Thmazing and Lovecraft: Joint recommendations for an unhappy Hallowe'en


The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear,
and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. These facts
few psychologists will dispute, and their admitted truth must establish for
all time the genuineness and dignity of the weirdly horrible tale as a
literary form. Against it are discharged all the shafts of a materialistic
sophistication which clings to frequently felt emotions and external events,
and of naively insipid idealism which deprecates the aesthetic motive and
calls for a didactic literature to "uplift" the reader toward a suitable
degree of smirking optimism. But in spite of all this opposition the weird
tale has survived, developed, and attained remarkable heights of perfection;
founded as it is on a profound and elementary principle whose appeal, if not
always universal, must necessarily be poignant and permanent to minds of the
requisite sensitiveness.
----------H.P. Lovecraft

So I just read Lovecraft's essay on the history of spooky literature and I did a whole lot of underlining of stuff that sounded good. I did not underline works by Poe and Wilde and Stephenson and Shelley and Manchen and whoever that maybe sounded good but which I had already read. So! if you're looking for a classic scare, here are our suggestions:

Thomas Moore
-----"The Ring"

Ann Radcliffe
-----The Mysteries of Udolpho

Charles Brockden Brown
-----Wieland; or, The Transformation

Matthew Gregory Lewis
-----The Monk

Jane Austen
-----Northanger Abbey

Charles Robert Maturin
-----Melmoth the Wanderer

William Beckford
-----History of the Caliph Vathek
-----Episodes of Vathek

Dr. John William Polidori
-----The Vampyre

Lord Edwrad Bulwer-Lytton
-----"The House and the Brain"
-----A Strange Story

Emily Brontë
-----Wuthering Heights

Frederich Heinrich Karl, Baron de la Motte Fouqué

Wilhelm Meinhold
-----Amber Witch

Guy de Maupassant
-----"The Horla"
-----"Who Knows?"
-----"The Spectre"
-----"The Diary of a Madman"
-----"The White Wolf"
-----"On the River"

-----"The Invisible Eye"

Villiers de l'Isle-Adam
-----"Torture by Hope"

Nathaniel Hawthorne
-----A Wonder Book
-----Tanglewood Tales
-----"Ethan Brand"
-----The House of the Seven Gables

Fitz-James O'Brien
-----"What Was It?"
-----"Diamond Lens"

Ambrose Bierce
-----"The Death of Halpin Frayser"
-----"The Damned Thing"
-----"The Suitable Surroundings"
-----"The Middle Toe of the Right Foot"
-----"The Spook House"
-----Can Such Things Be?
-----In the Midst of Life

F. Marion Crawford
-----"The Dead Smile"
-----"The Upper Berth"

Irvin S. Cobb

Leonard Cline
-----The Dark Chamber

Clark Ashton Smith
-----The Double Shadow and Other Fantasies

Rudyard Kipling
-----"The Phantom 'Rickshaw"
-----"The Finest Story in the World"
-----"The Mark of the Beast"

Matthew Phipps Shiel
-----"The House of Sounds"

John Buchan
-----"The Wind in the Portico"
-----"Skule Skerry"

Walter de la Mare
-----"The Tree"

E.F. Benson
-----"Negotium Perambulans"
-----"The Face"

H.R. Wakefield
-----"The Seventeenth Hole at Duncaster"

H.G. Wells
-----"The Ghost of Fear"
-----Thirty Strange Stories

A. Conan Doyle
-----"Lot No. 249"

Hugh Walpole
-----"Mrs. Lunt"

L.P. Hartley
-----"A Visitor from Down Under"

William Hope Hodgson
-----The House on the Borderland
-----The Ghost Pirates
-----The Night Land

Arthur Machen
-----"The Great God Pan"
-----"The White People"
-----The Terror
-----"The Bowmen"

Algernon Blackwood
-----"The Willows"
-----"The Wendigo"
-----"The Listener"
-----Incredible Adventures
-----John Silence--Physician Extraordinary

Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, Eighteenth Baron Dunsany
-----The Book of Wonder
-----A Dreamer's Tales
-----The Gods of the Mountain
-----A Night at the Inn
-----The Queen's Enemies

Montague Rhodes James
-----Ghost Stories of an Antiquary
-----More Ghost Stories of an Antiquary
-----A Thin Ghost and Others
-----A Warning to the Curious
-----The Five Jars
-----"Count Magnus"

Read up!


  1. (I just wanted to say that I do read your blog, but sometimes I just have nothing to say. But I'm here. That's all.)

  2. I'm a big scare junkie. It's the reason that I chose to watch "The Ring" alone and was happily traumatized for a whole year. But there's something about pushing your imagination to the extreme that is so exciting! Thanks for the great list of reads! I'm heading to the library today and hopefully can find a good one to get me to Halloween.

  3. .

    Let me know how it goes!

    (And Cicada, do to our deep and lengthy blogationship, all is understood.)

  4. .

    Oh--And if I had to single out three writers from this list, I would choose Bierce, Machen and James.

  5. Urgh. My roommate's been reading The Mysteries of Udolpho this semester, and by all accounts it's long and overwrought. But maybe something by a guy named Algernon . . .

  6. .

    He's just about Lovecraft's personal favorite.

  7. .

    Algernon Blackwood, I mean.

  8. I got scared just reading the list. Ooooo. Shivers. And I had a nightmare last night that scared me enough to last for awhile. That will do.

    Love the blog. Of course.