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1850 - 1900 horror story
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 10 May, 2020 03:11PM
Hello.

Can anybody recommend a good horror/weird story (not a ghost story) by less known authors from the second half of the 19th century? (No Maupassant, Machen, Wells, Le Fanu etc.)

Re: 1850 - 1900 horror story
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 11 May, 2020 03:53PM
Your "etc. ..." makes your request rather vague.

I'd mention "Thrawn Janet" (1881) which is little known thank to being written in Scots (but is awesome IMHO). But perhaps you think that Robert Louis Stevenson counts as too famous; and that a demon-animated corpse counts as a "ghost", or is otherwise too conventional.

I'd mention "The Hunting of the Snark" (1876). But Lewis Carroll is famous and it is a comic nonsense poem. It still counts as a story, though, that builds steadily to a haunting climax, involving something that is alien and unknown.

I'd mention "The Princess and Curdie" (1883), which must be close to the weirdest thing (though maybe not the best thing) that George MacDonald ever wrote. But George MacDonald is famous to some, and this was marketed, and to some extent written, as a children's novel, in accordance with the conventions of 19th century fantasy.

I'd mention THE KING IN YELLOW (1895), by Robert W. Chambers (particularly "The Repairer or Reputations", "The Yellow Sign", and "In the Court of the Dragon"). But of course I'm sure you've already heard of him.

I'd mention the many volumes of folk-lore and "fairy tales" that were collected in second half of the 19th century, and marketed largely to children by publishers, instilling in them (I suppose) a life-long taste for the weird. For instance, in Joseph Jacobs' MORE ENGLISH FAIRY TALES (1893) he brought us "The Pied Piper", "The Hobyahs", "The King of the Cats", "The Hedley Kow", and "The Lambton Worm".

"The Damned Thing" (1893) by Ambrose Bierce. I guess the rest of Bierce's weird fiction would count as ghost stories, but I guess the least conventional of these would be "The Death of Halpin Frayser" (1891) and "An Inhabitant of Carcosa" (1886).

H. Rider Haggard: KING SOLOMON'S MINES (1885)and SHE (1886). Or were you looking only for short stories?

That's all I got for now.

Re: 1850 - 1900 horror story
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 12 May, 2020 10:02AM
Thanks. Most of them I know, of course, but there are some I have not read yet so I will give them a try.

Re: 1850 - 1900 horror story
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 12 May, 2020 01:54PM
"The Dead Valley" (1895) by Ralph Adams Cram.

Re: 1850 - 1900 horror story
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 12 May, 2020 04:50PM
On the subject of werewolves:

LE MENEUR DES LOUPS (1857), by Alexandre Dumas, translated as THE WOLF LEADER (1904) is okay as a weird fantasy, but rather disappointing if you want weird horror. The bulk of the tale is written from the point-of-view of its werewolf/sorcerer protagonist, rather than his victims, which tends to undercut any horror. However, it starts with a framing chapter that is more-or-less in the proper spirit, and one can see its influence on later werewolf horror-fiction.

"The Were-Wolf" (1896) by Clemence Housman. Not the modern werewolf, but more a species of malevolent spirt-folk in the mold of the one encountered in the werewolf episode of THE PHANTOM SHIP.

This period also produced THE BOOK OF WERE-WOLVES (1865) by Sabine Baring-Gould, which is, however, not a story, but a survey of werewolf lore and legend.

Re: 1850 - 1900 horror story
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 12 May, 2020 09:30PM
"What was it?" (1859), by Fitz James O'Brien

Re: 1850 - 1900 horror story
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 12 May, 2020 11:02PM
“An Eddy on the Floor” by Bernard Capes.

Re: 1850 - 1900 horror story
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 12 May, 2020 11:12PM
"Lindenborg Pool" (1856), by William Morris.

Re: 1850 - 1900 horror story
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 13 May, 2020 07:03AM
I still cannot understand why the characters in "What Was It?" did not paint the invisible creature in black or some dark colour to see what it really was instead of casting its shape. :-)
"The Dead Valley" breaks my heart whenever I read it because of the little puppy that died there ... :-(

Re: 1850 - 1900 horror story
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 13 May, 2020 10:18AM
Minicthulhu Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I still cannot understand why the characters in
> "What Was It?" did not paint the invisible
> creature in black or some dark colour to see what
> it really was instead of casting its shape. :-)

I had the same thought. But I guess they had not yet read "The Invisible Man".

Good thing they were unable to feed it, or they would all have been slipping on invisible poop.

Re: 1850 - 1900 horror story
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 14 May, 2020 12:57AM
"The Diamond Lens" (1858) by Fitz-James O'Brien

Re: 1850 - 1900 horror story
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 14 May, 2020 02:07PM
I have a soft spot for "The Diamond Lens" because it was one of the first stories I got on the Internet around cca. 1999. :-)

Re: 1850 - 1900 horror story
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 26 May, 2020 11:22PM
What is THE KING IN YELLOW? Is it more than speculative supernatural entertainment? There is a serious conviction to it, that seems almost religious or mystical. A form of documentation. I get a similar impression with Ambrose Bierce's writings.

Re: 1850 - 1900 horror story
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 27 May, 2020 04:43PM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What is THE KING IN YELLOW? Is it more than
> speculative supernatural entertainment? There is a
> serious conviction to it, that seems almost
> religious or mystical. A form of documentation. I
> get a similar impression with Ambrose Bierce's
> writings.

Who knows? I agree that it seems to be written with conviction -- moreso than anything Chambers wrote after that. But I'll be damned if I can explain it. THE KING IN YELLOW is one of those things I like without being able to explain.

Hazarding a guess, I would say that it is some way connected with Chambers' experiences in the Paris art scene, which he found in some way to be not conducive to his happiness or his mental composure. But maybe that answer is too serious, without being a whole lotta fun.

Of course, he references Bierce, with "Hali", "Carcosa" and "Hastur".



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