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The Great God Pan

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  6,839 Ratings  ·  584 Reviews
The Great God Pan" is a novella written by Arthur Machen. A version of the story was published in the magazine Whirlwind in 1890, and Machen revised and extended it for its book publication (together with another story, "The Inmost Light") in 1894. On publication it was widely denounced by the press as degenerate and horrific because of its decadent style and sexual conten ...more
Paperback, 82 pages
Published January 1st 1995 by Creation Books (first published 1894)
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JamesB. Absolutely ! It's haunting, and powerful, and horrifying, because of what it suggests, much more than because of what it states. Machen makes every…moreAbsolutely ! It's haunting, and powerful, and horrifying, because of what it suggests, much more than because of what it states. Machen makes every sentence count. (less)

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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
Nov 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As good as advertised, called by Stephen King to be perhaps the greatest horror story in English. Not sure about that, but I can see how influential this may have been. Really weird and has allusions to myth. First published in 1890, this is after Poe but before Lovecraft, creating something of a bridge between masters of the horror genre.

This has all the elements of a great story and created a benchmark for what makes a horror story.

☘Misericordia☘  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
Whatever the hell was going on with the society when this was published. This, a sensation? Underwhelming. Thank God I live now not then: I would have died bored out of my mind!
Too whimsical for me. Reads like a cross of Hawthorne with Poe with just a tad of Lovecraft and several notes from Merezhkovsky (of all autors!) added into the mix. Though in the case of Merezhkovsky it is not clear who influenced who (even if this was not a case of ideas congeniality), since they sort of worked and publi
J.G. 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
Eddie Watkins
Oct 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Marko Radosavljevic
Za sve izdavače...ovako se pristupa poslu,knjizi,piscu,prevodu
Kat  Hooper
Mar 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
For Reasons, a guy named Raymond wants to experiment on putting a person into some sort of altered state. Mary was, like, super poor, and he took her in and fed her, so this is fair, he says. She agrees because of Stockholm-syndrome-like loyalty to this creep. Bad idea genes abound here, and then-- Mary and Raymond are basically out of the narrative.

Again with a really destitute person in the street, Herbert, an old school chum of Villiers. No, you're not supposed to know who Villiers is. Does h
Apr 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was a strange little story, sold as paganism, with a touch of sexuality. It had a supernatural feel, that left me holding my breath in anticipation. Unfortunately, due to the confusing nature of the book, it also left me holding my head in confusion more than once. I was initially intrigued by the story, but midway through it morphed into a Sherlock style detective case, before getting back to the mystical elements that made it unique. Overall it was a good idea, but poorly executed.
Nickolas the Kid
Mar 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Όμορφα πλασμένες ιστορίες με δόσεις τρόμου και υπερφυσικού. Ο Μάχεν ξέρει να ανακατεύει μύθους και θρύλους της Βρετανίας με όμορφες ιστορίες μυστηρίου.
Καλό βιβλίο αλλά όχι σαν το αριστούργημα "Ο Λόφος των Ονείρων"...

Οι δυο ιστορίες που με γοήτευσαν πιο πολύ ήταν " Ο Μέγας Θεός Παν" και η "Νουβέλα της άσπρης Σκόνης"

Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
قادتني أبحاثي المريعة إلى آرثر ماكِن منذ فترة بعيدة، لكنني أجلت قراءته كما يحدث كثيرًا للأسف، حتى وجدت صاحب مكتبتي المفضلة يقترح عليَّ هذا الكتيب الصغير الذي يوحي غلافه المسروق بالاسترخاص المنتشر إياه (ومع ذلك فالناشر يذكر أن الغلاف من تصميم إسلام مجاهد. لكن اسم آرثر ماكِن أثار ذاكرتي على الفور، فأمسكت بالكتاب لأرى صورة السيد لافكرافت على غلافه الخلفي مع عبارة من المديح للرواية. كان ذلك أكثر من كافٍ لي لأشتري الكتاب بلا تردد.

بالطبع تجاهلت الصورة الأخرى لستيفن كينج، وعبارته التي تزعم أن هذه الروا
Dec 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, short-fiction
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
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
Red Panda
Aug 11, 2015 rated it liked it
I was in a minor car accident this morning (nothing serious, just a bad case of whiplash) and I'm on diazepam, so apologies in advance if this makes even less sense than my normal 'reviews'...

The Great God Pan is, apparently, a seminal work of horror fiction. I've been reading horror fiction all my life, though, and I'd never even heard of it until Stephen King mentioned it (I forget where; did I mention I'm on diazepam?)

It's actually not bad at all. While I was reading it, I was thinking 'this
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, horror
I envy the people who got to read this when it was first published. Then it would have had quite an impact, I think.

The Great God Pan is a great story. If you like a story within a story concept (in this case add a couple of more layers), you may find this really enjoyable. I saw its parts as a collection of circles, each encompassing the next, and each representing a fragment in a larger story.

In short, The Great God Pan opens with a scientist dabbling in the occult opening a door whi
Христо Блажев
Великият бог Пан обсебва умовете и душите:

”Великият бог Пан” носи чудесния привкус на готическите истории, а на мен ми напомняше силно и на Артър Конан Дойл и неговия герой Шерлок Холмс, чиито детективски случаи излизат в същия период. Макън създава жива творба, в която преплита своето детско увлечение по римската култура, смесва паганистичните вярвния с мистицизма, типичен за епохата, и дълбае в подсъзнателния ужас, който винаги е бил по-могъщ от натурал
Apr 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror-gothic
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
Marko Vasić
Transcedentalno-psihodelična zbirka priča. Potpuno oduševljenje svakom ponaosob, što je kod mene retkost. Srava u narativu Artura Makena je višeg stepena. On, zapravo, piše o posledicama te strave, a daje samo njen nagoveštaj. Tako da se u umu stvara klaustrofobično-panični efekat neizbežne katastrofe koja odnekuda vreba. "Veliki bog Pan" je psihološki horor-triler koji vrca seksualnim nabojem i misterijom. "Beli ljudi" su mi omiljena priča iz ove zbirke, i morao sam dva puta da se vratim njoj. ...more
Leo Robertson
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a review of this newly polished and edited version, brought out by Unnerving.

The story itself is awesome. The prose of the original, however, is dire. It rambles on and on for ages, fails to just get to the point, frequently contains speeches instead of dialogue and more, and this is key: without good reason.

The clunkiness of Machen's prose is generally inexcusable, and Generous has done a great cleanup job on this story, with love and care, with the aim of securing more readers for it.
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
May 31, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
Picking up the old horror classics and working my way through them, I hope to find some real gems that do better than contemporaries. Of course, fiction is fiction and it always changes with time; all styles die. It had the feel of all good ghost stories, without actually being a ghost story. I had to compare it with similar titles, like Prometheus Unbound, or Dracula, and it just felt tired.

Not bad, just not very revealing or deep. It's a good book for a day you want to relax and flow into a s
Sep 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Please note I have this story 3.5 stars and rounded it to 4 stars on Goodreads.

I initially picked this to read for my classic horror square, but read something else instead. I still think this is a good short story to read that is not too gory for the non-horror reader group.

Written in 1894, "The Great God Pan" created a hysterical stir for being seen as degenerate writing that depicted sexual situations that just were not talked about in polite circles.

I guess those Victorians were super sensi
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
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
Quentin Wallace
Sep 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I suppose this story was just a little over my head. This has been called "possibly the greatest horror story ever written" by Stephen King himself, and while I did enjoy it, I surely didn't see it as the greatest ever.

This was written in the 19th century, and Lovecraft always cited this story as one of his inspirations. I could definitely see elements of Lovecraft's style here. I don't really know how to go into detail about the story without spoilers, so let's just say it deals with Pan and is
Nov 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
“In every grain of wheat there lies hidden the soul of a star.”

Dr. Raymond believes in a reality beneath the frail flesh of this world from which you draw breath. Beneath the beauty, the fluttering creatures of passing color, under the trickling waters refracting rays of sunlight, a deeper essence lies. He calls it “The Great God Pan.” He wants to find an entrance to this deeper place, so he performs an experiment on Mary. When he drills a hole in her head, she sees. The terror cripples her mind
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
I read this as part of the #sassyreads readalong in May and I have to say it gave me quite a few giggles. this isn't the sort of novella I would typically choose for myself, it has gothic sex and horror all blended in together, but I did actually enjoy it.

This follows the story of a young woman who sees the Great God Pan after a nasty experiment by a rather detestable man. From this point on she's forever altered and various odd and creepy situations begin to arise.

I don't want to give mush more
Димитър Цолов
Суперлативите за писатели, особено когато са под формата на цитати от други писатели (виж в описанието на профила на книжлето), и то много известни писатели, че и любими мои писатели (изключвам Борхес, понеже не го познавам), винаги са ме карали да заставам нащрек. Разбира се, имало е случаи, в които съм установявал, че опасенията ми са били безпочвени - Клайв Баркър, възвеличан от Кинг, примерно, се оказа наистина велик (лично мнение). Обаче в нередки случаи се убеждавам, че прекалената напудре ...more
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.
Jerry Jose
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This classic felt like a concatenated version of Robert W Chambers' 'The King in Yellow' with a supernatural detective feel similar to that of 'The Horror at Red Hook'. Loved it.

The Great God Pan can be passed as an aftermath of Hodgeson's 'Baumoff Explosive', with a very similar science fiction rationale that blurs the line between conventional supernatural and the cosmic sense of lovecraftian horror. But Machen's account, unlike Lovecraft's, lacks the existential sense. There is dreadness, edg
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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
More about Arthur Machen

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“We know what happened to those who chanced to meet the Great God Pan, and those who are wise know that all symbols are symbols of something, not of nothing. It was, indeed, an exquisite symbol beneath which men long ago veiled their knowledge of the most awful, most secret forces which lie at the heart of all things; forces before which the souls of men must wither and die and blacken, as their bodies blacken under the electric current. Such forces cannot be named, cannot be spoken, cannot be imagined except under a veil and a symbol, a symbol to the most of us appearing a quaint, poetic fancy, to some a foolish tale. But you and I, at all events, have known something of the terror that may dwell in the secret place of life, manifested under human flesh; that which is without form taking to itself a form.” 16 likes
“I knew I had looked into the eyes of a lost soul, Austin, the man's outward form remained, but all hell was within it.” 15 likes
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