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Supernatural Horror in Literature

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4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,495 Ratings  ·  120 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fame, it's not widely known that he wrote a critical history of supernatural horror in literature that has yet to be superceded as the finest ...more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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Oscar
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
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Oct 13, 2015 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:
Introduction
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
Ed
...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
Werner
Jul 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Serious readers of "horror" and supernatural fiction
Shelves: about-literature
"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown." --H. P. Lovecraft

The sentence above is often quoted, but many readers aren't aware of its context. It opens this short monograph (really, a very long essay), which Lovecraft originally wrote in 1927, after a three-year stint of intensive reading, in response to the request of a pen pal, W. Paul Cook, for a historical survey of weird fiction to be published in The Recluse, a ma
...more
Bill  Kerwin

In this lengthy essay of literary criticism (first completed in 1927, revised in 1934), H.P. presents his considered opinions of most of the well-known—and more than a few obscure—practitioners of the gothic and the weird. Unlike his own creative works, however, this critical piece, though knowledgeable and useful, is neither original nor essential.

He writes justly of the gothic and early romantic traditions, and the three modern masters Arthur Machen, M. R. James and Algernon Blackwood, and he
...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
Steffi
Sep 17, 2016 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
...more
Scarlet Cameo
Oct 07, 2015 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
...more
Libros Prohibidos
Nov 18, 2015 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: http://www.libros-prohibidos.com/h-p-...
Lee
Feb 05, 2013 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
Jul 18, 2010 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.
...more
Иван Величков
Кратка, но много качествена дисекция на жанра от древността до съвремието на писателя, с неизброими предложения за четене. Споменатите вътре книги са с внимателно и безстрастно показани силни и слаби страни в търсенето на необяснимия космически ужас.
Стилът на писане е непретенциозен, но показва висока ерудиция по въпроса (не че някой се е съмнявал).

Тоя човек е изчел всичко, ВСИЧКО по темата.

Страшно много ми хареса и ми предостави информация за купища автори и книги, които трябва задължително да
...more
Diletta
Feb 15, 2016 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.
Haroudo Xavier
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Já havia lido parte do livro anteriormente. Em especial, a sua introdução é rica para discussão do Horror na Literatura. Nela, o autor deixa claro o que para ele configura como sendo o mais importante elemento de uma história de horror: o medo do desconhecido.

O restante do livro tem, de certa forma, uma menor importância. Nesses capítulos, Lovecraft discorre sobre o início da Literatura de Horror até autores que eram seus contemporâneos, destacando que obras e autores ele acreditava serem impor
...more
anaïs
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aunque esperaba una serie de ensayos enfocados en la técnica y la crítica del relato fantástico y de terror desde el punto de vista de uno de los grandes del género, resulta que este libro no es nada de eso. A decir verdad, podría considerarse como una recopilación de los grandes autores y obras del género comentados por Lovecraft, incluyendo spoilers, todo hay que decirlo. A pesar de todo, resulta una lectura muy interesante y, a la vez amena, muy especialmente por la pasión con la que escribe ...more
Anne
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-classics
3.5
Michael
Jun 15, 2014 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,
...more
blake
Sep 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio
The greatest survey of horror and supernatural literature ever, only marred by the author's tragic mortality. Lovecraft was a sensitive soul and true fan of The Weird and this essay appropriately dismisses the works of great writers because they are not The Weird. It's kind of funny, for example, to hear passing reference to Northanger Abbey or a discourse on Nathaniel Hawthorne's House of the Seven Gables with reminders that they're not quite up to snuff.

But they're really not up to snuff, if t
...more
Donald
Apr 27, 2008 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...
Curtis
May 07, 2015 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
...more
Kevin Lucia
Nov 20, 2012 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.
Charles
Jun 07, 2009 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.
Brenton
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lovecraft is no doubt the king of the early 20th-century horror genre. I don’t always love his prose style and his (thankfully sparse) dialogue is abominable. But he can evoke an atmosphere that commands attention as he draws from myth, legend, superstition, religion, the occult, faërie, folktale, and rumour to create weird tales and horror stories that readers loved in his day and love still. Lovecraft was terribly influential for Stephen King, who in many ways exceeds Lovecraft in popular appe ...more
Raechel
Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Lovecraft & horror fans.
This is a short book, but worth the read if you're a HP Lovecraft or horror fan.

Supernatural Horror in Literature is HP Lovecraft's essay on...well, supernatural horror in literature. He breaks his essay into chapters covering 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, Edgar Allan Poe, The Weird Tradition in America, The Weird Tradition in the British Isles, and The Modern Masters.

While a
...more
Fernando Suarezserna
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I got four key takeaways from this book:

- According to Lovecraft, in the horror genre, creating the right atmosphere is way more important than plot.
- In short stories, character is not that important. Lovecraft mentions Edgar Allan Poe as an example, whose main characters were usually gloomy, mysterious men, and we don't usually get to know anything about them, oftentimes not even their names, yet his short stories were awesome.
- There are authors such as Bram Stoker whose ideas were so good, t
...more
Marina (Sonnenbarke)
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an amazing essay on weird fiction, the only problem with it is that it spoilers lots of books big time. That is extremely annoying and prevented me from giving it 5 stars. It would be a great introduction to weird fiction if not for this. However, this reason alone makes me advice against reading it if you haven't already read a lot of weird literaure.
Michelle B
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Essentially a long essay on what he likes and suggestions for how to go about it. Interesting if you're an aspiring writer or looking for reading suggestions, provided you can find any of it.
Elisabeth Haljas
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well written overview of the past centuries of mystical and supernatural writings. The older version of King's Danse Macabre, and shorter as well. Definitely arose curiosity of a few other authors I hope to read from in the future.
Kenn Schubach
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great essay from HPL. You can find almost all of his writing influences mentioned in here . . . then add in the house library he had access to from the time he was a small child . . . especially the sciences . . . voila!
Benjamin Stahl
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A very informative and thorough exploration through the greats works of the genre, by one of the masters of the genre. I particularly like that Lovecraft drew particular attention to Bierce's The Spook House and Kipling's The Recrudescence of Imray, as I found those to be the scariest of their respected authors also. I also wonder, if he were still around, what Lovecraft would have to say about Stephen King.
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Literary Horror: History of Literary Horror Challenge 16 30 Oct 21, 2017 11:41AM  
  • On Writing Horror: A Handbook by the Horror Writers Association
  • H.P. Lovecraft: A Biography
  • Horror: The 100 Best Books
  • Gothic
  • H.P. Lovecraft: A Life
  • The Philosophy of Horror: Or, Paradoxes of the Heart
  • The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana: A Guide to Lovecraftian Horror
  • The Complete John Silence Stories (Dover Horror Classics)
  • Carnacki, the Ghost Finder
  • The Haunted Dolls' House and Other Ghost Stories
  • Our Vampires, Ourselves
  • H.P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life
  • The Three Impostors and Other Stories
  • The Haunter of the Dark and Other Grotesque Visions
  • Metafiction: The Theory and Practice of Self-Conscious Fiction
  • Gothic: Four Hundred Years of Excess, Horror, Evil and Ruin
  • A Rendezvous in Averoigne
  • The Yellow Sign & Other Stories
11,172 followers
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
...more
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” 1900 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.” 27 likes
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