Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Anthology of Fear

The Penguin Book of Horror StoriesThe Penguin Book of Horror Stories 
by J.A. Cuddon

“Even with the utterly lost, to whom life and death are equally jests, there are matters of which no jest can be made.”   ― Edgar Allan Poe, The Masque of the Red Death

According to the OED the word horror was used in the sense of a "loathing fear, feeling terror or repugnance", as early as the fourteenth century with one example cited from no less than Chaucer in "The Parson's Tale" from his inestimable Canterbury Tales. So the notion has been around a long time and in use by a broad range of authors.

This anthology provides just such a broad range of writers both famous and those not so well-known. Writers include expected representatives like Poe, Henry James, Balzac, Maupassant, Stevenson, and Bierce, among others. But there are those unexpected and unknown to this reader like Percival Landon D. K. Broster, and Monica Dickens. Those authors are surprisingly few and those who are famous also include twentieth century contributors like Bradbury, William Faulkner, Patricia Highsmith and Roald Dahl. This is a quality collection of some of the best examples of the horror story genre that I would recommend to both beginners and experienced readers of terror-filled and haunting tales.

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Brian Joseph said...

Sounds like a great collection. I have read a smattering of famous horror writers such as Poe and Lovecraft as well as some popular, contemporary authors but something like this would provide a nice cross sample of the genre.

James said...

Thanks for your comment. This anthology provides a nice introduction to the genre.