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Classic Horror Writer's Corner > Hundred Year Old Horror

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message 1: by Justin (last edited May 26, 2017 02:16PM) (new)

Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments This thread is dedicated to showcasing old classic authors and their works. It features posts, analyzing authors ratings and an overall essence of paying homage to some of the most prolific horror literature from hundreds of years ago.

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https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

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message 2: by Justin (new)

Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments I thought I would look into a female horror author by the name of Mary Elizabeth Braddon. She was a Victorian and Gothic writer and was quite popular in her day. She was known for writing intricate and clever tales as well as mysteries, crimes and of course dark fiction. Some of her works include Lady Audley's Secret which is her most famous, The Trial of the Serpent , The Doctor's Wife as well as The Cold Embrace and Other Ghost Stories and At Chrighton Abbey and Other Horror Stories. A quick glance at her many books here on Goodreads shows that her books rate all over the place from 3.2 to 3.5 and even some at 4- 4.2. A further quick glance makes me notice that her average of books rate between 3.5 and 3.6 which of course is only peoples personal ratings on here. I imagine she still has a small following of fans given her rating and wide range or variety within genres and of course the fact that she wrote Victorian and gothic tales. She was also known for something called Sensation Fiction in the 1860's.

Given the time period to which she wrote she wrote way past 100 years which is quite remarkable. I wonder how well known for her Horror works she really was given the time she wrote, the fact that she was a woman during such a time and since she was known for other genres. Most horror during the 1800's was by men and even they were at times questioned or seen as outcasts. However I am more than sure she had quite a following and her horror works made her even more diverse and appreciated. She wrote over 75 novels yet only 30 distinct works are listed here on Goodreads. Perhaps she has some hidden treasures and lost gems of Horror and mystery? Whatever it may be, Mary Elizabeth Braddon can clearly be labeled as underrated in my opinion. To write in three different genres, at her time and to write in such a way; that truly takes a person of great skill to pull off during such a time.


message 3: by Justin (new)

Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments Upon recommendation I decided to look into a very underrated author and one whom besides myself I imagine not too many have heard of named Theophile Gautier. He was a french poet, journalist and literary critic. Much of his work on Goodreads is in french however some has been translated. It is said that he started writing poetry as early as 1826 which up to today would be 189 years ago. As I stated before being french many of his works are titled in and are in French however since this is about horror I wondered why he was recommended to me. As I browsed upon Gautier’s works I came across three horror works very interesting that caught my eye. The first was The Mummy's Foot and Other Stories a tale about a man who buys a 3,000 year old foot of a Princess from a Parisian curio shop. Gautier apparently had quite a fascination with Ancient Egypt(As do I) as well as an obsession with mortality and even that of decay. The next was a book called The Evil Eye and the last is called The Works Of Theophile Gautier V11 (1907) Spirite; The Vampire; Arria Marcella. I plan on reading this at some point assuming I can clear my book shelf and of course assuming I can find these books. I imagine they are quite rare and perhaps mostly in France.

I would normally do a analysis on the author’s works but seeing as I have little to work with and only came to 3 horror works that stood out I think I shall skip this assessment. I can clearly make a observant hypothesis that Theophile Gautier is very underrated and his work is rare to come by. If anyone has in fact read some of his work I encourage you to share as I would be very interested in getting your thoughts on him and his works. In close of this piece I would like to point out the time period to which Mr. Gautier wrote. As I stated in the beginning, he wrote as early as 1826 which was today 189 years ago. His works carry on to the 1830's, 40's and 50's. This makes his work almost around 200 years old, not quite but close and a very crazy thought. Not only is this a Hundred Year Old Horror but it’s almost Two Hundred year Old Horror, which just goes to show you how horror has stood the test of time and even back then in another country their were writers taken by it and writing it.


message 4: by Justin (last edited Oct 17, 2016 01:47PM) (new)

Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments For this analysis I thought I would look into author Algernon Blackwood. I've seen his name mentioned and thrown around in this group a few times and elsewhere so I thought now would be a good time to look into him and see how he fairs. A quick glance at his works showed me that out of the horror books I saw many were written between 1905 and 1914, just an innocent observation. Also while totally pointless and irrelevant to anything I noticed all his works that I took down have the word "The" in the beginning of the title. Does this mean anything? No absolutely not just another irrelevant observation.

Aside from writing novels he also wrote short stories and is one of the most famous ghost story writers in the Horror genre so he was definitely worth looking into and analyzing. He also wrote Fantasy and Weird Fiction but of course my sole focus on this piece will be for his Horror. Three of his most notable works are The Centaur, The Willows and The Wendigo. All three of these works are included on the list of ten to which I analyzed the numbers and ratings. Blackwood seems like the type of writer that I myself would look into based solely on the fact that he has catchy titles, is known for his ghost stories and seems like the type that people would recommend. He also influenced such authors as H.P Lovecraft and William Hope Hodgson.

Now for the analysis. Aside from The Willows, The Wendigo and The Centaur I also analyzed seven of his other horror works. The Willows and The Wendigo are certainly his most known as they are his highest rated on Goodreads at 4.11 and 3.90. The Centaur is one of his mid rated works at 3.60 the other being The Human Chord at 3.53. As I added them all together I came with an average of 3.68 which is slightly above average at 3.5. It seems to me that while people do enjoy Blackwood's works they also prefer his most known because there were only 5 above 3.6 and 5 at or below it. Again what does this mean? Well nothing I suppose because who really goes by Goodreads ratings? I only use this to determine and get an idea of how an author fairs here on the site. Based off the numbers it's easy to see that Blackwood fits right in the middle because five of his works I looked into are quite high and five of his other works are quite low so he really averages out.

Would I suggest reading Algernon Blackwood? Very much so if your looking for Hundred year Old Horror which I of course support and feel he definitely fits the bill of Hundred Year Old Horror. I would ever go as far to put him in the top 5 based solely on what I've read and have shared with you all here. I know I myself will be looking into some of his works when I have time and I will read one of his most notable ones and one of his lesser rated ones to determine for myself if they are right at their ratings. So if your wondering whether or not to look into Algernon Blackwood I say go for it!


message 5: by Justin (new)

Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments Haven't wrote a piece on this in a while. Fear not as I have been gathering a list of names to look into and analyze. Look for some pieces on the following authors in the coming months:

M.R James
Ernest G. Henham
James Malcolm Rymer
Richard Marsh
Bertram Mitford
George W.M. Reynolds
Marie Corelli


message 6: by Justin (last edited Aug 03, 2016 08:57PM) (new)

Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments For my latest post I decided to look into English author M.R James. James is widely known for his ghost stories, so good that he is considered one of the best in the genre. What sets James apart from most ghost writers and writers of his time was his unique style and old fashioned way of telling such stories. His most known work is “Ghosts of an Antiquary” which was published in 1904. He has also written such stories as “Old Testament Legends”, “More Stories of an Antiquary”, “a Thin Ghosts and Others” as well as many other ghost stories. He has quite a bit of scholar works in catalogs which are non-ghost related, a children’s book and many several of his ghost stories are reprints. It’s even been known that H.P Lovecraft was inspired by some of James’ work. Many others have said that James has inspired them and have stories or essays to which are clear indications of inspiration from James. Aside from written work James has also inspired several stories to which have been turned into tv and movie adaptations and even a few stage plays. Overall while his name doesn’t immediately draw notoriety it’s clearly evident that M.R James has inspired quite a bit of writers and mostly commonly in the ghost writing genre. He made such a big name for himself in the genre that not only have a few dozen fellow authors over the years been inspired by him but he even managed to master a craft of a specific type of writing to which he told his ghost stories which was named after him as the Jamesian style.

My analysis on M.R James? Well my first glance had me thinking he only had three works but someone pointed me in the right place and I was able to find his profile here on GR where he has quite the extensive length of works. So you know what I do, I take usually the first five works but in this case I took the first ten since they were all right there and all different. At first glance I was quite impressed as the first seven of his books were all ranked above 4.05 which in my opinion is downright impressive. I can’t remember the last time I analyzed someone who had such high ratings. His final three ratings were 3.71, 3.95 and finally his highest rating at 4.35. I added all ten ratings up and dived by ten to get an average of 4.12 which is above average when it comes to my ratings here on Goodreads. What does this mean and how does he rate compared to others in the past? Well the numbers don’t lie and speak for themselves. M.R James rates above average and it tells me that he is indeed the master of ghost stories and has quite the following here on Goodreads as people really enjoy and take to his work.

It’s also worth noting that one of his works was reprinted in 1929 and several of his other ghost stories were either re-printed or found and published well after his death in 1936. I don’t discredit him for this because many authors have stand alone books and some are one book wonders, so I think it’s safe to say that James did just fine. I also find it fascinating that he mastered his own unique style of writing that he did so well that it was named after him. It makes me think that his style was so intricate and precise that while many authors tend to write about the same things, I think James was able to avoid doing this on many occasions. Of course I’d need to read some of his works but if I had to guess I’d say one of his abilities and parts of his own unique style was writing a ghost story that stood out from the others and he did it so well that it didn’t sound like any other that he wrote. Either this or he just told the same stories but in such a way that you weren’t sick of reading them because it still sounds new and fresh compared to the others.

Over all my analysis on M.R James is this: He was and still could be considered one of the greatest ghost story writers of all time. While he only wrote a handful of books during his life that were published it is irrelevant because I believe these books when first printed were likely best sellers or at the very least quite popular. I believe his unique style made him stand out over other ghost writers at the time and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if his style has been copied or at least attempted by many well known ghost story and horror writers of today. Finally, since I myself happened to come across his name from one of his works on Valancourt Books’ Victorian and Edwardian section and only then did I have to look up him as his name did not ring a bell. So while his name may not be well known today I bet his stories might be. He could be one of those authors that while you don’t know the same you know his works as they out weight the author himself. So if your looking for a rare classic writer of hundred year old horror or a exceptional ghost story then check out M.R James.


message 7: by Justin (new)

Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments I decided to look into Canadian and British author Ernest G. Henham. He was another author whose name I came across while browsing the Victorian and Edwardian section on Valancourt Books. He has quite the extensive collection of books having written them in between 1897 and 1927 clearly making him an author of of his subject. Some of his works include God, Man and the Devil (1897), Menotah: A Tale of the Riel Rebellion (1897), Tenebrae (1898), Pete Barker's Shanty (1898), Bonanza: A Tale of the Outside (1901), Scud (1902) among many more. He also wrote under a pseudonym by the name of John Trevena, under this name he has written just as many books under his own name if not more. Aside from publishing in the UK Henham's works were also published in the United States and twice he had some of his works reviewed by the New York Times.

Unfortunately Henham only has 4 distinct works here on Goodreads and no profile. I have tried to widen the search but it appears as though that it is him and not just an unfinished profile. This means that I cannot do a usual Goodreads analysis on him however I will continue my information on him and also tell you some interesting findings I came upon when looking him up. First, as you may remember I said I found him on Valancourt Books, the book to which I saw that was written by him was Tenebrae which is even listed as a Valancourt Classic on Amazon. One clear distinction of Henham that makes him perfect for this is that his works were all clearly written hundreds of years ago and not only that but he was quite a busy man which I will get into and explain a bit later on. Henham wrote within a few genres so while he isn't totally horror he did write a good amount of books within the horror genre. He was also considered a bit of a recluse and private man but always stuck to his passion of writing books.

So I mentioned a bit ago that he was a busy man. Well I would say he was because he wrote at least one book every year and sometimes wrote a book as himself and John Trevena although after he switched names he wrote more exclusively under his pseudonym. Aside from a two year absence in which he did not write, most of his works were written once a year from 1897-1898, 1901-1904, This is merely a brief summary on a private and unforgotten but vastly underrated and successful author in the literary world. For more on author Ernest G. Henham check out his biography as well as some of his most popular works on the place I discovered him, Valancourt Books.

http://www.valancourtbooks.com/john-t...


message 8: by Werner (new)

Werner | 185 comments Justin wrote: "My analysis on M.R James? Well this is a bit different then most for a big reason. For one, he only has two listed works on Goodreads which are one of his Ghost stories, his most famous “Ghosts of an Antiquary”....

Justin, you unfortunately clicked on an incorrectly created (and now defunct) author link, entered by someone who obviously wasn't aware of the correct link, here: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... . As you'll find there, he has 464 distinct works on Goodreads, making him one of the more prolific authors in the database.

This is a fascinating thread, and one I plan to come back to in the near future! I will say that I've read Braddon's At Chrighton Abbey and Other Horror Stories, and gave the collection four stars. My review is here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... .


message 9: by Justin (new)

Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments Thanks Werner someone told me this in the other group i post this i just forgot to update this. I'll update this one so it has my analysis like the other.


message 10: by Justin (new)

Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments Werner wrote: "Justin wrote: "My analysis on M.R James? Well this is a bit different then most for a big reason. For one, he only has two listed works on Goodreads which are one of his Ghost stories, his most fam..."

Updated my take on M.R James with my analysis on him based on his rating here on Goodreads.


message 11: by Werner (new)

Werner | 185 comments Justin, I read your update; interesting statistics! I've read several of James' ghost stories, and liked them, and I have one of his collections on my to-read shelf.


message 12: by Justin (new)

Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments For my latest post I look into author James Malcolm Rymer. The good part about Rhymer is that unlike my previous two authors, his profile was not hidden behind ones with hardly any info, I found him right away so that's a good start. James Malcolm Rhymer is a British author who is probably well known for two distinct works, he is the author of the Vampire series Varney the Vampire and while at times debated he his the attributed author of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. So while the name may not ring a bell you know him for these two works. Another interesting thing about Rhymer is that all information on him is impossible to trace and claim legitimate. Everything on his is very likely but cannot be proven. Some of these things are his background prior to being a writer and as an author. It is also impossible to accurately count the number of novels that he actually wrote during his lifetime. While we may not know all of his works there is one thing that we do know, he was a widely successful author and much of his success can be attributed to his Vampire series.

Alright so how does he rate here on Goodreads? I will first give you his actual rating that Goodreads shows. Normally I don't do this because of the exact reason to which I am about to explain. Rhymer's rating on Goodreads is 3.69 however well over half of those are all different versions of his book Varney the Vampire. This is the main reason as to why I do not simply take the rating Goodreads gives an author because a lot of their work may be listed several times. So I did my own analysis going back to just five books rather then the recent 10 I've been doing. I took his two most popular books as well as three others and added them up and divided them. I got an overall rating of 3.53 which is average for authors as I've come to notice. It isn't too far off of GR's rating of him so with that I would put him around the 3.60 range which would then make him slightly above average.

One of his books was Vampire Triptych a book that contained two other vampire stories, Camillia and Dracula also listing their respectful authors as the writers(Le Fanu and Stoker). This was likely written well after all their deaths as a reprinted collection of Vampire stories. When I saw it I thought it was quite a clever idea and a very interested book with three well known vampire tales. However it also made me think that out of the three, Rhymer's tale Varney the Vampire is probably ranks second after Dracula and before Camillia. I will also note that being a known writer of vampire novels is not a bad thing in fact at the time it probably made him stand out quite considerably.

Rhyer wrote many of his works between 1842 and 1869. These include such works as Varney the Vampire, Ada the Betrayed, The Black Monk; or, The Secret of the Grey Turret, The Fate of the Vampyre, Bride of the Vampyre:A Romance and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street among many more. He was considered a penny dreadful author having written in the style at the time. He also published under two pseudonyms which means he probably has even more works that we actually know of.

So how good of a writer is James Malcolm Rhymer? I would definitely consider him a Top 15 of Hundred Year Old Horror seeing as he his known for a series, wrote about vampires and his rating overall tells me that his work is still very much appreciated and read today. His obscured and questionable credit to his number of works and his life may be sketchy but I don't factor that into his analysis in fact if anything it makes him more mysterious and makes him fit right into the genre to which he writes. Like M.R James with Ghost stories I'd strongly recommend James Malcolm Rhymer for those looking for a hundred year old horror vampire book that isn't Dracula. As long as people keep reading his works then perhaps Rhymer is just what he wrote about..a vampire and lives on forever.


message 13: by Canavan (last edited Aug 08, 2016 10:15AM) (new)

Canavan Justin wrote (in part):

So how good of a writer is James Malcolm Rhymer? I would definitely consider him a Top 15 of Hundred Year Old Horror seeing as he his known for a series, wrote about vampires and his rating overall tells me that his work is still very much appreciated and read today.

Just offering a counterpoint regarding Rymer. What follows is my opinion, of course. The fact that Rymer’s name survives at all is largely accidental. Varney the Vampire is a relatively early example of the English vampire, a genre that went on to become extremely popular. And String of Pearls is remembered because it’s the rudimentary basis for a hugely popular Stephen Sondheim musical. Are either of these works (or any of Rymer’s other novels) any good? The answer is not really. They’re no worse than many of the other penny dreadfuls being produced during the 19th century, but that’s not saying much. Looking specifically at Varney, every once in a while Rymer pens an effective scene, but in the main the book is incredibly repetitious, filled with inconsistencies, and bogged down by simply terrible dialog. I’d recommend it as critical to those interested in the history of the literary vampire, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a work of art. Genre historian E. F. Bleiler rather stingingly describes it as an “example of low-level popular fiction for the working classes (and adolescents) but not deserving of any praise”. If I were to construct a personal list of the 15 most worthy practitioneers of supernatural literature prior to 1915, Rymer certainly wouldn’t be included; Le Fanu probably would.


message 14: by Justin (new)

Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments Canavan wrote: "Justin wrote (in part):


So how good of a writer is James Malcolm Rhymer? I would definitely consider him a Top 15 of Hundred Year Old Horror seeing as he his known for a series, wrote about vam..."


Everyone's entitled to their own opinion, no harm done Canavan. It's not for everyone. I'm just doing my justice by doing these write ups of these authors because I find it enjoyable to look into and others may as well.


message 15: by Werner (new)

Werner | 185 comments My only experience of Rhymer's writing was with an excerpt from Varney the Vampire, included in The Penguin Book of Vampire Stories (which I would definitely recommend to classic horror fans). Personally, I actually found it well-written, and pretty gripping; but that doesn't mean that the novel as a whole would have those qualities, nor that the whole is well-constructed.

Interestingly, although modern scholarship credits Rhymer with the authorship of this long serialized novel, older students of the "penny dreadful" school gave the credit to Thomas Prest. It's been suggested that as the work was dragged out and allowed to evolve over installment after installment (it was popular at the time, and the publishers didn't want to let go of a good thing!), both men may have contributed to its writing, and that quite possibly some of the publisher's other house authors did as well.


message 16: by Justin (new)

Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments Thanks for your thoughts Werner. Yeah, I found most of Rhymers work on here and read ups about him all focused on his Varney the Vampire series.


message 17: by Justin (new)

Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments This next post is on author Richard Marsh another British author. His real name is Richard Bernard Heldmann and uses Richard Marsh as a pseudonym. His most famous work is The Beetle a supernatural thriller which remained in prit all the way until 1960. It remained unpublished until it was reprinted in 2006 and 2007. He used to write under his middle and last name until he decided to write under the name Richard Marsh. As a young man he attended Oxford University. I came across Marsh on Valancourt Books site where he has quite the collection. He has 16 books listed on the site including his most famous, The Beetle as well as three lesser known books, In Full Cry, Mrs. Musgrave and her Husband and The Devil's Diamond.

How does he rank on Goodreads? Well from a quick look his first 10 books are all over the place. Three are in the 3.50 range, one is over that at 3.71 and the rest are well below 3.50. I took the ten books added them and then divided them to get a total of 3.38 that's below average. One reason I believe he ranks so low is because he's so well known for The Beetle that when people go to read his other books their simply disappointed as the others just don't measure up as well, again just my opinion. 3.38 isn't bad as it's better than 2 but it's definitely below the average which is at 3.50. The Beetle rates at 3.50 so it's only fitting that his most well known book is the standard average of most authors. It's also worth noting that The Beetle is said to have been a better seller at the time of it's release than Brom Stoker's Dracula, which if that's the case then he and Stoker share the same distinction of having a one hit wonder as a book with their others just not as popular.

So what is my take on Richard Marsh? Well I'd say he's definitely worth checking out for his infamous work The Beetle but also I think he's someone to whom you should judge a book by it's cover. As I look at his works on Valancourt Books I find his covers very interesting and intriguing and if you like taking chances on books based on their covers, give him a chance. Don't let this be the only reason however as Marsh does sound like he was quite the author in fact I would consider him underrated based off the fact that people just don't seem to take to his works or give them a chance. If you do come across a Richard Marsh book I'd suggest checking it out, buying it and giving it a read, I know I would If I ever came across one. So if your a member of the classics then check out Richard Marsh.

http://www.valancourtbooks.com/richar...


message 18: by Justin (new)

Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments For my latest post I take a look at English author Bertram Mitford. Mitford wrote in the genres of Horror, Mystery and Historical Fiction. Many of his novels were based in South Africa. His two most well known horror novels areThe Weird of Deadly Hollowpublished in 1891 and The Sign of the Spider: An Episode published in 1896. Some of his other works include The White Shield, The White Hand and the Black, The King’s Assegai and The Induna’s Wife. While he isn’t known for being a horror writer his name did come up somewhere to make me list it and two distinct works of horror is good enough for me to do an analysis on him so let’s take a look to see how Mitford fairs on Goodreads in ranking and I’ll give my personal analysis on him.

Right away I see that his works have an average rating of 3.53 which is pretty solid. As for my rating I took his five most popular books, the two distinct horror books as well as three others. His two horror books rate at 3.29 and 3.31, another rates at 3.00 while two are rated in the 4's of 4.29 and 4.50. The White Shield has the 4.50 rating which is quite impressive however given that only 4 people on the site read it, it’s no wonder why it’s rated so high. As I put all five books ratings together I come up with a rating of 3.67 which is around what I expected. While Mitford’s overall rating is 3.53, if you rate his top 5 known books his rating goes above average which is about right. They say numbers never lie but from a quick assumption I gather that like many other authors I’ve analyzed before him and knowing much about them either I can conclude that Mitford is known by some degree and is quite the writer and clearly people enjoy his works.

Mitford’s first book was a book of poetry called Our Arms in Zululand which was published in 1881. In his time as a writer Mitford wrote 44 books from 1881 until 1912. He was a contemporary of H Rider Haggard who was also an author who was in South Africa which is how the two met. As to whether or not his two distinct horror books are set in South Africa or if he wrote other horror novels that were set in South Africa I don’t know but given that much of his work is set there it’s a good guess that there are. So what’s my take on Bertram Mitford? Well I say he could definitely qualify under underrated for those who do like him and given his presence compared to other writers of that time, I’d say he’s lesser known but looks to have been quite an interestingly prolific writer. I myself am interested in reading The Weird of the Deadly Hollow and The Sign of the Spider so seeing that in my small analysis on him got me interested in checking him out I’d suggest you do the same.


message 19: by Justin (new)

Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments This post is on another English author George W.M. Reynolds. Reynolds is most of the most popular authors of Victorian England. From a quick glance at his name while I don’t recall him off hand his name does stick out and make me feel as though I’ve seen his name around places. Like fellow Victorian author James Malcolm Rhymer, Reynolds is known for his “penny dreadfuls” stories. Aside from being a novelist he was also a journalist and chartist. Reynolds wrote in the Horror and mystery genres as well. His famous works include Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf, The Mysteries of London, Vol. I and The Necromancer. For a more thorough bio on Reynolds check out his page on Valancourt Books @ http://www.valancourtbooks.com/george...

Now we analyze the rating of Reynolds so what I will do is rate his five most popular books three of course you already know of since I mentioned them above. Wagner the Werewolf has an average of 3.40 with over 124 ratings which is well above average so this is definitely one of his most famous works. He has a series of Penny Dreadfuls that were published along with works of James Malcolm Rhymer that rates at 3.56 and The Mysteries of London has 26 ratings about an average rating of 3.96 which is exceptional for any book I’ve analyzed. I added two other books with ratings of 3.80 and 5.00, to be fair a 5.00 rating isn’t the best to throw in given it’s been read and rated once but all his other works have no ratings. If we add the total up and divide it we get a total of 3.94 if we get rid of the 5.00 rating book we get 3.68 which is a lot more realistic and is above average. So I basically didn’t need to include the fifth book but I wanted to give you an idea of how a 5.00 rating can effect an author and how much it differs when it’s removed. Reynolds in my opinion is where he should be, above 3.5 and sitting well in the 3.6 range.

Isn’t it ironic that he has a book called Wagner the Werewolf and Rhymer has a book called Varney the Vampire? I’m sure it’s not coincidence although if it is it’s quite a good one. This book as well as The Mysteries of London and The Necromancer are what he is widely known for. I’ve heard of The Nceromancer but have never read it. Given that he was one of the most popular authors of the Victorian era it doesn’t surprise me that he is still being read today. While no Poe, like him he made it work back then but perhaps found his popularity grow well after his death. I’d definitely recommend him if your looking to get started in reading horror of centuries past. His three most popular books alone are enough to get even the biggest horror fan excited. It’s also worth noting that he was born in 1814 and Wagner the Werewolf was written in 1846. My point? Reynolds was born over 200 years ago and Wagner the Werewolf was written 170 years ago which makes him older than Hundred year hold horror, now that’s quite interesting.


message 20: by Justin (new)

Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments Seeing that Halloween is upon on us I thought I'd really crack down on this thread and get some good posts and analysis going. I am very pleased to announce that I have found a lot of excellent authors and books and will be doing some posts on them. Lots of rarities which means for sure to be quality content not too many people know about.

With that being said, here's what you can expect to read about this month:

Marie Corelli
Ambrose Bierce
Edward Bulwer Lytton
M.P. Shiel
Florence Marryat

-A look inside the works of Bram Stoker that aren't Dracula

As well as inside looks on books that are over 200 years old! Books that include:
The Monk by M.G. Lewis
The Demon of Sicily by Edward Montague
The Animated Skeleton by Anonymous
The Fatal Vow by Francis Lathom
The Witch of Ravensworth by George Brewer

Plenty of great classic content to look forward to so stay tuned as I will look to get my posts on these out soon.


message 21: by Justin (new)

Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments For the latest piece in Hundred Year Old Horror I take a look a British author Marie Corelli.
She wrote during the Victorian and Edwardian era. Her works were wildly popular, best sellers and anticipated being read by people all over England. Despite being like many authors who have critics, like them Corelli never let them stop her from writing and had fairly solid success. Over her lifetime she wrote thirty books. She wrote in the horror, gothic, historical fiction and even some romance. I found Marie Corelli’s name like I find most authors, on Valancourt books under their Victorian era section. How does she rank on Goodreads and among her horror peers of her time? We shall fins out but let’s first understand that it doesn’t matter whether it was a man or woman back in the day, a writer who wrote in the horror genre was at times deemed controversial. Let’s see how she ranks!

Right away as I look at her overall rating based on her 77 distinct works listed on Goodreads I see she has a rating of 3.91 which sounds quite remarkable. However given that most books in such an era tend to have 8-10 actual books and most being doubles or one rating of 5 stars I’m thinking it’s safe to say that rating is generous. So I did my own analysis and took five of her first couple works listed and came up with an overall rating of 3.84. It’s also worth noting that al her books on the first page of her Goodreads profile rate over 3.5, which is quite impressive so perhaps I jumped the gun with my assumption of her having a generous ranking but even so, most authors tend to fluctuate within the rankings by having books all over the place. What can I conclude based off this small analysis? People on Goodreads seem to enjoy Marie Corelli and she rates quite well and would be deemed above average on my scale. Some of her works include The Sorrows of Satan or The Strange Experience of One Geoffrey Tempest, Millionaire, Ardath: The Story of a Dead Self, Vendetta and Ziska: The problem of a Wicked Soul, among more.

What do I think of Marie Corelli? I would say her resume is quite impressive and she was quite the writer considering she wrote both romance and horror while at times tying both it with the use of gothic literature. Would I myself read one of her books? There’s two I’d consider checking out but I’d probably stay away from her romance books even if they were coated with gothic themes because romance novels aren’t my thing however The Sorrows of Satan I’d check out. I’ll also say that I haven’t come across many women writing horror during this era but that means nothing as I’m sure there are many and I just simply haven’t come across them. It is definitely good to see successful woman authors during this era besides the unfamous Mary Shelley who wrote the always forever popular Frankenstein. I’ll conclude this piece with something I never get to conclude it with, an author’s website. Normally if I conclude with a site to check out the work it’s to Valancourt Books but surprisingly enough, there is a site solely dedicated to Marie Corelli. I leave it here and let you check it out.

http://mariecorelli.org.uk/


message 22: by Justin (new)

Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments I thought I’d do a special in depth piece on Ambrose Bierce. I talked about Bierce in one of the early comments I did when I first started this, I compared to him to other well known horror authors. He rated well but I’m going to do a sole analysis on him and compare him to no one and let his works and rating peak for themselves. So who was Ambrose Bierce? If you’re like me you used to hear the name but never bothered to see who was behind the man. When I finally decided to look him and to see who he was not only was I surprised but I was pleasantly surprised and intrigued by his background and career. Who was Ambrose Bierce? Bierce was an author, poet, short story writer, journalist, satirist and most of all long before he picked up a pencil and paper to begin writing he was a solider during the Civil War.

Bierce was born in 1842 in Ohio. He left home at the age of just 15 to become a printer’s devil of a newspaper. Bierce enrolled in the military in 1861 and was in the 9th Indiana Infantry Regiment. His highest rank was lieutenant, and sometimes made maps of battelgrounds to which he fought upon. He fought in many well known battles of the Civil War including the first battle at Philippi and the Battle of Shiloh. The Battle of Shiloh was one of his most remembered battles as it was his inspiration behind some of his short stories and works. After taking part in several battles, witnessing countless bloodshed and getting a severe head injury, Bierce was discharged from the army in 1865. To say Bierce’s career in the military influenced his work as a writer would be an understatement. Not only did his career in the army influence him but there are accounts of Bierce saying that after the army that he wanted to write the accounts of what he saw while writing tales of creepy horror that he at times thought of when at war.

He was quite popular during the times of 1888 to 1891. His most well known works include his most well known An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, The Unabridged Devil's Dictionary, A Horseman in the Sky, Chickamauga, The Moonlit Road and Other Ghost and Horror Stories, The Damned Thing, among many more. I won’t tell you how many distinct works he has listed as it’s quite a big number and given his notoriety I well the two would contradict one another. I will state this though, Goodreads has him with a rating of 4.00, if you know my ratings and know where 4 ranks then you’d know that this is exceptional and above average putting him at the top along with some of horror’s other authors I’ve rated in the past. As for my own analysis and rating of him came up with a rating of 3.94 based off five of his most popular works listed. Again, we see that Bierce rates above average meaning people really seem to enjoy his works and why wouldn’t they? Mixing horror, mystery and ghost stories and sometimes with accounts of his Civil War experience? That makes for some very jam packed and interesting stories.

What are my thoughts on Ambrose Bierce? Well he definitely fascinates me that’s for sure. I haven’t read many of his works but I most certainly plan to. I’m a fan of both horror and the Civil War so I think I’d enjoy Bierce’s work. I did read one of his works but didn’t really enjoy it but it wasn’t a real representation of the type of work he wrote. I think Bierce in some ways and I stress some ways is underrated. Yes he’s known but at the same time he’s not known. Those who do know of him enjoy his work but I feel perhaps sometimes he gets lost in the shuffle when it comes to bringing up great horror writers and horror writers of the type when he wrote. His style, delivery and telling of dark imagery really shows that he was quite the prolific writer. One thing I know without reading his works is that both his fiction and non-fiction are equal in being well written. Given that he was known to have quite a vivid imagination when it comes to his horror stories and having written about real life accounts of his war experience it goes without saying that he was quite the gifted writer.

Finally, I will talk a but about his most famous work, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. From Goodreads: The condemned man stands on a bridge, his hands bound behind his back. A noose is tied around his neck. In a moment he will meet his fate: DEATH BY HANGING. There is no escape. Or is there? Find out in . . . An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. The book is rated at 4.01, has 15,048 ratings and a steady 380 reviews. It’s quite clear that people have enjoyed Bierce’s most famous story. The story was first published in the San Francisco Examiner in 1890. It then became a part of his collections in his book Tales of Soldiers and Civilians. The story takes place during the Civil War and known for it’s twist ending. The story has adapted many times over throughout the years in television and film. The story like many has inspired many other stories, films, segments and lyrics in songs.

So who was Ambrose Bierce? He was an exceptional writer who gifted us all with tremendous horror stories and sometmes real life accounts of his experience in the Civil War. A man who dedicated his life to his country and his side of the country as well as dedicate himself to writing from a very early age, taking a break and then picking it back up again. Bierce was one of the best writers of his time and is still being enjoyed today. He rates quite well on Goodreads as I’m sure he rates quite well in most places to which his work is profiled. For those who are asking if they should give his work a chance I can tell you that I myself will be making sure I read some of his works so that I can justify everything I have just written about the man. If you haven’t checked him out already, check out Ambrose Bierce, one of the finest writers of Hundred year Old Horror.


message 23: by Justin (new)

Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments The latest piece is on English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton. He was born in 1803 in the UK and his surrname was Bulwer with Lytton being a middle name he later added onto his last name for royal purposes. Aside from being an author. Bulwer-Lytton was also a poet, playwright and politician. He was referred to as Lord and was popular during his time. While his name may not be well known today perhap’s some of his coined terms well ring a bell as Lord Lytton is known for the terms, "the great unwashed", "pursuit of the almighty dollar", "the pen is mightier than the sword", and the infamous incipit "It was a dark and stormy night."(via Goodread). Most probably know him for these terms but he was quite the writer and has quite an extended resume and list of distinguished novels. So how does Lord Lytton rate on Goodreads? Let’s take a look.

Goodreads gives his books a rating of 3.78 which is above average. Like the last few people I’ve analyzed he has a few hundred distinct works and it’s likely many are duplicates and some have few ratings. As I look at his popular and known works I see a decent amount of ratings so with that let’s see how he fairs. As I total five of his most popular and gothic/thriller novels I come to a rating of 3.42 which is about average. He isn’t known as strictly being a horror writer but he did write several books in the genre such as Eugene Aram and The Haunted and the Haunters
Eugene Aram was published in 1832 making it over 180 years old! The book is a Crime/Mystery/Thriller with murder and like many authors during the time his book was deemed controversial for it’s topic and for it’s at time’s shocking actions. Nevertheless, he and the book were quite popular during the Victorian Era.

So what’s my take on Lord Edward Bulwer-Lytton? Well any guy referred to as a “lord” must have been a pretty big deal back then and sure this has nothing to do with his writing but it’s worth mentioning. I would say he had quite the career and was known for writing and being verse in many genres. For the man who coined the term “It was a dark and stormy night” you have to figure he has some great works of dark horror and mystery. I say he is an average but popular writer during the Victorian era and his works are worth checking out. For more on author Edward Bulwer-Lytton check him on @ http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/b... and check out his book Eugene Aram on Valancourt Books @ http://www.valancourtbooks.com/eugene...


message 24: by Justin (new)

Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments We take a look once again at another classic British writer in author M.P. Shiel. Shiel was born in 1865. He was known for writing supernatural and scientific romance novels. He was also known for writing series and short stories. He has a good extensive collection of works including his two most famous, The Purple Cloud and Prince Zaleski. Shiel was known to incorporate elements of his influences into his novels in great detail and was also known for combining dark themes into his mystery and detective novels most notably Prince Zaleski. Shiel is widely an unknown to many readers of today and given there’s little evidence of him making an impact and being known when he was alive it’s a safe assumption that Shiel was quite unknown and underrated. So how does M.P. Shiel rate on Goodreads? Let’s take a closer look and find out.

Goodreads shows his rating at 3.68. As I took five of his works I came up with a total of 3.39 which is rather low and below average. To be fair I took his two most popular works which rated at 3.54 and 3.04 then added those with his other horror works to which two were over 3.50 and one at an even 3.00. I would say since his ratings clearly fluctuate that there’s really no defined consensus about him at least here on Goodreads. As I stated above he is in my opinion quite underrated and these ratings show that from a horror standpoint. I would note that his 3.68 that Goodreads has him at most likely also factors in his science fiction romance novels as well. What does it all mean? Well it’s just a perspective but I would say the low rating helps him appear more underrated in the genre of horror.

What’s my take on M.P. Shiel? He is an enigma far more than most I have looked into. He has some interesting title works and the fact that he write both horror and sci-fi romance makes him interesting as he’s verse in two completely different genres. The Purple Cloud was his most famous and one of the first Post Apocalyptic/Last Man on Earth type novels. Seeing as people still very much enjoy such novels today and it’s his most famous work I don’t see why Shiel shouldn’t be read more than he is. Prince Zaleski is a mystery-crime novel with elements of paranormal figures, drug use and murder within it. Goodreads rates it at just 3.04 with another version at a solid average of 3.50. Valancourt Books praises the book upon their republishing of the novel so if one were to consider a book from Shiel I would highly recommend they start with Prince Zaleski and The Purple Cloud. Overall I find M.P. Shiel as an author that runs in between the lines of notoriety of what was considered popular horror during the turn of the century but very much intriguing and worth checking out.


message 25: by Justin (new)

Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments One thing Hundred Year Old hasn’t had much of is women but whenever I come across one that fits the genre I of course look to include them. For this part I talk about Florence Marryat. I don’t need to tell you she was British as this has practically become a standard in these pieces. Florence Marryat was known for her (as Goodreads describes them) sensational novels and took part in several celebrated spiritual mediums. She is considered one of the best writer during her time. After her first novel she always had a writing project for the ext 35 years. Her writing was not without controversy given her topics and wide range of taboo that she incorporated into her novels. She has several critically acclaimed novels and while I myself have never heard of her until recently I have a good feeling she rates quite well and is indeed still fairly popular today among those that know of her and her work.

Goodreads has her rating at 3.64. Upon analyzing five of her gothic horror novels I came up with a rating of a rather low 3.34. This as you kow is considered to be just below average. Perhaps my early thoughts about her being popular were a bit misconstrue but again I feel she is fairly popular for two reasons today, one she like every author has a fanbase and two, much of her fame shows based off her most famous book, The Blood of the Vampire. The book has the best rating of 3.72, has 151 ratings and there’s five editions of it on Goodreads. I’ll get more in depth about this book in a bit but for now let’s go back to her rating. I feel like M.P. Shiel and perhaps even more so Marryat’s rating that I came up with and even Goodreads rating does not truly show her popularity or ranks among other Victorian Era, Hundred Year Old horror authors. Mine especially, I would say the words about her and her writing clearly outweigh the ratings so while I won’t completely throw away the numbers I will let them speak for themselves and also let the words to which Valancourt Books and Goodreads says about her.

Back to The Blood of the Vampire . I gave you one reason why this book was her most popular and that was just on Goodreads. Why is it overall her most famous anywhere else? Well for one it’s a book about vampires which during the time it was written back in 1897, vampires were becoming a thing. Second, Goodreads and Valancourt books state, “One of the strangest novels by the prolific Florence Marryat (1837-1899), "The Blood of the Vampire" was the "other vampire novel" of 1897, appearing the same year as "Dracula.". That’s right, the same year as Dracula. I don’t feel this hurt her for a second in fact I think it probably helped. After people became so taken by Dracula that they longed for another vampire book and likely found it with Marryat’s book The Blood of the Vampire. Finally, the book is listed under genres such as Horror, Historical Victorian,Gothic, Paranormal and Fantasy. Needless to say, this book was one of the best books written during it’s time and even today still gets high praise among readers and horror readers alike.

Some of her other notable books include, The Dead Man's Message, There Is No Death, The Strange Transfiguration of Hannah Stubbs, The Spirit World and The Fate of Fenella. So what do I think of Florence Marryat? As stated earlier I think she is clearly regarded as one of the best writers during her time and of the Victorian Era. She was not afraid to write about the topics she wrote about, she always made time to write and I think she would have made for a popular and best selling author if she were alive today. I am glad to have come across her name as I feel I’ve learned a great deal about an author that as a horror fan I needed to know about and as should others. Hundred Year Old Horror stands the test of time and I think Florence Marryat is one of the people who is a clear definition of what this type of horror and writing is.

Check out more on this author at Valancourt Books:
http://www.valancourtbooks.com/floren...


message 26: by V (last edited Oct 20, 2016 10:00PM) (new)

V | 9 comments Oh My thanks JUSTIN! I have so much to read. I rather read classic horror I just finished In the Shadow of Edgar Allan Poe: Classic Tales of Horror, 1816-1914 Leslie S. Klinger. andFangs: The Vampire Archives, Volume 2 Otto Penzler

I think I will try The Monk soon.

I was introduced to some spooky, and creepy stories.


message 27: by Justin (new)

Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments V wrote: "Oh My thanks JUSTIN! I have so much to read. I rather read classic horror I just finished In the Shadow of Edgar Allan Poe: Classic Tales of Horror, 1816-1914 [author:Leslie S. Klin..."

Your welcome. I may look into The Monk myself. I could use a good 1800's controversial novel.


message 28: by Justin (new)

Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments I thought I’d go back and do another piece on Bram Stoker. We all know Stoker for his and one of horror’s most notorious novels “Dracula” but what about his other works? How do they fair? When I first started this Stoker was one of the first people I analyzed and I put him up against some tough competition but now the analysis is solely based on him and works not entitled “Dracula”. First let’s get a little rundown on Mr. Stoker. He was born in 1847 in Dublin Ireland. He was the third of seven children. In 1876 he wrote a non-fiction book and worked for a newspaper in Ireland which was owned by fellow author J. Sheridan Le Fanu. When he married in 1878 he was formally with Oscar Wilde. Aside from being a well known author Stoker was the business manager of a Theatre in London which he fan for 27 years. His inspiration of Dracula was of course based on Romanian hero and General Vlad the Impaler who was known for impaling his victims along with other crazy torture tactics. Blood Queen Elizabeth Bathory who bathed in the blood of virgins was also inspiration behind Dracula. So what are some of Stoker’s other works and how do they fair? Let us take a look.

The first book listed on Goodreads for Stoker that’s not Dracula would be Lair of the White Worm which is considered one of his most enduring works and a great horror novel of literature. Some of his other works include The Snake's Pass, The Mystery of the Sea, The Jewel of Seven Stars and The Lady of the Shroud. I picked the other four because I found them on Valancourt Books whom of course I refer to often with their excellent selection of classic horror novels. So as I took these five novels I put them together and came up with an overall rating of 3.31 which is below the average of 3.51. This is due to the fact that out of the five books only two rank above 3.5 those being The Snake’s Pass and The Mystery of the Sea. This doesn’t mean for a second that Stoker’s other novel’s should not be considered in fact they should be, this only means that my analysis of five of his works together clearly do not show his work averaging out to how they truly should be shown. Stoker’s Goodreads rating is a solid 3.91 however without looking I can assume that much of the rating is based off of a dozen versions of Dracula. Personally I am curious and you should be too of Stoker’s other works which is why I’d recommend checking out some of the books I’ve listed and talked about.

So what do we know after this? Well for one Bram Stoker was no one trick pony or one hit wonder although it would seem and does feel that way at times. This is not out fault but literature’s for making Dracula so profound and his other works less known. If you’re a fan of his then your no stranger to the works of his to which I’ve listed but if you are in the dark about Stoker then let this shine a light to you and show you that Stoker was quite a prolific horror writer of his time. His novels should be read with great eagerness and as much as one would give Dracula but get that novel out of your mind and focus on Stoker’s other works. If you would like to read more on the great Bram Stoker then check out this site on him at http://www.bramstoker.org/


message 29: by Justin (new)

Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments I have a special treat for all you Hundred Year Old Horror fans. I will be discussing the book, The Monk by M.G. Lewis. I gasped in a shock of utter amazement when I came across this. Why might you ask? Well for one the book was published back in 1796! It is also one of the most controversial books of it’s time and beyond. A dark gothic romance novel about an evil monastery and a man who is trying to remain holy for all it’s worth. The book contains violence, murder, death, devil worship and incest. The content and plot alone is controversial for today’s reader nevermind back in 1796. As stated by Valancourt Books , today it is considered to be one of the greatest Gothic novels ever written. This is a book for all horror and gothic fans and sure to make you think twice about why you enjoy the genres so much. Like many of the books I analyze I myself haven’t read this however I plan to and I can without doubt recommend this if your looking for a classic and intense read. So how does this book fair on Goodreads? Let’s find out but just know that I just told you what it’s about so it’s either a love or hate type of book. Only those who truly love horror should even attempt to read it so with that being said, here’s my analysis.

So how does the book fair? Well it has 14.951 ratings and an overall rating of 3.79 which is very impressive and well above average. The book also has 1,070 reviews. To me the fact that the book has such a great reading and has been read so many times is astounding. Most books I come across don’t come close to this amount of ratings but then again most books weren’t published in 1796. With a 3.79 rating this clearly shows people of today still enjoy this book and rightfully so. With such controversial and graphic content people show us that this book is a lot more accepting then it was back then. We have to remember that back in the 1700's and 1800's horror wasn’t accepted in fact it made many authors outcasts. A book like this not only demonstrates that but was probably enough to make some people want to condemn poor M.G. Lewis. While the book is thankfully fiction it also deals with taboo topics that are all too real and sinister which makes for such a great read for what it really comes down to.

So what is my take on The Monk? Well I’ve pretty much told you, it’s wild, it’s graphic and it’s epically an amazing sounding book and you should put it into your to-reads in your lists, folders and kindles. All horror fans and classic horror fans will appreciate this book and I am well aware that I myself may not like this book when I finally read it but I have a good feeling I’ll like it. So be sure to check out The Monk by M.G. Lewis and read more about the book on Valancourt Books, you know in case I didn’t sell you on it enough.


message 30: by V (new)

V | 9 comments Justin wrote: "I have a special treat for all you Hundred Year Old Horror fans. I will be discussing the book, The Monk by M.G. Lewis. I gasped in a shock of utter amazement when I came across this. Why might you..."

Its next on classic horror tbr pile:)


message 31: by Justin (new)

Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments Hundred Year Old Horror will return in 2017.


message 32: by Justin (new)

Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments For this piece I’m going back further than 100 years, I’m going 200 years! A book said to be
"Infinitely more extravagant than "The Monk.". The book is called The Demon of Sicily: A Romance by Edward Montague. The book is about a demon who stalks a monastery in search of victims whose souls he wishes to take. Like The Monk, the book has talk of graphic violence, sex, impalement and a lot of other utter debauchery way too taboo and risky of it’s time. The book heavily relies on violence and lewd acts in order to tell it’s story to which may be perfect for some horror readers and may set others back a bit. The demon has great power including coercion, suggestion and vile manipulation in order to get people to do what he wants in order for him to obtain the souls he seeks. Written in 1807, the edition listed on Goodreads is a 200 Anniversary edition which includes vivid illustrations from the 1839 edition. The edition also contains other added features. The Demon of Sicily is without a question a dust-ridden underrated horror classic sure to ignite feelings of enjoyment, shock and everything in between.
While not having been around in 1807 and though it suggests not if the book was bad for it’s time I can assume without question that the book was quite obscene and vulgar for it’s time. Plus the fact that it is compared to The Monk perhaps the most highly inappropriate novel of it’s time leaves nothing to the imagination that this book to was banned and shunned during it’s time of being published.

As we take a closer look we can also see something interesting in the full title. The Demon of Sicily: A Romance. The fact the word Romance is in the title definitely raises my interest and makes me wonder how on earth a book of such depiction could possibly also be and contain romance. The book is generally considered to be a Horror and Gothic novel. It is also considered to be one of the first gothic novels written. The book has inspired other authors and perhaps it still does today. The Demon of Sicily like The Monk should come with a warning and readers should be advised that due to it’s nature of topic it may be a bit much for those with weak stomachs. Finally a look at the bio on the author Edward Montague comes up with very little results as not much is really known about the man. According to Valancourt Books, he wrote five books in between 1805 and 1808 including three Gothic novels one of which being The Devil of Sicily. He supposedly wrote two more gothic novels under a pseudonym but whether or not this is true is unknown.

On Goodreads, the book has just 12 ratings and one review. The book rates at 4.00 which is too broad to make any such claim on how people feel about the book today. As stated in the beginning I feel as though many, many people are unaware of this book, it’s underrated and for those who have read it and know of it they are likely hush hush about it. The Demon of Sicily is a book for extreme horror fans and classic horror fans, a rarity that both fans of each ever come together to enjoy a novel. For more on this book and those who wish to read it, it is available on Amazon. You can read a full description of the book on Goodreads and Valancourt Books.


message 33: by Justin (new)

Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments The Animated Skeleton was written in 1798, yes that’s right 1798. It was a best-seller during the time it was published. As to who wrote it? No one knows as it was written under Anonymous. The book is set in France during the Dark Ages and tells of a Count who has disappeared and his evil wife rules in his place. His wife has sinister agendas but they cease when an animated skeleton stops her by haunting the castle. The skeleton holds secrets and may hold the truths of what has happened to the Count. The book is a clear demonstration of a classic gothic horror novel. Aside from horror it also contains some dark comedy. The edition available to read was published by Valancourt Books and features forewords and notes so that it’s easier for readers of today to understand. The Animated Skeleton is not only an old book but a perfect addition and mention of Hundred year Old Horror. There are several reasons as to why the book was originally written under Anonymous, you can read these reasons on the book’s Goodread page @ https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2....

The book has 21 ratings and four reviews. The book has an overall rating of 3.24. Again due to the little ratings and few reviews as well as it was written by Anonymous and can’t be compared to another novel I cannot really take the 3.24 and draw a conclusion to it. Was 3.24 good for a book written in 1798? Is that relevant? I am not one to ask questions on here. I will say this about the rating of the book, that is normally slightly below average but again seeing as it’s one book, written so long ago and has very few reads listed on Goodreads I can’t say the rating reflects the book overall. If the rating does anything it influences people to read, rate and review it. The Animated Skeleton should not only be read but cherished and a bit more cherished than any other book seeing as it was originally written in 1798, that just reads as a total gem to me. So what’s left to be said about The Animated Skeleton? Well if your looking for a very old but classic Haunting, Horror and Gothic book sure to set the mood then check this book out.


message 34: by Werner (new)

Werner | 185 comments Justin, in answer to your question about the use of the word "Romance" in the title of the book by Montague, the word was used differently then than it is today. It didn't necessarily denote a tale about two people falling in love (although something like that certainly could be involved in the tale). Rather, it meant a work written in the style of the Romantic school: a work having as its main purpose the depicting and arousing of human emotions, and characterized by extreme situations, exotic settings, and a preference for the natural and spontaneous over the formal and artificial.


message 35: by Justin (new)

Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments For this piece I decided to look into the novel, The Fatal Vow; Or, St. Michael's Monastery by Francis Lathom published in 1807. This makes the book 210 years old which is most definitely a classic. The book tells of a man who has a falling out with his father and stays at a monastery for a few days. There he meets a girl and they fall in love much the girls father is against it. The two are caught up in royalty which ensues further mystery. The book is considered as a gothic horror novel with some historical notations. Valancourt Books recently restored this old classic which according to them, only 5 original prints are known to exist. For anyone looking for an old gothic novel to read this would seem like a very good place to start.

The author Francis Lathom was born in 1774 in Rottendam. Aside from The Fatal Vow he is also known for many other works some of gothic genre in nature including his most famous, The Midnight Bell published in 1798. From a quick glance one can see that much of Lathom’s work focuses within blending the genres of mystery and gothic horror not just in The Fatal Vow. It goes to show you that even back in the early 1800's writers had a knack for writing about darkness and readers were just as intrigued to read the works. The Fatal Vow is also known as St. Michaels Monastery. The book itself has only 3 ratings on Goodreads of 3 stars so my analysis is kind of pointless in this regard but based off the synopsis, what people do think and the fact that Valancourt Books wished to resurrect such a book after two centuries of being dormant I have a feeling it’s a pretty good book worth checking out.

My final note will be this, I’ve noticed that this is like several other books I’ve come across that were written within the same time period. They all tend to surround, monasteries, churches or have a very religious aspect in which horror and taboo corrupt a person making them live out their horrors as the plot thickens. To me this type of horror is a great tool and a intricate plot to a story. I suppose during the 1800's(or at least I’d like to think) horror and sub-horror genres weren’t all that popular and when such books about such topics were written people either ate them up or shunned them. However, given the time period and the fact that we love such horror today it just goes to show you that even 200 years later we appreciate such classic that back then were once new. We perhaps appreciate them more than readers did back then but again I’m just going off on an solid assumption. If your looking for a new classic gothic horror novel perhaps consider going back two hundred years and taking a look at The Fatal Vow by Francis Lathom.


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Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments Another gothic horror novel that’s over 200 years old is The Witch of Ravensworth by George Brewer published in 1808. The book was long out of print until it was republished in 2006 with new a introduction as well as notes. The book is known for having pre notations of monsters that would come later on in literature such as Frankenstein and Dracula. A book with demons, monsters, mystery, suspense and murder, The Witch of Ravensworth takes several aspects of horror and blends them together to create a unique working of gothic macabre. It is likely one of the few well known works of author George Brewer.

What is the book about? According to Valancourt Books and Goodreads: The cowardly but evil Baron de La Braunch wants desperately to rid himself of his wife and her son so he can marry the enchanting Lady Alwena. He enlists the aid of the hideous Hag of Ravensworth, a wicked witch who has sold her soul to demons in exchange for supernatural power. The witch leads the Baron deeper and deeper into depravity and murder, leading to a startling and unforgettable conclusion!
Right away we notice a wealthy Baron which is quite common in these types of novels as well as movies. He enlists the help of a witch, again an evildoer looking to further his evilness by getting assistance from a greater evil. The outcome becomes the Baron dwelling deeper into darkness to further his dominance of evil. Again, like many novels of it’s time the main character strives to complete his mission, assuming the darkness.

Between the rich royalty, the witch, the plan of deviousness and wishing to further himself, the book sounds a lot like Macbeth to me. A lot of similar patterns and plots definitely make me think of Macbeth. The whole going further into debauchery reminds me a lot of Dorian Gray although not the same overall theme of vanity although in some instances. The Witch of Ravensworth is a book that seems simple to read and intrigues the mind of gothic horror fans and is definitely worth checking out to further the gothic experience.


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Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments I have looked into and analyzed Edgar; Or, the Phantom of the Castle by Richard Sickelmore. The book tells of a young man named Edgar who is determined to regain power and avoid creepy and strange mishaps following the mysterious death of his father. I took the last of the synopsis from Goodreads to give you an even better idea of what this book is about. "A gothicized retelling of Hamlet, and heavily influenced by the tragedies of Shakespeare and the Gothic romances of Walpole and Radcliffe, The Phantom of the Castle was the first of Richard Sickelmore's Gothic novels. This edition, the first since its initial publication in 1798, includes a new introduction, notes, and the complete text of contemporary reviews."

Yes, as you can tell from what you read this book is extra intriguing because it is a gothic re-telling of the Shakespeare classic Hamlet. It was published in 1798 which makes it quite old, older than perhaps any other book I've looked into. Right away I find the story to be a typical plot during the times however given that it's a re-telling of Shakespeare and it's in a gothic manner there's no telling what this book is really like unless one reads it. Valancourt Books as always has revived this work and included notes on it. I'd say if anyone is looking for works on the author Richard Sickelmore this would be the best book to start with.

How does it fair on Goodreads? It has a few ratings, four to be exact and rates at 3..50 which is pretty good. Given that the book was written in 1798 there's a good chance not many know about it. From a Gothic Horror standpoint and from a reader of Shakespeare I myself would find this interesting and intriguing to read as I'm sure any other person would to. This book from a simple glance demonstrates the type of horror that was written in the Gothic type style and captures the essence of what horror was back then..taboo. Does the date mean anything? I think it does. 1798 was quite a long time ago, I think it shows that horror dates back even to the late 1700's, well into the 1800's and of course the turn of the century in the early 1900's. It shows that no matter what time period it was in, Gothic, Macabre and classic horror was being written..whether people spoke of it or not. If your looking for an old classic horror book then look no further than The Phantom of the Castle by Richard Sickelmore.


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Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments Just rounded up some more books and authors to look into and analyze. So what's coming up for Hundred year Old Horror? Well two female authors of Gothic Horror as well as four books from the late 1700's. The others are books from the early 1800's which means we are dealing with 200 year old books! We also see the return of Edward Montague who we saw earlier from The Demon of Sicily. I will be doing an analysis of his book The Castle of Berry Pomeroy which tells of one of the most haunted places in Britain. Here's what you can expect in the upcoming installments of Hundred Year Old Horror:

Count Roderic's Castle, Or, Gothic Times
The Children of the Abbey
Ennui
Horrid Mysteries
The Vaults of Lepanto
Lusignan; or, The Abbaye of La Trappe
The Castle of Berry Pomeroy
The Haunted Cavern: A Caledonian Tale


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Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments You can now check out every book that get's analyzed in here at the new list here on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/1...


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Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments The latest entry in Hundred Year Old Horror we take a look at Count Roderic's Castle, Or, Gothic Times by Anonymous. The book was published in 1794 which makes it well over 200 years old! The book was resurrected by Valancourt Books and the book originally is as I stated by an anonymous person either indicating we don’t know the author or that they simply wished to remain anonymous. The book has also been known as Gothic Times. On Goodreads the book only has two ratings and both were of 4 stars giving it flat solid 4 star rating which is good however given there’s only two ratings that’s not really much to go on. So what is Count Roderic’s Castle about?

As the synopsis states it is a story of the trials and tribulations which seems quite accurate. It is built off a love story with gothic notations along with a creepy, dark and morbid tale behind Count Roderic and his castle. It is all the foundations of classic dark macabre and early gothic fiction which means while it is considered horror it is more on a subtle base of horror than other books of today or even the turn of the century. Given that the book was written in 1794 also says that perhaps “horror” as we know it simply was not a thing back then but even so, gothic fiction and intricate dark fiction such as this and told in such a way is quite a find and could make for quite the read for lovers of the gothic scene. At 131 pages the book makes for a quick simple read that could take a book lover a few hours or a modest average reader a day or two to read.

Valancourt’s edition of this book is a gem and is the first re-printing of the book in over 150 years with some new material in the introduction. Like many dark books of it’s time, the story consists of castles, ghosts, conflict with opposing characters of a delicate but grown nature as well as treachery which was a common theme among such books. So for those who enjoy the dark but subtle version of dimmed down horror an love a classic gothic story with a bit of love, a good old-fashioned villain and hero conflict and enjoys reading books that have been re-mastered then I suggest Count Roderic’s Castle.


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Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments Another Gothic classic we take a look at is The Children of the Abbey by Regina Maria Roche. It was published in 1796 and not only one of the most popular books of it’s time but was Roche’s most famous book. Like many books of it’s time the book is about forbidden love, castles, lords, villains who long to see the hero and loved ones fail as well as being wrapped in a gothic setting and theme. Two siblings are wronged of their inheritance by a relative. With danger, scheming and many more issues along the way, the two long two claim back what is there’s as they must try to take it back from the villains that oppose them. The plot of the book also takes place in three different locations as it goes from Ireland, England to Scotland as indicated by Valancourt books in their writing of the synopsis.

On Goodreads the book has 25 ratings and 9 reviews. The book was an overall rating of 4.20 which is well above average. Seeing that it’s been rated 25 times with such a rating means it’s well respected and enjoyed by people of today even despite being written so long ago. This could also mean that since the book was so popular in it’s day that even now 200 plus years later the book still has a following of enjoyment and is as widely respected and as solid as it was all those years ago. The book is considered a Gothic fiction book and the authoe, Regina Maria Roche was a very popular4 gothic writer in her time.

The book has rivaled and influenced many other books in it’s time from other gothic novels to other such subtle authors as Jane Austen and other contemporary authors of the day. The book is quite long at 656 pages so it may take a while to read for some but for lovers of classic gothic fiction they will eat this right up. So if your looking for a classic gothic book, an old book to take a chance on, or just want to change it up and read something different then look no further than The Children of the Abbey by Regina Maria Roche.


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Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments I decided to look into a book called Horrid Mysteries by Carl Grosse published in 1796 making well over 200 years old. Valancourt Books describes it in their opening as “A bizarre work whose labyrinthine plot defies summary”. This tells me two things, one that the content must have been unique given that it was written in 1796 and two the plot of what the book isn’t exactly what the book is truly about and is lost in a maze of events. The book is about a man named Don Carlos who along with his friend who is a noble Marquis become part of a secret group hell-bent on world domination. They travel trying to stop the group but come across the occult and supernatural but the two try to put up a fight knowing death lurks everywhere they turn. The book is considered to be a gothic novel however gothic in this sense may be used loosely as I will explain shortly. Perhaps during it’s time it was quite the book but let’s take a closer look at Horrid Mysteries by Carl Grosse.

The book was unavailable for almost 50 years until Valancourt Books came across it and decided to republish it with a new introductory. The comments of the book on their site make it seem as though the book was quite dark and innovative for it’s time however as I came across it on Goodreads many people have rather different takes on it. The book has 18 ratings and 5 reviews. The book is rated at just 2.39 which is very low and the reviews on it state that the book isn’t good and the reader didn’t care for it all that much. However, remember that these are just ratings and opinions of these people and not a reflection of the overall book itself. When I came across it I was intrigued because it was a gothic novel written in 1796 so that alone made me quite curious to look more into it. My personal opinion leans more toward Valancourt’s take on the book as being great for its time and despite its lack of being a true gothic novel perhaps doesn’t get the credit it deserves today.

So my final thoughts on the novel are this...Horrid Mysteries is a book I would consider and others should consider if they enjoy books written a long time ago and an old gothic book that tells an elaborate tale with twists and turns and one that while may be lacking accordingly to some deserves it’s shot to be read because one person’s trash may, in fact, be another’s treasure. I know nothing on the author Carl Grosse, however, he considered himself a high nobleman and he has an even previous written book prior to 1796 written in 1791! So if you're looking for a new book to read or wish to try a new classic book, then check out Horrid Mysteries by Carl Grosse.


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Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments For this piece, I looked into The Vaults of Lepanto by T.R Tuckett, a gothic novel written in 1814. The story tells of two men who are eager to marry their true loves but a man named Duca di Urbino and his sidekick have other plans. The two young men find themselves in a dark scenario trying to save their true loves from the two other men and as they do, dark secrets and past fates come up that may get in their way. Unlike Horrid Mysteries being a light gothic this novel is a 100% in everything that made a classic 18th-century gothic novel. Murder, villains, blood, dungeons and gothic castles with a plot sort of reminiscent and has shades of Romeo and Juliet only instead of the two families fighting they have villains hell-bent on destroying their happily ever after. So how does this book rank after so many years and what do people think? Well let’s take a look and find out but before we do let’s find out a bit more of interesting information on the book.

From Goodreads: “The Vaults of Lepanto (1814) is one of the scarcest Gothic novels issued by the Minerva Press, surviving in only one known copy, at the library of Castle Corvey in Germany.” I don’t know about you but when I read “one of the scarcest Gothic novels” and “surviving in only one known copy at a library of a Castle in Germany” I get excited and very intrigued. The idea of that is just mind-blowing, think about it for a moment. The only known copy in a German library. It makes me think of a movie where the heroes go to retrieve an ancient book and go to an ancient monastery where they are lead by monks down to a chamber where the book is confined in a case never before disturbed..perhaps I got carried away but you get the idea! The first ever republication of the book is unabridged and tells a little bit about the author, T.R. Tuckett. I’d read this myself even without reading the ratings just based on what it’s about and the whole one known copy left history. So how does the book rank? Let’s find out.

On Goodreads, the book ranks at3.5 which is a solid average rating for a book on Goodreads. However, there is only 4 ratings and two reviews but to me this means nothing and it just tells me that not many people know about the book and those who do have enjoyed it immensely. The two reviews both really enjoyed the book and said they enjoyed the blend of everything that makes a true gothic novel. Having analyzed gothic novels of this time before I would easily put this in the top ten of gothic books of the early 1800's to consider reading just based on all that’s been said already. Taking a deeper look, the fact that Valancourt Books enjoyed and makes a living reviving old classic gothic books, I feel this one was necessary based on its history and it’s very detailed plot. So if your looking for a classic, old 1800's gothic novel to read with everything you could possibly want in a gothic novel then look no further than The Vault’s of Lepanto by T.R. Tuckett, it has romance, macabre, betrayal, and suspense that will keep you reading.


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Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments I decided to look into the book Lusignan; or, The Abbaye of La Trappe a Gothic novel published in 1801 by Minerva Press. The story tells of the ill-fated love between the characters Emily de Montalte and title star Lusignan, and the story is quite similar to the style of Anne Radcliffe whom is said to have written the book despite being listed as Anonymous. Like many books of it’s during, Lusignan is Gothic fiction with diabolical twists and turns, star-crossed lovers up against evil and testing fate as well as the fact the book takes place in dark regions of tunnels and covenants. It is said the book was written by Anne Radcliffe because during the time to which the book was written she was known to write such books however despite the similarities and possibilities it is still uncertain as to whether or not she actually wrote the book. So how does it rank and fair today? Well, let’s find out.

A quick look at the book on Goodreads doesn’t leave us with much to go on as it’s only been read and ranked twice with a rating of 4.00 flat ad one review. However, the review regards the book as a must read for Gothic fiction lovers and praises it a bit as a very great read. So while there are not many ratings or reads on the book on Goodreads, the ratings that are there are good which leaves me with a decent assumption that the book is, in fact, a good read. Normally I would compare the book to other books by the author but since this was written by Anonymous and cannot be confirmed as to being written by Anne Radcliffe I can’t compare it to another book by the author of it. I can, however, compare it to other gothic fiction books of its time and despite its 2 ratings I would say based off the content and plot of what the book is about I can say it would likely have made a great book during its time of publication. Valancourt Books certainly thought it was good enough to bring back, so much so that only one known copy of it actually exists. So the fact they decided to bring back such a rare book must mean that it is, in fact, a very good novel.

The new book has extended and new features such as being an unabridged text of the original volumes and an annotation by a doctor that suggests how and why the could have been written by Anne Radcliffe. I’ve never come across a book that has such a mystery behind who wrote it so clearly there are a lot of thoughts to this particular novel and the evidence and idea that suggests Anne Radcliffe wrote it. The cover that Valancourt has likely illustrated shows a very gothic like building brushed giving it a nostalgic look. All things unique things alone would make me want to read the book. If you like gothic fiction, a story that goes back many centuries, written by someone who may or may not have written it and to feel the vivid sense that your in the setting of where the book takes place then check out Lusignan by Anonymous.


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Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 56 comments For this piece, I look into and analyze the novel The Castle of Berry Pomeroy by Edward Montague. The novel was published in 1806, however, this book is much different from most I analyze because it is based off a real place and real events that date back to the 1700s. I will get into more detail about the real place that this book is based on but first off let us analyze the book and it’s author Edward Montague.( In "The Castle of Berry Pomeroy", Edward Montague writes of the history and great urban legend surrounding the castle into a Gothic tale of horror, and revenge. The Lady Elinor de Pomeroy, envious that her sister Matilda has won possession of the castle and the love of the handsome De Clifford, decides to have her murdered. She enlists the aid of Father Bertrand, one of the blackest villains ever to appear in a Gothic novel.) -written by Valancourt books on Goodreads as it’s synopsis. More terror, murder, horror, unraveling plots are within the pages of this book. I could have explained it myself but I felt the synopsis was quite telling and would be more informative. So how does the book rank? Well before I go ahead and give you the numbers I will say that given that it’s based off a real place already makes it quite an eye-opener and potential must read for those who enjoy reading about real life ghost Pomeroy

The Castle of Berry Pomeroy ranks at 4.67 with 6 ratings and one review. 4.67 is far above the normal average ranking for gothic fiction books I’ve ranked prior. The rating is high which is a good thing and shows that those who have read it really enjoyed it and gave it fours and fives. With fours and fives across the board it shows that this book is very well liked within the Goodreads community. It is by far one of the if not the highest rated book I’ve come across on here and analyzed. Given it’s back story and the story itself it’s no wonder that people enjoy a good gothic ghost story packed with everything from castles and terror to villainy and evil. The book is 292 pages and is a hardcover, so seeing as hard covers are quite pricey these days the fact that someone wants to read this means they really want to read it which add’s another plus in this book’s good column.

As for the author Edward Montague he is no stranger to Hundred Year Old Horror as you may remember I did a piece on him a before with his book The Demon of Sicily. He wrote five books between 1805 and 1808, three gothic including The Demon of Sicily and the one I’m talking about now. It is said he also wrote under a few pseudonyms and it’s also quite possible that Edward Montague is in fact a pseudonyms as well. While not much else is known about the author he delved into the genre of gothic fiction and was definitely quite good at it as this book and The Demon of Sicily are very interesting and well rated reads. The Castle of Berry Pomeroy was published by Minerva Press and only two first edition copies still exist today, one in a British library and another in Germany. Valancourt has re-published the book so that modern readers can enjoy it. The new edition was the first published since 1892!

Given the book’s back story, the fact it is based off of real events I would say this fact stands out and really helps the book sell and makes people want to read it. The combination of gothic fiction with ghost and paranormal also really give this book a solid plot and setting to which people can read and be hooked and enjoy something that really resonates with them. This book is definitely a classic and a gothic fiction novel with all things that make it so. If you like gothic fiction novels with an all too incredibly real back story with ghosts, deceit castles and characters more than likely sure so creep you out and make you keep reading then this is probably the book for you.

As I mentioned in the beginning, The Castle of Berry Pomeroy is based off of real events that took place in the 1700s. The real life Berry Pomeroy Castle is in an isolated part of a Devon in a small town near Berry Pomeroy. One of the ghosts said to haunt the castle is known as the White Lady. It is said she haunts the dungeons as well as parts of the castle. The castle was built in the 12th century and was given to the King of England at the time, William the Conqueror who gave it to Ralph de Pomeroy, hence the name of the castle. The castle was given to him as a reward for his support for the King during the Norman invasion of England. For more on the real life haunting of The Berry Pomeroy Castle check out the following articles:

Ghost Story of Berry Pomeroy Castle, Devon England:
http://www.ghost-story.co.uk/index.ph...

The Haunting of Berry Pomeroy Castle:
https://exemplore.com/paranormal/The-...

Berry Pomperoy Castle:
https://www.hauntedrooms.co.uk/produc...

Also type in “Ghosts Berry Pomperoy Castle” on Youtube to check out some videos on the history as well as peoples findings and hauntings on the place.


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