Customer Reviews for

Best Ghost Stories of Algernon Blackwood

Average Rating 3.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2000

    A few thoughts on Algernon Blackwood :

    Algernon Blackwood (1869-1951) was a fascinating writer. Although he wrote in other forms-- children stories and an autobiography, for example-- it is for his horror/supernatural stories that he is best remembered. His The Willows (included in this anthology) is often singled out as the best English-language supernatural story. Blackwood lived for periods in the US and Canada, but wrote mostly in his birthplace, England. His writing career spanned about 1905-1945, with peak productivity around 1910. Taking 1910 as a benchmark, Blackwood's writing falls about halfway between the pioneers of the horror/supernatural genre (Mary Shelley, John Polidori, et al) and the present. Because of his extended writing career, his earlier and later works have a noticeably different 'feel', the later works having a simpler, more modern style. He left no stylistic direct descendant, though Lovecraft is often mentioned. If there is one theme connecting Blackwood's supernatural writings it is the Platonic idea that 'ordinary' reality is but a façade, behind which lie other realities, awesome, but inaccessible. Of course many religions share this premise. But whereas their 'other reality' is vastly superior to the one we know, in Blackwood it is grimmer and darker. Blackwood serves up this idea in several flavors: 1) alien creatures from another dimension (The Willows), 2) elementals or animistic spirits (Glamour of the Snow, The Transfer, Ancient Lights), 3) devil-worshiping monks (Secret Worship), 4) people and entire towns with secret lives (Ancient Sorceries), 5) conventional ghost stories (The Empty House, The Other Wing, Keeping His Promise), 6) Jekyll/Hyde duality (Max Hensig). A few stories, such as The Wendigo, are hard to characterize, seemingly falling into several categories. To what extent must a writer actually believe his/her ideas to be effective? Specifically, does a ghost-story writer need to believe in ghosts? Not consciously perhaps, but on some level almost certainly. Apropos of this, much has been made of Blackwood's Sandermanian background. An extreme Calvanistic sect, the Sandermanians placed great emphasis on sin and perdition. In adult life Blackwood seemingly rejected these teachings, and turned to other religions. But can highly emotional concepts, acquired early in childhood, ever truly be purged? Perhaps not. Certainly, one may loosen their ties with the persona, and hence diminish their influence on daily life. The kernel (of the ideas) however largely remains intact, and constantly strives to form new meaningful connections. This ceaseless search for connectivity might explain Blackwood¿s creativity. It might also explain some inconsistencies in Blackwood¿s works: the effectiveness of his masterpiece, The Willows, lies in its premise of an intelligence vastly powerful, yet so utterly alien 'it has nothing to do with us.' Lacking an avenue of appeal, when confronted by such an intelligence we are reduced to insignificance, helplessness, and finally utter terror. Yet, toward the end of the story, this alien intelligence is seemingly 'propitiated' by a human 'sacrifice.' Why so? If human lives are nothing to it, why not 10,000 victims - or none at all? It seems that Old Testament ideas of sacrifices and burnt-offerings are intruding here. (Incidentally, the idea of totally alien intelligence also occurs in the cult classic, Killer Clowns from Outer Space.) Does this anthology really contain all the best ghost stories of Blackwood? Yes, by and large, it does! However, Blackwood was quite prolific, so it would be easy to compile a second anthology very nearly as good as this one. (Perhaps Dover can be convinced of the merits of this.) Two personal favorites that I would include in such a collection are, The Strange Adventures of a Private Secretary in New York, a kind of werewolf story in which the lycanthropy appears to be induced by chemical experiments - and The Doll, quite possibly the inspirat

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2003

    just plain scary

    Didn't like all of the stories, but a few of them scared the daylights out of me...I suggest reading them when you can't sleep

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1