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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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4,0452121,258 (3.97)1 / 564
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, sturlington)
    upstairsgirl: Similar in premise, less subtle but more disturbing in execution.
    sturlington: Hill House clearly inspired White Is for Witching.
  4. 61
    The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story 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. 40
    The Red Tree by Caitlín R. Kiernan (blacksylph)
  6. 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.)
  7. 20
    The Unseen by Alexandra Sokoloff (amyblue)
  8. 42
    House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (blacksylph)
    blacksylph: The only haunted house story I've ever read that was scarier than this book.
  9. 21
    Wish Her Safe at Home by Stephen Benatar (agmlll)
  10. 77
    Carrie by Stephen King (artturnerjr, akblanchard)
    artturnerjr: Clearly influenced by The Haunting of Hill House, as is much of King's work.
    akblanchard: Carrie White has much in common with Jackson's shy, bullied heroine Eleanor Vance.
  11. 77
    Salem's Lot by Stephen King (clif_hiker)
  12. 01
    The Supernaturals by David L. Golemon (Scottneumann)
  13. 45
    Danse Macabre by Stephen King (kraaivrouw)
    kraaivrouw: Look here for Stephen King's take on The Haunting of Hill House.
  14. 02
    Hell House by Richard Matheson (sturlington)
    sturlington: Inspired by The Haunting of Hill House.
1950s (83)

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English (209)  Japanese (1)  French (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (212)
Showing 1-5 of 209 (next | show all)
*shivers* really good! ( )
1 vote bostonbibliophile | Oct 27, 2016 |
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson was a re-read for me and this time I listened to an audible version of the story. The story is of a group of people who come to Hill House to investigate and, if possible, to find proof of the haunting that this house is famous for, One of the group, Eleanor is a strange, rather mentally delicate young woman and the house appears to reach out and express a desire for Eleanor to always stay in the house.

This was an excellent “haunted” house story. The author delivers a layered tale that is rife with tension and terror. Never overdone, the author alternates the horror scenes with a light, almost playful atmosphere but eventually the reader realizes it is the house that is controlling the mood and playing with the guests. From the housekeeper who must keep to her schedule in order to get out of the house before dark, to the strange opening and closing of doors, even the simplest of things is used to give the readers a slow mounting case of the shudders.

I admire the understated creepiness of The Haunting of Hill House, the author doesn’t have to resort to gore or extreme violence to deliver a story that has both style and chills. The Haunting of Hill House is an impressive story and well deserves to be placed among the small group of literary horror stories that stand the test of time. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Oct 22, 2016 |
This book, published in 1959, seems to be an allegory about being a closeted lesbian. Surely, I am not the first to notice this. Our main character, Eleanor, ministered to her dying mother for 11 years, an utterly devoted daughter. Her married sister is grounded in her normalcy, but the death of their mother unmoors Eleanor.

Fragile Eleanor steals her sister's car to drive to the haunted Hill House manse, repeating to herself that "journeys end in lovers meeting." This is her first taste of freedom--her first post-mortem choice. The "lover" is not--as we are led to believe--the haplesss Luke (heir to the property), but Theodora, who inevitably rejects Eleanor.

The horror of Hill House is Eleanor's rejection in toto--but specifically it revolves around her rejection by her true object of interest. Theo, while seeming to invite intimacy, withdraws at the critical moment. For all the house's horrors, the worst according (to Eleanor) is Theo's gas-lighting and betrayal. As Eleanor loses and doubts her social sense of self, she finds herself more& more susceptible to Hill House's poltergeists.

Hill House represents the impossibility of Eleanor's repressed lesbian existence. ( )
  reganrule | Oct 20, 2016 |
if i liked the first 2.5 pages of this better i don't know what i'd have to complain about. and i liked them more this time than i did at my first reading, so maybe i'll come completely around to them at some point. because this is obviously a book i will be reading again and again. i wish i could take a graduate class just on this book, there is so much in here and so much to discuss; the depths you can find about each of the characters and the history is ... well, it's exciting.

my interpretation of the book is completely different than last time with this reading. i didn't find this too scary last time (except that amazing scene where eleanor thinks she's holding theo's hand in the night through the noise and the cold and then finds theo was sleeping all along) but this time, i found it scary pretty much from beginning to end. part of that is knowing what is coming and seeing so much foreshadowing throughout, but most of that is reading it differently. it's one of my favorite things about this book, that it can be read in different ways, and the interpretations can all be backed up by the text. so this time i read it less as eleanor going crazy, and much more as the house is alive and wanted her, drew her in, and drove her actions. which makes for a different story and a pretty scary read, even though i don't usually prefer this kind of tale. it's just so expertly done.

i still absolutely love the way she begins chapter 2: "Eleanor Vance was thirty-two years old when she came to Hill House. The only person in the world she genuinely hated, now that her mother was dead, was her sister. She disliked her brother-in-law and her five-year-old niece, and she had no friends. This was owing largely to the eleven years she had spent caring for her invalid mother, which had left her with some proficiency as a nurse and an inability to face strong sunlight without blinking." i think it will prove to be one of my favorite passages in literature.

this time i found it clear that theodora is a lesbian; it didn't feel much like subtext but actually out in the open. maybe it's reading this directly after the education of harriet hatfield when they called their partners their friends, but seeing "friend" in this book didn't make me wonder what she meant like it did last time. the reference to the alfred de musset book (i'm assuming the erotic lesbian one) i think is supposed to make that clear. not that it matters, i just found it differently obvious in this reading.

there is so much creepy foreshadowing that i either didn't notice before or just, i don't know, shrugged off. of course, it totally can be shrugged off, since this book can perfectly be read in a number of ways. but this time, maybe i wanted to read it as a haunted house story, or maybe something early on just nudged me in that direction. because i must have marked 25 places (before i gave up) where the house "watches" "waits" "settles" "sighs" "steadied" that don't necessarily mean the house is alive, per say. but it sure felt like it was aware and sentient in this reading. maybe that's also partly prep for rereading white is for witching, in which the house is most definitely a character in the book. (there's even a line in here - "The sense was that [the house] wanted to consume us, take us into itself, make us a part of the house, maybe" that, to me, foreshadows the oyeyemi book in its entirety.) while i'm talking other books, i'll also say that the way the nursery was described, the coldness and as "the heart of the house" reminded me also of the den of it, in stephen king's it. not that they were trying to destroy anything in this house, though.

this is just so good. is the force inside her? did it draw her there? is it her, herself? "Eleanor, racing to the pounding, which seemed inside her head as much as in the hall, ..." ... "how can these others hear the noise when it is coming from inside my head? I am disappearing inch by inch into this house..." is she going crazy? is the house making her crazy? was she already crazy? i even found myself, at one point, asking, is she even actually there?? i can't say enough how much i love how answering those questions differently gives a completely different reading of the book. it's just so brilliantly done. i already can't wait to read it again one day. (5 stars)

from oct 2014:

oh this book is so, so good. i didn't love the first 2.5 pages, but by midway through page 3, when she opens chapter 2 with - "Eleanor Vance was thirty-two years old when she came to Hill House. The only person in the world she genuinely hated, now that her mother was dead, was her sister. She disliked her brother-in-law and her five-year-old niece, and she had no friends. This was owing largely to the eleven years she had spent caring for her invalid mother, which had left her with some proficiency as a nurse and an inability to face strong sunlight without blinking." - i was all in.

it's not as scary (in the traditional sense) as i'd expected, but i think it's stronger for it as it's less about the supernatural manifestations in the house and more about the expectation of them that build in the group and with each of the people individually. is the house evil? is anything happening or is it in the occupant's heads? (does mrs. montague not experience any phenomena because there aren't any or because she's not a part of the group the house has chosen?) is theodora mean to eleanor or is that (also?) in eleanor's head? at what point does eleanor really start to go mad, and how much of the story is then called into question because it's told from her point of view? there are so many questions that come up reading this; it's the kind of book that makes you want to go back through and find clues and see how things shift based on how you might answer those questions.

i love the uncertainty that comes with reading this and i understand why it's cited as foundational for so many writers (like stephen king). and yet it reads like it could have been published the day i began reading it.

i can't do this book justice. it's just so good on so many levels. shirley jackson can write and i can't wait to read (and reread over and over again) everything she ever published. (5 stars) ( )
1 vote elisa.saphier | Oct 10, 2016 |
I'd live in Hill House for the summer, just for this experience. ( )
  JennysBookBag.com | Sep 28, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shirley Jacksonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Buckley, PaulCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dunne, BernadetteNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edelfeldt, IngerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
King, StephenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, LauraIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warner, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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 in lovers meeting.
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.
We have grown to trust blindly in our senses of balance and reason...
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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.

AR 6.3, 11 pts
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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:04 -0400)

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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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