S. T. Joshi is likely one of the major gurus on bizarre fiction, and during this international myth Award-winning learn he offers a finished historical past and research of the total variety of peculiar fiction from antiquity to the current day. For the 1st time, the whole contents of either print volumes can be found jointly in one digital ebook dossier.
As Joshi’s landmark survey of supernatural literature starts, the focal point is on bizarre fiction from the Epic of Gilgamesh (c. 1700 B.C.E.) to the top of the 19th century. Joshi makes a speciality of key works of Greek and Latin literature that brought many long-enduring motifs in bizarre literature. relocating on down via Dante, Shakespeare, Marlowe, and Milton, Joshi offers a compact review of different diversified strands of Gothic fiction, starting with Horace Walpole’s The fortress of Otranto (1764) and culminating with Charles Robert Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer (1820), with particular discussions of Ann Radcliffe, M. G. Lewis, Mary Shelley, and others.
Edgar Allan Poe used to be a watershed within the heritage of peculiar fiction, and his fusion of mental and supernatural horror was once pioneering. He used to be by way of the prolific Irish author J. Sheridan Le Fanu, a number of practitioners of the English ghost tale (including Henry James and Edith Wharton), and the cynical Ambrose Bierce. towards the top of the 19th century, Bram Stoker, Robert Louis Stevenson, Oscar Wilde, and others made bizarre fiction a style that fused renowned allure with aesthetic richness.
As S. T. Joshi’s landmark heritage of supernatural fiction keeps, the point of interest is put on a huge efflorescence of peculiar writing on the flip of the 20 th century—a interval that many students have often called the Golden Age of peculiar fiction. Such figures as Arthur Machen, Lord Dunsany, Algernon Blackwood, M. R. James, and H. P. Lovecraft increased bizarre fiction to a degree of excessive artistry by no means noticeable ahead of, and their paintings maintains to motivate writers as much as the current day. different authors corresponding to Walter de los angeles Mare, L. P. Hartley, and William desire Hodgson additionally contributed very important novels and stories. Lovecraft’s impact prolonged to such of his contemporaries and successors as Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, August Derleth, Robert Bloch, and Fritz Leiber.
In the years following Lovecraft’s loss of life, a brand new crop of writers—led via Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Shirley Jackson, and Charles Beaumont—brought horror all the way down to earth and into the world of standard existence. Their paintings laid the foundation for the intense emergence of peculiar fiction as a best-selling phenomenon within the paintings of Ira Levin, Stephen King, Peter Straub, Clive Barker, Anne Rice, etc. whilst, extra literate figures comparable to Ramsey Campbell, T. E. D. Klein, and Thomas Ligotti endured to extend the limits of the unusual in paintings of the top literary polish. this day, such writers as Caitlín R. Kiernan, Dennis Etchison, and so forth proceed to probe new instructions in bizarre fiction.