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 in simple terms grown because the days of Edgar Allan Poe. American Supernatural stories celebrates the richness of this practice with chilling contributions from a number of the nation's brightest literary lighting, together with Poe himself, H. P. Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, Ray Bradbury, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and-of path- Stephen King. through turns phantasmagoric, spectral, and demonic, it is a frighteningly sturdy addition to Penguin Classics.
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Extra info for American Supernatural Tales (Penguin Classics)
As a literary mode, the supernatural has undergone as many permutations and variations in the past two hundred and fifty years as any other, and has left a rich legacy of literary substance that deserves to be chronicled and interpreted. For writers like Lovecraft, it may have chiefly represented “imaginative liberation”—liberation from the mundane, the everyday, the commonplace—but for others, like Shirley Jackson, it was a vehicle for the conveyance of conceptions about humanity and its relations to the cosmos beyond that offered by mimetic fiction.
In such tales as “The Call of Cthulhu,” “The Colour out of Space,” “The Whisperer in Darkness,” At the Mountains of Madness, and “The Shadow out of Time” Lovecraft exponentially expanded the scope of supernatural fiction to encompass not just the world, but the cosmos. Lovecraft fortuitously emerged as a literary figure at the exact time when supernatural horror could finally be said to have become a concretized genre, with the founding of the pulp magazine Weird Tales in 1923. This was in every sense a mixed blessing.
WASHINGTON IRVING Washington Irving was born in New York City in 1783. Generally regarded as the first significant writer in the United States, Irving practiced law until 1803. After a two-year visit to Europe (1804-06) to improve his health, Irving began writing articles and sketches in magazines; his first book, A History of New York (1809), published under the pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker, brought him immediate fame. Shortly thereafter, Irving moved to England, where he remained for nearly twenty years.
American Supernatural Tales (Penguin Classics) by S. T. Joshi