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The Dark Descent (1987)

by David G. Hartwell (Editor)

Other authors: Robert Aickman (Contributor), Clive Barker (Contributor), Ambrose Bierce (Contributor), Michael Bishop (Contributor), Algernon Blackwood (Contributor)42 more, Robert Bloch (Contributor), Ray Bradbury (Contributor), Ramsey Campbell (Contributor), Robert William Chambers (Contributor), Lucy Lane Clifford (Contributor), John Collier (Contributor), Walter de la Mare (Contributor), Philip K. Dick (Contributor), Charles Dickens (Contributor), Thomas M. Disch (Contributor), Harlan Ellison (Contributor), Dennis Etchison (Contributor), William Faulkner (Contributor), Charlotte Perkins Gilman (Contributor), Charles L. Grant (Contributor), Nathaniel Hawthorne (Contributor), Robert Hichens (Contributor), Shirley Jackson (Contributor), Henry James (Contributor), M. R. James (Contributor), Stephen King (Contributor), Russell Kirk (Contributor), D. H. Lawrence (Contributor), Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (Contributor), Tanith Lee (Contributor), Fritz Leiber (Contributor), H. P. Lovecraft (Contributor), Richard Matheson (Contributor), E. Nesbit (Contributor), Fitz-James O'Brien (Contributor), Flannery O'Connor (Contributor), Joyce Carol Oates (Contributor), Oliver Onions (Contributor), Edgar Allan Poe (Contributor), Joanna Russ (Contributor), Michael Shea (Contributor), Theodore Sturgeon (Contributor), Ivan Turgenev (Contributor), Karl Edward Wagner (Contributor), Manly Wade Wellman (Contributor), Edith Wharton (Contributor), Gene Wolfe (Contributor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Dark Descent (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7061330,988 (4.2)57
A comprehensive presentation of the evolution of the horror story, filled with significant and powerful works by the masters of the genre.

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» See also 57 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
An amazing anthology of stories that not only represent the best of horror fiction but document the - "descent" - of such fiction over more two centuries. The stories are divided into three streams: moral, psychological, and fantastic. Included are the familiar and the unfamiliar (at least to this reader) from some of the greatest authors writing in any genre to the great specialists in the field of horror fiction. This is a collection to be relished and referred to when the desire to be terrified takes your fancy. ( )
  jwhenderson | Mar 23, 2022 |
pt. I. The color of evil. The reach / Stephen King --
Evening primrose / John Collier --
The ash-tree / M.R. James --
The new mother / Lucy Clifford --
There's a long, long trail a-winding / Russell Kirk --
The call of Cthulhu / H.P. Lovecraft --
The summer people / Shirley Jackson --
The whimper of whipped dogs / Harlan Ellison --
Young Goodman Brown / Nathaniel Hawthorne --
Mr. Justice Harbottle / J. Sheridan Le Fanu --
The crowd / Ray Bradbury --
The autopsy / Michael Shea --
John Charrington's wedding / E. Nesbit --
Sticks / Karl Edward Wagner --
Larger than oneself / Robert Aickman --
Belsen express / Fritz Leiber --
Yours truly, Jack the Ripper / Robert Bloch --
If Damon comes / Charles L. Grant --
Vandy, Vandy / Manly Wade Wellman. pt. II. The Medusa in the shield. The swords / Robert Aickman --
The roaches / Thomas M. Disch --
Bright segment / Theodore Sturgeon --
Dread / Clive Barker --
The fall of the house of Usher / Edgar Allan Poe --
The monkey / Stephen King --
Within the walls of Tyre / Michael Bishop --
The rats in the walls / H.P. Lovecraft --
Schalken the painter / J. Sheridan Le Fanu --
The yellow wallpaper / Charlotte Perkins Gilman --
A rose for Emily / William Faulkner --
How love came to Professor Guildea / Robert Hichens --
Born of man and woman / Richard Matheson --
My dear Emily / Joanna Russ --
You can go now / Dennis Etchison --
The rocking-horse winner / D.H. Lawrence --
Three days / Tanith Lee --
Good country people / Flannery O'Connor --
Mackintosh Willy / Ramsey Campbell --
The jolly corner / Henry James. pt. III. A fabulous formless darkness. Smoke ghost / Fritz Leiber --
Seven American nights / Gene Wolfe --
The signal-man / Charles Dickens --
Crouch End / Stephen King --
Night-side / Joyce Carol Oates --
Seaton's aunt / Walter de la Mare --
Clara Militch / Ivan Turgenev --
The repairer of reputations / Robert W. Chambers --
The beckoning fair one / Oliver Onions --
What was it? / Fitz-James O'Brien --
The beautiful stranger / Shirley Jackson --
The damned thing / Ambrose Bierce --
Afterward / Edith Wharton --
The willows / Algernon Blackwood --
The Asian shore / Thomas M. Disch --
The hospice / Robert Aickman --
A little something for us tempunauts / Philip K. Dick.
  Lemeritus | Nov 18, 2021 |
A decent collection of mostly (apart from Le Fanu) twentieth-century dark fiction. My favorites by far were "Sticks" by Karl Edward Wagner, about a fisherman who stumbles upon an ancient ritual site festooned with unsettling stick figures; and "The Whimper of Whipped Dogs," which suggests a modern god of urban violence and the madness of the crowded, and which many years ago was my introduction to the work of Harlan Ellison. ( )
  chaosfox | Feb 22, 2019 |
This is quite a collection! A veritable "murder's row" of great horror authors! And, as a big fan of Stephen King, three from him, including the Lovecraftian "Crouch End", which is not one of my faves. But, beware! Not only is this a scary group of tales, it's one heck of a heavy volume to boot! Read and workout at the same time! ( )
1 vote Stahl-Ricco | May 8, 2016 |
A must have for lovers of horror. ( )
1 vote dgmillo | Jun 2, 2013 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hartwell, David G.Editorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aickman, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barker, CliveContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bierce, AmbroseContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bishop, MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blackwood, AlgernonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bloch, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bradbury, RayContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Campbell, RamseyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chambers, Robert WilliamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Clifford, Lucy LaneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Collier, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
de la Mare, WalterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dick, Philip K.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dickens, CharlesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Disch, Thomas M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ellison, HarlanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Etchison, DennisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Faulkner, WilliamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gilman, Charlotte PerkinsContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Grant, Charles L.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hawthorne, NathanielContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hichens, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jackson, ShirleyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
James, HenryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
James, M. R.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
King, StephenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kirk, RussellContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lawrence, D. H.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Le Fanu, Joseph SheridanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lee, TanithContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Leiber, FritzContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lovecraft, H. P.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Matheson, RichardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nesbit, E.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
O'Brien, Fitz-JamesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
O'Connor, FlanneryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Oates, Joyce CarolContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Onions, OliverContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Poe, Edgar AllanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Russ, JoannaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shea, MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sturgeon, TheodoreContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Turgenev, IvanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wagner, Karl EdwardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wellman, Manly WadeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wharton, EdithContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wolfe, GeneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fornuff, DougCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, IanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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To taste the full flavor of these stories you must bring an orderly mind to them, you must have a reasonable amount of confidence, if not in what used to be called the laws of nature, at least in the currently suspected habits of nature...To the truly superstitious the "weird" has only its Scotch meaning: "Something which actually takes place."  --Dashiell Hammett, Creeps by Night
The appeal of the spectrally macabre is generally narrow because it demands from the reader a certain degree of imagination and a capacity for detachment from everyday life.  Relatively few are free enough from the spell of daily routine to respond.... --H.P. Lovecraft, Supernatural Horror in Literature
To Tom Doherty and Harriet P. McDougal and the Tor books Horror imprint, and especially Melissa ann singer, editor, for support and patience.
To Kathryn Cramer and Peter D. Pautz for their hard work and enthusiasm, as well as provocative discussion.
To Patricia W. Hartwell for letting the books pile up and the piles of paper fall over throughout the house and still loving me.
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Introduction: On a July Sunday morning, I was moderating a panel discussion at Necon, a small New England convention devoted to dark fantasy.
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A comprehensive presentation of the evolution of the horror story, filled with significant and powerful works by the masters of the genre.

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