Monday, October 23, 2017

My Favourite Horror Stories -- A Few, At Any Rate

I always hesitate to post a list of my favourite horror stories because I tend to overlook too many. At three o'clock in the morning, I will most likely slap myself on the forehead and think, "How the hell could I have missed that one?" Yet all the same, here it is.

Please note that "favourite" does not necessarily imply "best." "Seaton's Aunt" is a much more important story than "The Three Friends"; "The Spook House" and "A Vine on a House" are minor when compared to "An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge," but I have reasons of my own for loving these lesser stories. In a similar way, Robert Aickman's work is vastly more important to the field than anything by Charles G. D. Roberts, and yet something about "The Barn in the Marsh" appeals to me. Quite often, too, I can learn more about technique from a certain kind of story than from ones that other people might consider important.

For the sake of simplicity, I've left out novellas, along with stories about fantasy worlds -- otherwise, I'd end up with a sky-high list of titles by Clark Ashton Smith and C. L. Moore. I've also left out stories that might be considered purely fantasy (like E. T. A. Hoffmann's wonderful "Der goldne Topf", or Ludwig Tieck's disturbing "Der blonde Eckbert"), and stories more dreamlike than eerie, like those by Bruno Schulz, or Marcel Brion's "Les Escales de la haute nuit." As much as I love them, I have to draw the line somewhere.

I've also limited myself to stories in languages that I can read (or could read; I haven't studied German in decades). As much as I love stories by Bruno Schulz, I'm painfully aware that I'm not reading Schulz, but a translation.

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