The Willows

The Willows

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by Algernon Blackwood
     
 

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The Willows

Algernon Blackwood

WEIRD FICTION

"The Willows" is a novella by English author Algernon Blackwood, originally published as part of his 1907 collection The Listener and Other Stories. It is one of Blackwood's best known works and has been influential on a number of later writers. Horror author H.P. Lovecraft considered it to be the

Overview

The Willows

Algernon Blackwood

WEIRD FICTION

"The Willows" is a novella by English author Algernon Blackwood, originally published as part of his 1907 collection The Listener and Other Stories. It is one of Blackwood's best known works and has been influential on a number of later writers. Horror author H.P. Lovecraft considered it to be the finest supernatural tale in English literature. "The Willows" is an example of early modern horror and is connected within the literary tradition of weird fiction.

Two friends are midway on a canoe trip down the Danube River. Throughout the story Blackwood personifies the surrounding environment—river, sun, wind—and imbues them with a powerful and ultimately threatening character. Most ominous are the masses of dense, desultory, menacing willows, which "moved of their own will as though alive, and they touched, by some incalculable method, my own keen sense of the horrible." Just after managing to land their canoe for the evening on the shifting, sandy islands just downstream across the Austria/Hungary frontier, the main character reflects on the river's potency, human qualities and will:

Sleepy at first, but later developing violent desires as it became conscious of its deep soul, it rolled, like some huge fluid being, through all the countries we had passed, holding our little craft on its mighty shoulders, playing roughly with us sometimes, yet always friendly and well-meaning, till at length we had come inevitably to regard it as a Great Personage.

Blackwood also specifically characterizes the silvery, windblown willows as sinister:

And, apart quite from the elements, the willows connected themselves subtly with my malaise, attacking the mind insidiously somehow by reason of their vast numbers, and contriving in some way or other to represent to the imagination a new and mighty power, a power, moreover, not altogether friendly to us.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781592246205
Publisher:
Wildside Press
Publication date:
03/01/2005
Series:
Wildside Fantasy Classics
Pages:
92
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.22(d)

Meet the Author

Algernon Henry Blackwood (1869 - 1951) was an English short story writer and novelist, one of the most prolific writers of ghost stories in the history of the genre.

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Willows 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lovecraft recommends this story as the greatest Weird Tale ever told. While I believe Lovecraft himself is the king of the Weird Tale, readers will not be disappointed by The Willows. I can't wait to read more Algernon Blackwood stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great work of weird fiction, and a big influence on H.P. Lovecraft. A horror classic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago