Read Three Supernatural Classics: "The Willows," "The Wendigo" and "The Listener" by Algernon Blackwood Free Online
Book Title: Three Supernatural Classics: "The Willows," "The Wendigo" and "The Listener"|
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The author of the book: Algernon Blackwood
Edition: Dover Publications
Date of issue: September 3rd 2008
ISBN 13: 9780486469263
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 934 KB
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"He is the one absolute and unquestioned master of weird atmosphere," pronounced H. P. Lovecraft of Algernon Blackwood (1869-1951). The preeminent British supernaturalist of the twentieth century, Blackwood combined elements of philosophy and modern psychology to introduce a new sophistication to a genre formerly dominated by traditional ghost stories. His tales of terror, occult detective stories, fantasies, and other thrillers possess an unprecedented degree of subtlety and finesse.
This trio of tales showcases Blackwood's best and most gripping work. An idyllic camping trip along the Danube goes horribly wrong in "The Willows," as supplies start to disappear, trees begin to move, and a hole inexplicably forms in the bottom of the canoe. The dark terror of "The Wendigo" unfolds in the remote Canadian wilderness, where a hunting party encounters a creature from Algonquin myth. "The Listener," a ghost yarn set in a rundown house in London, recounts a struggling writer's dawning realization of the chilling connection between his headaches, a mysterious sound of footsteps, and the sensation of being watched while he sleeps. All three of these stories feature Blackwood's characteristically high level of sustained suspense and offer readers a refined supernatural experience.
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Read information about the authorBlackwood was born in Shooter's Hill (today part of south-east London, but then part of northwest Kent) and educated at Wellington College. His father was a Post Office administrator who, according to Peter Penzoldt, "though not devoid of genuine good-heartedness, had appallingly narrow religious ideas." Blackwood had a varied career, farming in Canada, operating a hotel, as a newspaper reporter in New York City, and, throughout his adult life, an occasional essayist for various periodicals. In his late thirties, he moved back to England and started to write stories of the supernatural. He was very successful, writing at least ten original collections of short stories and eventually appearing on both radio and television to tell them. He also wrote fourteen novels, several children's books, and a number of plays, most of which were produced but not published. He was an avid lover of nature and the outdoors, and many of his stories reflect this.
English writer of ghost stories and supernatural fiction, of whom Lovecraft wrote: "He is the one absolute and unquestioned master of weird atmosphere." His powerful story "The Willows," which effectively describes another dimension impinging upon our own, was reckoned by Lovecraft to be not only "foremost of all" Blackwood's tales but the best "weird tale" of all time. (Unfortunately, Blackwood, who was familiar with Lovecraft's work, failed to return the compliment. As he told Peter Penzoldt, he found "spiritual terror" missing in his young admirer's writing, something he considered all-important in his own.)
Among his thirty-odd books, Blackwood wrote a series of stories and short novels published as John Silence, Physician Extraordinary (1908), which featured a "psychic detective" who combined the skills of a Sherlock Holmes and a psychic medium. Blackwood also wrote light fantasy and juvenile books.
The son of a preacher, Blackwood had a life-long interest in the supernatural, the occult, and spiritualism, and firmly believed that humans possess latent psychic powers. The autobiography Episodes Before Thirty (1923) tells of his lean years as a journalist in New York. In the late 1940s, Blackwood had a television program on the BBC on which he read . . . ghost stories!