By S. T. Joshi
The final word number of bizarre and scary American fiction.
As Stephen King will attest, the recognition of the occult in American literature has purely grown because the days of Edgar Allan Poe. American Supernatural stories celebrates the richness of this practice with chilling contributions from many of the nation's brightest literary lighting fixtures, together with Poe himself, H. P. Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, Ray Bradbury, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and-of path- Stephen King. through turns phantasmagoric, spectral, and demonic, this can be a frighteningly stable addition to Penguin Classics.
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Extra resources for American Supernatural Tales (Penguin Classics)
Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the authors’ imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblence to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING IN PUBLICATION DATA American supernatural tales / edited with an introduction by S. T. Joshi. p. —(Penguin classics) eISBN : 978-1-440-64940-0 1. Occult fiction, American. 2. Fantasy fiction, American. 3. American fiction—20th century.
In the next generation, two towering figures—Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne—chose starkly different means to convey the supernatural. Hawthorne, plagued by an overriding sense of sin inspired by the religious fanaticism of the Puritan settlers of Massachusetts, found in the American seventeenth century—culminating in the real-life horror of the Salem witchcraft trials—a fitting analogue of the European Dark Ages, and his novels and tales, supernatural and otherwise, constantly draw upon the Puritan past as a source of evil that continues to cast its shadow over the present.
This was in every sense a mixed blessing. It is now difficult to determine whether the establishment of Weird Tales (the first magazine exclusively devoted to horror fiction) and its analogues in the realms of mystery, science fiction, the Western, romance, and other genres actually precipitated the banishment of the supernatural (except by the most eminent mainstream authors or in suitably tame and conventional modes) from leading literary magazines, or whether their prior banishment led to the founding of the pulps; whatever the case, a manifest dichotomy was established, and those writers who chose to focus on the supernatural found themselves obliged to appear in the pulps for lack of other venues.