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The Wendigo by Algernon Blackwood

The Wendigo (1910)

by Algernon Blackwood

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(1910) A hunting party that ventures into forbidden territory has a run-in with a creature out of legend. This horror classic has some very well-done elements. I like how the 'rough' talk of the huntsmen and their guides is contrasted with the lovely and evocative descriptions of nature. Blackwood does an excellent job of conjuring up the vastness and mystery of the untamed North American wilderness. Unfortunately, it does contain a few racial slurs and depictions which, while they may serve to contribute to the setting of the story, are quite jarring to a modern reader. There are also elements of the 'horrific' in this story that came off as... well, just a bit silly. But overall, the juxtaposition of small blustering (but strangely vulnerable) men against the unknown is quite effective. It does indeed evoke "savage and formidable potencies lurking behind the souls of men, not evil perhaps in themselves, yet instinctively hostile to humanity as it exists..." ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
In today's jungle of lusty vampires, hairless werewolves (yeah, I'm talking about you Taylor Laudanum), and unending Zombie infestations, [a:Algernon Blackwood|38840|Algernon Blackwood|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1236482691p2/38840.jpg]'s [b:The Wendigo|1137702|The Wendigo|Algernon Blackwood|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1181290361s/1137702.jpg|2482119] taps into a vein of horror seemingly neglected in modern culture: the primal monster.

Before reading this story, remember the write and the time period. Blackwood, like author:H.P. Lovecraft|9494], relies on the worst kind of literary racism: easy stereotypes, broad caricatures, and reduction of non-Anglo humanity through primitive, animal-based character descriptions.

That being noted, Blackwood takes readers deep into the woods and folklore of northern Canada and offers a simple story based on tales older than himself with minimal embellishment.
( )
  IsotropicJoseph | Apr 28, 2014 |
The Wendigo is creepy in a way only Victorian stories can be. It is a short story, but an intense one. It did not take me long to read this story but it stayed in my head long after I finished, leaving me with a vague sense of unease and dread for the remainder of the night. I will be keeping this book in my collection and I recommend that horror fans read it if they can. ( )
  seldombites | Sep 15, 2013 |
Review from Badelynge
A Dr. Cathcart and his nephew Simpson go hunting for moose in the Canadian wilderness, accompanied by two Canadian guides and a native American cook.
On the surface this classic horror story by Algernon Blackwood revisits the sort of set-up that worked so well in The Willows. There are other similarities but they feel quite different; the other worldly eeriness of the Willows is quite different than the overall tone in The Wendigo. The first half of The Wendigo is very powerful, with the characters having their differing world views challenged by the perilous vastness of the natural world. The focus at this stage is more on Simpson as he sets out with Defago, one of the guides, to explore 50 Island Water in search of those elusive moose. These are the most powerful scenes as he contemplates the wild space about him and Defago starts to be broken down by his own superstitious knowledge. Blackwood characterises Simpson as being a 'student of divinity' counterpointing Cathcart's rationalistic adherence to science and the bulwarks of civilisation. Blackwood also describes one of the guides as being 'nearest primitive conditions' by which I believe he means that he (Hank) is the most in-tune with nature. It's a challenging and atmospheric read that pitches human instinct against rationalism, superstition against science and the awe of nature against the human social constructs of civilisation. The weakest part of the story is The Wendigo itself or more accurately Blackwood's choice to focus so strongly on one of the more absurd elements of the legend. I'm talking about the flaming feet. It's still a great story full of Blackwood's beautiful contemplative descriptive prose. It's not quite in the same weird horror league as The Willows but then again, what is. ( )
1 vote Finxy | Apr 19, 2011 |
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This is meant to be Algernon Blackwood's short story "The Wendigo". Please don't combine with any collections sharing the title.
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Algernon Blackwood's "The Wendigo" tells the story of a camping trip in the Canadian wilderness that goes horribly wrong when the hunters become the hunted. Drawing on the mythical creature known as the Wendigo, this story is regarded by many critics to be one of the best horror tales of all time.… (more)

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