Thursday, 7 March 2013

World Book Day!

World Book Day is today in the UK and Ireland to avoid clashing with Easter. For everyone else on the planet it's in April, apparently. Well, never mind. To celebrate the supernatural tale I'm going to list some of my favourite stories in the genre, and I hope you'll comment and offer a few of your own.

The problem with making lists of 'the greatest ______' is, of course, that most people already know about them. Familiarity can breed contempt. But I think that, so long as people read ghost stories and the like, these stories will endure. So, here goes, in roughly chronological order...

'Young Goodman Brown' - Nathaniel Hawthorne

'The Masque of the Red Death', 'The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar' - Edgar Allan Poe

'Carmilla', 'Green Tea' - J. Sheridan Le Fanu

'The Diary of a Madman', 'The Head of Hair' - Guy de Maupassant

'Markheim' - Robert Louis Stevenson

'The Middle Toe of the Right Foot', 'The Moonlit Road' - Ambrose Bierce

'The Upper Berth', 'For the Blood is the Life' - F. Marion Crawford

''The Mark of the Beast', 'At the End of the Passage' - Rudyard Kipling

'Man-Size in Marble', 'Hurst of Hurstcote' - Edith Nesbit

'The Judge's House' - Bram Stoker

'Laura', 'The She-Wolf', 'The Music on the Hill' - Saki (H.H. Munro)

'Lot No. 249', 'The Ring of Thoth' - Arthur Conan Doyle

'The Grove of Ashtaroth', 'The Wind in the Portico' - John Buchan

'Count Magnus', 'A Warning to the Curious', 'Lost Hearts', 'Mr Humphreys and His Inheritance', 'Casting the Runes' etcetera - M.R. James

'The Beckoning Fair One' - Oliver Onions

'The Willows', 'Ancient Sorceries' - Algernon Blackwood

'The Inmost Light', 'The White People' - Arthur Machen

'Luella Miller' - Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman

'The Face' - E.F. Benson

'The Music of Erich Zann', 'The Outsider', 'The Haunter of the Dark' - H.P. Lovecraft

'Pollock and the Porroh Man', 'The Door in the Wall' - H.G. Wells

'Feet Foremost', 'A Visitor from Down Under' - L.P. Hartley

'Crewe', 'Seaton's Aunt', 'All Hallows' - Walter de la Mare

'New Corner', 'Agony of Flame' - L.T.C. Rolt

'The Sundial' - R.H. Malden

'The White Sack' - A.N.L. Munby

'Don't Look Now' - Daphne du Maurier

'Smoke Ghost' - Fritz Leiber

'The Hospice', 'Ringing the Changes', 'The Swords' - Robert Aickman

'Blackham's Wimpey' - Robert Westall

'The Lodestone' - Sheila Hodgson

'Three Miles Up' - Elizabeth Jane Howard

'The Guide', 'The Companion', 'The Sentinels' - Ramsey Campbell

'Lord of the Flies' - David Rowlands

'Laid Down and Guarded' - Ron Weighell

'The Sheelagh-na-gig' - Mary Ann Allen

'Petey', 'Black Man with a Horn' - T.E.D. Klein

'Two Returns', 'The Snug' - Terry Lamsley

'The Medusa' - Thomas Ligotti

'The Black Cathedral' - Reggie Oliver

'The Wall-Painting' - Roger Johnson

'The Penny Drops' - Steve Duffy

As you can see, it's a very incomplete list.


Anonymous said...

I think I'll join you on the old fart front Dave! So many of my favourites are on your list, including Smoke Ghost and Three Miles Up. Personally, I would have included some marvellous tales from Celia Fremlin's 'Don't Go To Sleep In The Dark' - The Quiet Game, The New House and For Ever Fair. Also, Dicken's Signal Man, Fremlin's Don't Tell Cissie and A.S. Byatt's The July Ghost.

MRCosby said...

Great list! There are so many great tales. I might add some AM Burrage, maybe The Acquittal; Shamus Frazer, The Tune in Dan's Cafe; Archway by Nicholas Royle; The Will by Brian Stableford; and Three Degrees Over by Brian Aldiss. My favourite Aickman at the moment is Residents Only (but then again there's A Romain Question, My Poor Friend, Laura ... they're all superb.)