The supernatural in modern English fiction

The supernatural in modern English fiction

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by Dorothy Scarborough

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First published in 1917, book reissued by Lethe Press in 2001.  See more details below


First published in 1917, book reissued by Lethe Press in 2001.

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New York, G.P. Putnam
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CHAPTER II Later Influences THE Gothic period marked a. change in the vehicle of supernaturalism. In ancient times the ghostly had been expressed in the epic or the drama, in medievalism in the romances, metrical and prose, as in Elizabethan literature the drama was the specific form. But Gothicism brought it over frankly into the nove], which was a new thing. That is noteworthy, since super- naturalism seems more closely related to poetry than to prose; and as the early dramas were for the most part poetic, it did not require such a stretch of the imagination to give credence to the unearthly. The ballad, the epic, the drama, had made the ghostly seem credible. But prose fiction is so much more materialistic that at first thought supernaturalism seems antagonistic to it. That this is not really the case is evidenced from the fact that fiction since the terror times has retained the elements of awe then introduced, has developed, and has greatly added to them. With the dying out of the genre definitely known as the Gothic novel and the turning of Romanticism into various new channels, we might expect to see the disappearance of the ghostly element, since it had been overworked in terrorism. It is true that the prevailing type of fiction for the succeeding period was realism, but with a large admixture of the supernormal or supernatural. The supernatural machinery had become so well established in prose fiction that even realists were moved by it, some using the motifs with bantering apology—even Dickens and Thackeray, some with rationalistic explanation, but practically all using it. Man must and will have the supernatural in his fiction. The very elements that one mightsuppose would counteract it,—modern thought, invention, science,—serve as feeders to its force. In the i...

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The Supernatural In Modern English Fiction 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I happened upon this book because so many other studies of fantasy fiction list Scarborough's work in their bibliographies. Supernatural in Modern English Fiction is a much-needed and enjoyed addition to my library.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While this is an old book, the author did a great job covering some classic works of horror and dark fantasy. She lists lots of titles and teases you with some great storylines. Many of the stories and novels she mentions I had never heard of before, so I ended up writing down a list to buy later on. A definite must-buy if you like old scary stories.