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Hardcover Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural Book

ISBN: 0679601287

ISBN13: 9780679601289

Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural

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Book Overview

When this longtime Modern Library favorite--filled with fifty-two stories of heart-stopping suspense--was first published in 1944, one of its biggest fans was critic Edmund Wilson, who in The New... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

The Mount Everest of scary anthologies

I am now on my second copy of of the Wise and Fraser anthology. I read my first copy (purchased in the late 1950's)to death. Over many years this book has remained one of the greatest anthologies of scary stories ever put toghter. As the title implies it is broken into two parts; stories that have terrifying situations and supernatural stories. It was first published in 1944 so do not look for stories by Stephen King or Cliver Barker. What you will find are wonderful stories that either already were or have become classics.The terror stories include some adventures such as Connell's, "The Most Dangerous Game," and Collins' "Terribly Strange Bed." The Supernatural stories include greats such as M. R. James', "Casting the Runes" and Edward White's, "Lukundoo." (If "Lukundoo" does not make your skin crawl I suggest that you have your skin on too tight) There is also E.F. Benson's, "Mrs. Amworth" which I believe to be the best short vampire story ever written.Here are 52 stories packed into an anthology tht belongs on the shelf of anyone who likes scary stories and is a basic staple on the shelf of a collector.

THE high water mark of the horror/supernatural anthology.

Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural is just that, a collection of some of the GREATEST tales of terror and the supernatural ever written. This book contains a breath snatching list of both classic tales (Poe's The Black Cat, Faulkner's A Rose for Emily, Lovecraft's The Rats in the Walls and The Dunwich Horror, as well as James's Casting the Runes) with some lesser known jewels, my favorite being H.G. Wells sea monster yarn The Sea Raiders. This collection is an essential in any well rounded library, even if you are not typically a horror or ghost story fan.

A feast

Now this is what I call an anthology. I have a special affection for this one because it's where, as a child, I first encountered three stories which have remained important to me ever since - Saki's "Sredni Vashtar", in which a sickly boy makes a god of a ferret and is well rewarded; Guy de Maupassant's "Was it a Dream?", in which a bereaved lover has a vision of corpses rising from the grave to inscribe the truth about their lives in place of the pious lies upon their gravestones; and what was probably my first Poe story, the out-and-out nightmare "The Black Cat". Other gems among the fifty-odd here include Robert Hichens' "How Love Came to Professor Guildea", one of the most disturbing ghost stories ever written; Conrad Aitken's "Silent Snow, Secret Snow", a haunting study of childhood madness; and Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game" - a breathlessly paced tale of sadistic sportsmanship which was turned, by the makers of King Kong (and on the same sets) into a far superior piece to the more famous, but idiotic, film. Wagner and Wise have managed to include virtually every famous name in the field (at least up to 1944), and they've almost unfailingly chosen from the authors' best stories. Besides the comparatively clumsy "Dunwich Horror", Lovecraft is also represented with "The Rats in the Walls", one of his first masterpieces; LeFanu is represented with "Green Tea"; Oliver Onions with "The Beckoning Fair One"; Arthur Machen with "The Great God Pan" and M R James with "Oh Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad", one of the handful of truly great tales by this largely overrated (if academically acceptable) writer. Other contributors include Dorothy L Sayers, H G Wells, E F Benson, Algernon Blackwood, Richard Middleton (the comic "The Ghost Ship"), Charles Dickens, Edith Wharton, Edward Lucas White (the downright horrible "Lukundoo"), Isak Dinesen and Rudyard Kipling. If you know your tales of horror and the supernatural, you'll probably know some of the stories already; but the sheer size and scope of this collection make it a safe bet that you'll find some previously undiscovered treasure here as well. If you're tired of inept Stephen King imitations, this book came out two years before the prototype was born (the oldest author featured is Balzac, born in 1799). And if you don't know the field and don't know where to start, I can't imagine a better place. This hardcover edition is also extremely well made, with Fuseli's "The Nightmare" as wholly appropriate jacket illustration.

Indispensible for Ghost Story Lovers

I've read all the stories in this book at least 3 times. Most of the times I skip around, but twice I've read straight through -- the stories are so consistently good, and, though wide ranging, complement each other so well. These are NOT horror stories. Horror (to me, at least) implies not only more explicit violence, but also an attitude that reality is, at core, physically and morally chaotic. "Dark Descent" is a horror anthology -- "Great Tales" is for the most part (although "The Great God Pan" and H.P. Lovecraft's 2 stories provide some exception) more old-fashioned "ghost stories," and what mystery genre critics would categorize as "English cozy": pleasant characters, warm surroundings introduced all the better to scare you with later on. The evil is seen through a hole in the curtain, so to speak, and never engulfs. The first group of stories ("Tale of Terror") are not exactly supernatural, but extremely suspenseful, with wonderful denouements. Poe's "The Facts in the Strange Case of M. Valdemar" is wonderfully horrible - a dying man is hypnotised to keep him alive (it turns out to be a mistake, of course). "Suspicion" by Dorothy Sayers is NOT a murder mystery, but a perfectly built-up tale of suspense. I've read it a dozen times and the pace of the story still catches me. "Home for Christmas," in which a nice doctor kills his bossy wife before leaving on vacation, would make a great Hitchcock movie. "Moonlight Sonata" is the short but shocking story of a man who stays overnight at a friend's house and awakens to an unpleasant visitor (not a ghost, but worse). Despite the emphasis on surprise endings, all of these stories have such great style and atmosphere that they are often, if anything, better the 2nd or 3rd time around. The second group, "Tales of the Supernatural," have all the qualities mentioned above but are more wide ranging in terms of imaginativeness. My Man M.R. James fits right in here, of course, and 2 of his best tales - "Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad" and "Casting the Runes" - are featured. Also Guy de Maupassant ("Was It a Dream?", in which a young lover spends the night mourning the death of his mistress in a cemetery, is fabulous). Also Rudyard Kipling; E.F. Benson; Algernon Blackwood ("Ancient Sorceries" features a mild-mannered Englishman oddly drawn to a small French village with a history of witchcraft); and such great titles as "The Screaming Skull" and "The Haunters and the Haunted or The House and the Brain" which, despite the campy names, will leave you far from laughing. There are stories in this section, also, that would better be categorized as fantasy ("The Celestial Omnibus" and "Adam and Eve and Pinch-me"). I liked them a lot even though I don't usually read fantasy. The majority are SCARY, though, and all are well-written by any standard (Henry James gives us "Sir Edmund Orme" and Ernest Hemingway tells of "T
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