"AN INCOHERENT NIGHTMARE OF SEX…” That was The Westminster Gazette's description of Arthur Machen's first book, THE GREAT GOD PAN, upon its publication in 1894. An unwittingly enticing description for one of the greatest ever works of weird horror and decadence, in which Machen unfurls with his singular eye for the bizarre and macabre the tale of a young girl cursed by her unnatural parentage to become a creature of shape-shifting, polysexual, demi-human evil.
First published in the 1896 short story collection Stones In The Fire, M P Shiel's XELUCHA is the most grotesque entry from that collection, a deliberate and delirious evocation of the sepulchral horrors of Poe.
This new double edition of THE GREAT GOD PAN and XELUCHA, two key works of British decadent horror, includes a set of rare automatic drawings by the occult artist Austin Osman Spare, and a short introduction to Machen by the author H P Lovecraft who also provides two back cover quotes.
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.40(d)|
About the Author
Arthur Machen (3 March 1863 - 15 December 1947) was a Welsh author and mystic of the 1890s and early 20th century. He is best known for his influential supernatural, fantasy, and horror fiction. His novella The Great God Pan (1890; 1894) has garnered a reputation as a classic of horror. (Stephen King called it "Maybe the best [horror story] in the English language".)
Matthew Phipps Shiel (21 July 1865 - 17 February 1947) was a prolific British writer of West Indian descent. He is remembered mostly for supernatural and scientific romances. His work was published as serials, novels, and as short stories. The Purple Cloud (1901; 1929) remains his most famous and often reprinted novel.
Read an Excerpt
FOREWORD BY H P LOVECRAFT
Of living creators of cosmic fear raised to its most artistic pitch, few if any can hope to equal the versatile Arthur Machen; author of some dozen tales long and short, in which the elements of hidden horror and brooding fright attain an almost incomparable substance and realistic acuteness. His powerful horror-material of the 'nineties and earlier nineteen-hundreds stands alone in its class, and marks a distinct epoch in the history of this literary form.
Mr. Machen, with an impressionable Celtic heritage linked to keen youthful memories of the wild domed hills, archaic forests, and cryptical Roman ruins of the Gwent countryside, has developed an imaginative life of rare beauty, intensity, and historic background. He has absorbed the mediaeval mystery of dark woods and ancient customs, and is a champion of the Middle Ages in all things - including the Catholic faith. He has yielded, likewise, to the spell of the Britanno-Roman life which once surged over his native region; and finds strange magic in the fortified camps, tessellated pavements, fragments of statues, and kindred things which tell of the day when classicism reigned and Latin was the language of the country.
Of Mr. Machen's horror-tales the most famous is perhaps The Great God Pan (1894), which tells of a singular and terrible experiment and its consequences. A young woman, through surgery of the brain-cells, is made to see the vast and monstrous deity of Nature, and becomes an idiot in consequence, dying less than a year later. Years afterward a strange, ominous, and foreign-looking child named Helen Vaughan is placed to board with a family in rural Wales, and haunts the woods in unaccountable fashion. A little boy is thrown out of his mind at sight of someone or something he spies with her, and a young girl comes to a terrible end in similar fashion. All this mystery is strangely interwoven with the Roman rural deities of the place, as sculptured in antique fragments. After another lapse of years, a woman of strangely exotic beauty appears in society, drives her husband to horror and death, causes an artist to paint unthinkable paintings of Witches' Sabbaths, creates an epidemic of suicide among the men of her acquaintance, and is finally discovered to be a frequenter of the lowest dens of vice in London, where even the most callous degenerates are shocked at her enormities. .....