Bibliographical Essay - Volume 2: The Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries

Unutterable Horror - A History of Supernatural Fiction - S. T. Joshi 2014

Bibliographical Essay
Volume 2: The Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries

A number of the books I cited in the bibliographical essay in the first volume of this study are of relevance to the authors and works discussed here, so I shall not repeat the citations here. I can add some other general studies of twentieth- and twenty-first-century supernatural fiction, such as Mark Jancovich’s Rational Fears: American Horror in the 1950s (Manchester University Press, 1996). Allan Lloyd-Smith’s American Gothic Fiction: An Introduction (Continuum, 2004) is a disappointingly brief and superficial survey; even worse is Gothic Horror: A Reader’s Guide from Poe to King and Beyond, edited by Clive Bloom (St. Martin’s Press, 1998). The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction, edited by Jerrold E. Hogle (Cambridge University Press, 2002), is ponderously academic but of occasional use, as is The Routledge Companion to Gothic, edited by Catherine Spooner and Emma McEvoy (Routledge, 2007).

The four “titans” of the early twentieth century, Arthur Machen, Lord Dunsany, Algernon Blackwood, and M. R. James, have still not received the critical attention they deserve. My Penguin Classics editions of Machen (The White People and Other Weird Stories, 2011), Dunsany (In the Land of Time and Other Fantasy Tales, 2004), Blackwood (Ancient Sorceries and Other Weird Stories, 2002), and James (Count Magnus and Other Ghost Stories, 2005) provide information on secondary sources.

H. P. Lovecraft, on the other hand, has been discussed more exhaustively than any writer in the field, including Poe. My H. P. Lovecraft: A Comprehensive Bibliography (University of Tampa Press, 2009) supplies a wealth of citations of books, articles, and other works on Lovecraft.

Writers of the mid-twentieth century are also somewhat underdiscussed, although Ray Bradbury has been perspicaciously treated in Jonathan R. Eller and William Touponce’s Ray Bradbury: The Life of Fiction (Kent State University Press, 2004) and in Eller’s Becoming Ray Bradbury (University of Illinois Press, 2011), the first of a two-volume set. Shirley Jackson is finally receiving some attention, as witness Judy Oppenheimer’s biography (Putnam, 1988), Joan Wylie Hall’s Shirley Jackson: A Study of the Short Fiction (Twayne, 1993), and Darryl Hattenhauer’s Shirley Jackson’s American Gothic (State University of New York Press, 2003). Rod Serling has been the subject of two biographies, by Joel Engel (Contemporary Books, 1986) and Gordon F. Sander (Dutton, 1992). See also Marc Scott Zicree’s The Twilight Zone Companion (Silman-James Press, 1992).

Robert Aickman is criminally underappreciated, but Gary William Crawford’s Robert Aickman: An Introduction (Gothic Press, 2003) and Philip Challinor’s Akin to Poetry: Observations on Some Strange Tales of Robert Aickman (Gothic Press, 2010) offer numerous insights.

Books on Stephen King abound, but few are of any value. Two Twayne volumes, by Joseph Reino (1988) and Tony Magistrale (1992), are no more than adequate. The same can be said for Bette B. Roberts’s book on Anne Rice (Twayne, 1994). Douglas E. Winter’s Clive Barker: The Dark Fantastic (HarperCollins, 2001) is an interesting treatment of that author, as is Bill Sheehan’s At the Foot of the Story Tree (Subterranean Press, 2000), a study of Peter Straub.

My own Ramsey Campbell and Modern Horror Fiction (Liverpool University Press, 2001) covers Campbell’s fiction up to about the year 2000. The Thomas Ligotti Reader, edited by Darrell Schweitzer (Wildside Press, 2003) is an excellent compilation.