiv. Dabei liefert Lovecraft im Vorwort selbst auf überzeugende Art eine Definition des Horror-Genres, die individuelle Lesarten begünstigt:

Der einzige Prüfstein für das wahrhaft Unheimlich-Übernatürliche ist ganz einfach die Frage, ob im Leser ein tiefes Gefühl der Furcht hervorgerufen wird, ein Gefühl, mit unbekannten Sphären und Mäch
Feb 11, 2013 Lee rated it really liked it
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
Aug 05, 2010 Nicole Cushing rated it liked it

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.
May 15, 2015 Curtis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This should perhaps be more aptly titled "The History of Supernatural Horror in Literature." Lovecraft does an excellent job of listing works that contain cosmically horrific elements and themes – and that's it. If you're looking for a Grand Unifying Theory of supernatural horror, this isn't the place to find it. It's more genre-definition-by-name-dropping than critical combination of theoretical ideas.

Nonetheless, it's an interesting and useful resource. I don't know that I'll ever read it all
Jun 15, 2014 Michael rated it really liked it
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,
May 03, 2008 Donald rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008, writer-reads
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...
Erica Zahn
Aug 27, 2016 Erica Zahn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lovecraft
At around 27,000 words the essay is lengthy for the amount of matter covered, though I of course value the opinions given (the subjectivity of the subject is one of the dominant aspects of the piece). Lovecraft, when unedited (as he usually is), admittedly has a tendency to ramble, although this has the advantage of a more natural, conversational feel. Although labelled ‘supernatural horror’, it mostly concerns the gothic, since this provides the most significant precursor to what we would term ...more
Kevin Lucia
Dec 08, 2012 Kevin Lucia rated it it was amazing
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.
Ebster Davis
Jun 25, 2015 Ebster Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got to geek together with a dead guy, how cool is that?!

Basically this is a large essay where he reviews the history and development of the Gothic-paranormal horror genre (or as he sometimes calls it, "The Weird").

I loved hearing his take on the different stories, he was even a bit critical of Edgar Allan Poe (who he's a fanboy of). He even included a few stories I wouldn't have thought of as belonging to the genre, and some I hadn't heard of and will definitely check out.

I think it's funny
Feb 23, 2016 Diletta rated it it was amazing
Una grandissima risorsa per lettori e scrittori. Inutile dire che ho aggiunto nuovi titoli in wishlist e che ho segnato un sacco di cose.
Aksel Dadswell
Jul 14, 2016 Aksel Dadswell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite the odd splinter of racist nonsense, HP Lovecraft’s seminal study of horror literature is pretty damn good, and one of the most thorough examinations of its time.

This is Lovecraft, so the text is not without the odd bruise of purple prose, but this is a nice and not too cloying touch that marks the essay as his own and, importantly, doesn’t get in the way of the information he is relaying to the reader. In fact, if anything, the subject matter on offer here welcomes HP’s sparing flouris
Erik Angle
If you’re a fan of H.P. Lovecraft, of weird fiction, of horror, and/or interested in the history of (primarily Western) literature, and want your reading queue blowed up, this essay is for you.

Supernatural Horror in Literature is an overview of the historical development of weird fiction (now generally referred to with the genre tag “Horror”), much like a family tree. Lovecraft begins with the classical corpus of Western literature and follows the scarlet thread of the weird up to his present da
Kike Ramos
Jun 07, 2016 Kike Ramos rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Español/ English

Este es un ensayo en el que Lovecraft realiza un análisis de las historias de "terror" y, sobre todo, se enfoca en buscar la historia literaria de lo que el llama "horror cósmico".

En general, el libro es sólo una larga lista de libros y autores, con la descripción de las tramas. Opiniones al respecto, hay sólo unas cuantas perdidas entre todo ese listado. Llegué a saltarme páginas enteras porque no tuve interés. Sin embargo, es interesante ver la diferencia que Lovecraft hace de
Ignacio Senao f
Jan 12, 2015 Ignacio Senao f rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Muchas les gustaría mantener una conversación con ese sujeto, y esto es lo más parecido a lo que podéis aspirar hasta la fecha.
Habla de él, de su vida, de lo mal escritor que es, y curiosamente dice que de chico estaba siempre enfermo y que ahora es robusto y sano (muere al poco: ironías de la vida)

No se tira muchas flores ni indaga mucho en su vida, pero si lo hace hablando de las novelas que le han gustado. Podríamos decir que es un periodista de salsa rosa actual y raja de los libros que lee
May 12, 2015 Eric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read Lovecraft's landmark essay about 20 years ago. Going back to it after re-reading all of his stories as well as S. T. Joshi's biography gave me new insights into Lovecraft's understanding of the genre. Joshi's notes help to identify the influence these works had on Lovecraft's writing, and add context and information about the works covered.
Jun 07, 2009 Charles rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Lovecraft not only wrote very fine horror fiction in his own right, he was a student of the genre and this is an excellent introduction to the topic of supernatural literature, although, of course, it does not deal with later works.
Riina Ojanen
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
David B
Jun 27, 2014 David B rated it really liked it
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
Emi Kanter
May 23, 2013 Emi Kanter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I must recommend this to every horro fan.
Gianmarco Cacioli
Le debemos a Lovecraft el último recuerdo de ciertos autores próximos al olvido. Sin embargo, uno siente que por su estilo de escritura (muy frío, por momentos de científico inglés del siglo XVIII) este hombre no se permitía disfrutar de lo que leía. A cada elogio de Poe le sigue una crítica injusta a la obra del bostoniano.

Ciertas nociones sobre lo siniestro, lo fantástico y el género justifican la lectura para aquellos que no se conformen con un repaso -algo tedioso- de la historia de la novel
Apr 08, 2016 Tonk82 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, teorico, propio

La última vez que me acerqué a este libro fue hace ya 8 años. Con la noticia de que posiblemente se haya encontrado un nuevo ensayo escrito por Lovecraft ("El cancer de la superstición", encargado por Houdini pero nunca publicado), he querido volver a revisarlo.

Fue publicado por Edaf en 2002 y recopila toda una serie de textos variados: trozos de cartas, pequeños ensayos... y creo que merece la pena desglosar lo que contiene:

-La breve autobiografía de un escritorzuelo intrascendente:
Dave Maddock
May 14, 2015 Dave Maddock rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dave by: Mythgard: Literary Copernicus
Shelves: criticism
While Lovecraft made some good points early on about fear and its exploitation in horror, most of the work is a bit bogged down in critiquing various works and authors. And since I haven't read most of what he cites, I have little basis from which to agree or disagree with his assessments.

I like HPL's focus on "cosmic fear" in the introduction and I can appreciate what he's doing as a critic tracing the use of cosmic fear down through the literary tradition he is extending. However, the large am
Aug 23, 2014 Eija rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
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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” 1503 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.” 25 likes
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