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The Haunting of Hill House (Penguin…

The Haunting of Hill House (Penguin Classics) (original 1959; edition 2006)

by Shirley Jackson, Laura Miller (Introduction)

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3,2861561,666 (4)433
Title:The Haunting of Hill House (Penguin Classics)
Authors:Shirley Jackson
Other authors:Laura Miller (Introduction)
Info:Penguin Classics (2006), Edition: Revised, Paperback, 208 pages
Collections:read 2012, read via public library
Tags:Fiction, horror

Work details

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (1959)

  1. 160
    The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: Both have an unreliable narrator, which results in an ambiguous story.
  2. 90
    The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (alalba)
  3. 60
    White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi (upstairsgirl)
    upstairsgirl: Similar in premise, less subtle but more disturbing in execution.
  4. 61
    The Woman in Black by Susan Hill (coppers, Jannes)
    Jannes: Not sure if it is a coincidence, but the two perhaps best ghost stories ever written are both by women, in a genre otherwise mostly dominated by men. Both are superb explorations of death, loss, fear, and all those other elementsthat make up the good supernatural tales.… (more)
  5. 51
    House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (blacksylph)
    blacksylph: The only haunted house story I've ever read that was scarier than this book.
  6. 40
    The Red Tree by Caitlín R. Kiernan (blacksylph)
  7. 41
    Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories by Roald Dahl (SomeGuyInVirginia)
    SomeGuyInVirginia: Dahl's is the best collection of ghost stories available, and Jackson's is the best haunted house story of all time. I think they make a nice pair (as the bishop said to the chorus girl.)
  8. 31
    The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons (sturlington)
  9. 20
    Hell House by Richard Matheson (sturlington)
  10. 20
    The Unseen by Alexandra Sokoloff (amyblue)
  11. 21
    Wish Her Safe at Home by Stephen Benatar (agmlll)
  12. 66
    Salem's Lot by Stephen King (clif_hiker)
  13. 56
    Carrie by Stephen King (artturnerjr)
    artturnerjr: Clearly influenced by The Haunting of Hill House, as is much of King's work.
  14. 01
    The Supernaturals by David L. Golemon (Scottneumann)
  15. 35
    Danse Macabre by Stephen King (kraaivrouw)
    kraaivrouw: Look here for Stephen King's take on The Haunting of Hill House.

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» See also 433 mentions

English (151)  Japanese (1)  French (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (154)
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From Guillermo Del Toro's introduction:
[Horror] operates as a theater of the mind in which internal conflicts are played out. (xiii)

From Laura Miller's introduction:

Hill House will force [Eleanor] to acknowledge that she will never be free, that her dreams of leaving her corrosive past and her family behind are illusions, that wherever she goes she will only find the same hell she was running away from. Escape is a mirage. This is the real horror of Hill House. (xliii)

"We are afraid of being someone else and doing the things someone else wants us to do and of being taken and used by someone else, some other guilt-ridden conscience that lives on and on in our minds, something we build ourselves and never recognize..." -Shirley Jackson in an unsent letter to Howard Nemerov (xlv)


Hill House, [Eleanor] thought, you're as hard to get into as heaven. (28)

Anyone has a right to run away. (28)

She shivered and thought, the words coming freely into her mind, Hill House is vile, it is diseased; get away from here at once. (31)

I think I'm going to cry, she thought, like a child sobbing and wailing, I don't like it here... (35)

It's awful, she thought, unwilling to move, since motion might imply acceptance, a gesture of moving in, it's awful and I don't want to stay; but there was nowhere else to go... (37)

I am like a small creature swallowed whole by a monster, she thought, and the monster feels my tiny little movements inside. (39)

"We never know where our courage is coming from." (Theodora, 47)

"What it was like before then, whether its personality was molded by the people who lived here, or the things they did, or whether it was evil from its start are all questions I cannot answer." (Dr. Montague, 99)

"It's harder to burn down a house than you think," Luke said. (68)

"...but what's here? What really frightens people so?"
"I will not put a name to what has no name." (Theodora and the doctor, 69)

"Essentially," he went on slowly, "the evil is the house itself, I think. It has enchained and destroyed its people and their lives, it is a place of contained ill will." (Dr. Montague, 77)

Eleanor felt, as she had the day before, that the conversations was being skillfully guided away from the thought of fear, so very present in her own mind. Perhaps she was to be allowed to speak occasionally for all of them so that, quieting her, they quieted themselves and could leave the subject behind them; perhaps, vehicle for every kind of fear, she contained enough for all. (93)

"Nothing in this house moves," Eleanor said, "until you look away, and then you just catch something from the corner of your eye." (104)

"You think we are right to stay?"
"Right?" he said. "I think we are incredibly silly to stay. I think that an atmosphere like this one can find out the flaws and faults and weaknesses in all of us, and break us apart in a matter of days. We have only one defense, and that is running away. At least it can't follow us, can it?" (Eleanor and the doctor, 118)

...intelligence and understanding are really no protection at all, she thought. (146)

Nothing irrevocable had yet been spoken, but there was only the barest margin of safety left them... (Eleanor and Theo, 166) ( )
  JennyArch | Jul 28, 2014 |
'small seeking sounds, feeling the edges of the door, trying to find a way in.', July 24, 2014

This review is from: The Haunting of Hill House (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
After loving Shirley Jackson's 'We have Always Lived at The Castle', I really didn't find this in the same league.
It starts off very promising, with interoverted Eleanor, who has experienced poltergeist activity as a child, being invited to spend some time in a haunted house - a Professor Montague is doing research. Her mother has just died and she accepts with alacrity, joining the two other young people - exuberant, rather irritating Theodora, and Luke, the heir to the property. And the rather creepy couple who act as caretakers...
But then I felt that although it was only a short book, it seemed to go on forever. Nowhere near as good as Sarah Waters' 'The Little Stranger' which is unputdownable. ( )
  starbox | Jul 24, 2014 |
Promised to be creepy and it certainly was. Scared me enough to not want to read it at night.
  amyem58 | Jul 16, 2014 |
Terror at its finest. ( )
  trile1000 | Jul 7, 2014 |
The original 20th Century ghost story.
  lseitz | Jul 1, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 151 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shirley Jacksonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dunne, BernadetteNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edelfeldt, IngerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
King, StephenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, LauraIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Leonard Brown
First words
No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more.
Journeys end when lovers meet.
She could not remember ever being truly happy in her adult life; her years with her mother had been built up devotedly around small guilts and small reproaches, constant weariness, and unending despair. Without ever wanting to become reserved and shy, she had spent so long alone, with no one to love, that it was difficult for her to talk, even casually, to another person without self-consciousness and an awkward inability to find words.
The house was vile. She shivered and thought, the words coming freely into her mind, Hill House is vile, it is diseased; get away from here at once.
When they were silent for a moment the quiet weight of the house pressed down from all around them.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Hill House is an eighty year-old mansion built by a man named Hugh Crain. The story concerns four main characters: Dr. John Montague, an investigator of the supernatural; two young women, Eleanor and Theodora; and a young man, Luke, the heir to Hill House, who is host to the others. Doctor Montague hopes to find scientific evidence of the existence of the supernatural. He rents Hill House for a summer and invites several people to stay there as his guests. Of these invitees, whom he has chosen because at one time or another they have all experienced paranormal events, only Eleanor and Theodora accept.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0143039989, Paperback)

Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House has unnerved readers since its original publication in 1959. A tale of subtle, psychological terror, it has earned its place as one of the significant haunted house stories of the ages.

Eleanor Vance has always been a loner--shy, vulnerable, and bitterly resentful of the 11 years she lost while nursing her dying mother. "She had spent so long alone, with no one to love, that it was difficult for her to talk, even casually, to another person without self-consciousness and an awkward inability to find words." Eleanor has always sensed that one day something big would happen, and one day it does. She receives an unusual invitation from Dr. John Montague, a man fascinated by "supernatural manifestations." He organizes a ghost watch, inviting people who have been touched by otherworldly events. A paranormal incident from Eleanor's childhood qualifies her to be a part of Montague's bizarre study--along with headstrong Theodora, his assistant, and Luke, a well-to-do aristocrat. They meet at Hill House--a notorious estate in New England.

Hill House is a foreboding structure of towers, buttresses, Gothic spires, gargoyles, strange angles, and rooms within rooms--a place "without kindness, never meant to be lived in...."

Although Eleanor's initial reaction is to flee, the house has a mesmerizing effect, and she begins to feel a strange kind of bliss that entices her to stay. Eleanor is a magnet for the supernatural--she hears deathly wails, feels terrible chills, and sees ghostly apparitions. Once again she feels isolated and alone--neither Theo nor Luke attract so much eerie company. But the physical horror of Hill House is always subtle; more disturbing is the emotional torment Eleanor endures. Intense, literary, and harrowing, The Haunting of Hill House belongs in the same dark league as Henry James's classic ghost story, The Turn of the Screw. --Naomi Gesinger

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:41 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The four visitors at Hill House-- some there for knowledge, others for adventure-- are unaware that the old mansion will soon choose one of them to make its own.

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