Thursday, August 9, 2018

Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural (Modern Library) Hardcover – by Phyllis Cerf Wagner (Editor), Herbert Wise (Editor) (Modern Library)

This was the best introduction of horror short stories for me. Modern short stories have become a let-down to me after reading this book. You have to go backwards to find solid reading material. There is really no need to get into specifics because the proof is on the pages - many of these stories have left me amazed, and if you do not already possess the stories in this anthology, I strongly recommend this book. It is the main source of my awareness of the classic horror short story genre. I read this book and tried to find more like it, and many anthologies do not live up to this selection as far my tastes are concerned. I only wish that Herbert Wise had edited more anthologies. I love short stories, and though I am not a die-hard short story fanatic, I believe that these writers are so superior that anybody would become an instant fan reading them.

When this longtime Modern Library favorite--filled with fifty-two stories of heart-stopping suspense--was first published in 1944, one of its biggest fans was critic Edmund Wilson, who in The New Yorker applauded what he termed a sudden revival of the appetite for tales of horror. Represented in the anthology are such distinguished spell weavers as Edgar Allen Poe ("The Black Cat"), Wilkie Collins ("A Terribly Strange Bed"), Henry James ("Sir Edmund Orme"), Guy de Maupassant ("Was It a Dream?"), O. Henry ("The Furnished Room"), Rudyard Kipling ("They"), and H.G. Wells ("Pollock and the Porroh Man"). Included as well are such modern masters as Algernon Blackwood ("Ancient Sorceries"), Walter de la Mare ("Out of the Deep"), E.M. Forster ("The Celestial Omnibus"), Isak Dinesen ("The Sailor-Boys Tale"), H.P. Lovecraft ("The Dunwich Horror"), Dorothy L. Sayers ("Suspicion"), and Ernest Hemingway ("The Killers"). 

"There is not a story in this collection that does not have the breath of life, achieve the full suspension of disbelief that is so particularly important in [this] type of fiction," wrote the Saturday Review. With an introduction and notes by Phyllis Cerf Wagner and Herbert Wise.

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