“A Hideous Bit of Morbidity”

An Anthology of Horror Criticism from the Enlightenment to World War I


Only 3 left in stock (can be backordered)

Add to Wishlist
Add to Wishlist
SKU: 9780786469093 Categories: , ,

About the Book

Horror fiction stormed the bestseller lists with classics like Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, setting the stage for Stephen King’s worldwide popularity, but the genre has literary roots going back centuries. This collection provides insight into the way classic horror texts were received, interpreted and discussed by the first generations to experience them, ideas that continue to define the way modern society views horror. Each reprinted article, review or critical essay is prefaced with an introduction and explanatory notes to put the work in context. The book also includes an overview of horror criticism, a publication timeline, and period photographs and illustrations.

About the Author(s)

Jason Colavito is also a frequent contributor to Skeptic magazine, and has earned praise from Archaeology magazine for his archaeology writing. He lives in Albany, New York and can be found online at www.JasonColavito.com.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Jason Colavito
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 384
Bibliographic Info: 49 photos, appendix, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [2008]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6909-3
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5224-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction      1

A Note on the Text      11


On the Words for “Fear” in Certain Languages:

A Study in Linguistic Psychology

Alex F. Chamberlain      13

Excerpt from On the Sublime and Beautiful

Edmund Burke      18

On the Pleasure of Writing Dismal Stories,

Exciting Surprize and Horror

Daniel Defoe      22

Excerpt from “The Prodigal and His Brother”

Frederick W. Robertson      25

The Dread of the Supernatural

The Spectator      27

Gothic Horror

Lafcadio Hearn      31


Excerpt from The Supernatural in Romantic Fiction

Edward Yardley      37

Excerpt from “On Gothic Superstition”

Nathan Drake      41

Excerpt from a Review of Literary Hours

by Nathan Drake The Monthly Review      47

Introductory Dialogue to Tales of Terror

Matthew Lewis (attributed)      50

Excerpt from “The Revival of Romance”

Walter Raleigh      53

The School of Terror

Thomas E. Rankin and Wilford M. Aikin      58

Fiction in the Romantic Movement

William Allen Neilson      59

Excerpt from “Mrs. Ann Radcliffe”

Sir Walter Scott      60

Excerpt from “Fragments of an Unpublished Manuscript”

Adam Eagle (Fitz-James O’Brien)      65

Letter to William Godwin

Charles Lamb      66

Introduction to Ghost Stories

Rudolph Ackermann      67

A Tale for a Chimney-Corner

Leigh Hunt      68

Excerpt from “A Letter from Geneva”

John Polidori      77

Remarks on Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus

Sir Walter Scott      79

Excerpt from a Review of Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus

John Croker      93

Excerpt from a Review of Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus

The Edinburgh Magazine and Literary Miscellany      94

Review of Presumption; or the Fate of Frankenstein

The London Magazine      97

Excerpt from “Mrs. Shelley”

R. H. Horne      99

Letter Denying Authorship of The Vampire

Lord Byron      103

Excerpt from “Ellis, Acton, and Currer Bell”

Peter Bayne      105


Excerpt from “Later German Romanticism”

George H. Danton      108

The Origins of Hawthorne and Poe

Paul Elmer More      110

Edgar Allan Poe

Robert Chambers      122

Excerpt from “Edgar Allan Poe”

James Russell Lowell      126

Review of The Raven and Other Poems

The Knickerbocker      129

Poe: Lack of Substance

W. C. Brownell      132

Poe’s Fixing of the Short-Story Form

Charles Sears Baldwin      138

Fitz-James O’Brien

Charles Sears Baldwin      144

Excerpt from “The Mid-Century in America”

Henry Seidel Canby      145

Maupassant and Poe

Frederic Rowland Marvin      148

Advertisement for Tales of Soldiers and Civilians

American Publishers      152

Excerpt from “Ambrose Bierce: An Appraisal”

Frederic Taber Cooper      152

Bierce: Satire, Romance, Philosophy

Edwin Markham      158

Table of Contents vii

Excerpt from “The Short Story”

Fred Lewis Pattee      160

Excerpt from “Concerning Irvin Cobb”

The Bookman      161


The Physiology of “Penny Awfuls”

The London Hermit (Walter Parke)      164

Review of The Purcell Papers by J. Sheridan Le Fanu

The Saturday Review      182

Excerpt from “Concerning Tea”

E. V. Lucas      183

Excerpt from “The New Gallery”

J. Charles Cox      185

The Religion of Robert Louis Stevenson

W. J. Dawson      187

Review of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The Dublin Review      194

Excerpt from “Novelists’ Law”

Alfred Bailey      195

The Secret Out

The New York Herald Tribune      196

Excerpt from “Richard Mansfield”

William Henry Frost      199

Excerpt from “R. L. Stevenson”

Richard Le Gallienne      200

Excerpt from “Our Library List”

Murray’s Magazine      200

Review of Dracula

Baron de Book-Worms      201

Supped Full with Horrors

Charles F. Lummis      202

Review of Dracula

The Literary World      204

Excerpt from “Open Questions:

Talks with Correspondents”

Current Literature      204

Excerpt from Human Sexuality

J. Richardson Parke      205

Letter to Julian Hawthorne

Edmund Clarence Stedman      206

Excerpt from Modern Vampirism

A. Osborne Eaves      207


The Bookman      208


Excerpt from “Fictions of the Future”

The Dublin Review      209

Review of The Island of Dr      Moreau

The Baron de Book-Worms      211

Review of The Invisible Man

William Morton Payne      214

Excerpt from “Love, War and Pseudo-science”

William Lyon Phelps      215

Mr. Wells’s War of the Worlds

Clement Shorter      215

Review of The War of the Worlds

William Morton Payne      218

Excerpt from The Technique of the Mystery Story

Carolyn Wells      219

Review of My Friend the Murderer

The Literary World      220

Excerpt from “Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles

Arthur Bartlett Maurice      221

Curiosity and Horror in the Theatre

Arthur Bingham Walkley      223

Review of The Three Imposters

The Bookman      227

Review of The Great God Pan

Richard Henry Stoddard      228

The Gospel of Intensity

Harry Quilter      230

Excerpt from “Oscar Wilde”

A. Edward Newton      255

Art and Luxury

Ramiro de Maetzu      257


Excerpt from “A Study of Individual Psychology”

Caroline Miles      265

The Value of the Supernatural in Fiction

Lafcadio Hearn      267

Some Japanese Bogie-Books

Andrew Lang      279

Ghost Stories

W. F. Dawson      292

Excerpt from “Books of the Christmas Season”

Noah Brooks      294

Two Volumes from Henry James

Henry Wysham Lanier      295

Excerpt from “Gillette”

Amy Leslie      297

Excerpt from “Chronicle and Comment”

The Bookman      299

Review of The King in Yellow

The Literary World      300

Review of The Wind in the Rose Bush

The Literary World      300

Mr. Morris’s “The Footprint”

Ward Clark      301

Algernon Blackwood-An Appreciation

Grace Isabel Colbron      303

Robert Hichens

Frederic Taber Cooper      307

The Creeps

H. D. Traill      324

The Decay of the Ghost in Fiction

Olivia Howard Dunbar      329


The Supernatural in Fiction

Andrew Lang      337

The Abuse of the Supernatural in Fiction

Edmund Gosse      342

Review of The Supernatural in Modern English Fiction

Montague Summers      350

Excerpt from The Supernatural in Modern English Fiction

Dorothy Scarborough      356

Appendix: Timeline of Major Works of Horror      367

Index      369

Book Reviews

“delightful…cleverly related illustrations…the volume complements rather than duplicating existing resources on the field. I hope a companion volume covering the more recent era will be forthcoming”—Science Fiction Studies; “a veritable feast…nicely produced”—SF Site.