American Fantastic Tales by Peter Straub
Terror and the Uncanny from Poe tothe Pulps (Library of America)

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Synopsis

From early on, American literature has teemed with tales of horror, of hauntings, of terrifying obsessions and gruesome incursions, of the uncanny ways in which ordinary reality can be breached and subverted by the unknown and the irrational. As this pathbreaking two-volume anthology demonstrates, it is a tradition with many unexpected detours and hidden chambers, and one that continues to evolve, finding new forms and new themes as it explores the bad dreams that lurk around the edges-if not in the unacknowledged heart--of the everyday. Peter Straub, one of today's masters of horror and fantasy, offers an authoritative and diverse gathering of stories calculated to unsettle and delight.
This first volume surveys a century and a half of American fantastic storytelling, revealing in its 44 stories an array of recurring themes: trance states, sleepwalking, mesmerism, obsession, possession, madness, exotic curses, evil atmospheres. In the tales of Irving, Poe, and Hawthorne, the bright prospects of the New World face an uneasy reckoning with the forces of darkness. In the ghost-haunted Victorian and Edwardian eras, writers including Henry James, Edith Wharton, Mary Wilkins Freeman, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Ambrose Bierce explore ever more refined varieties of spectral invasion and disintegrating selfhood.
In the twentieth century, with the arrival of the era of the pulps, the fantastic took on more monstrous and horrific forms at the hands of H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Robert Bloch, and other classic contributors to Weird Tales. Here are works by acknowledged masters such as Stephen Crane, Willa Cather, Conrad Aiken, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, along with surprising discoveries like Ralph Adams Cram's "The Dead Valley," Emma Francis Dawson's "An Itinerant House," and Julian Hawthorne's "Absolute Evil." American Fantastic Tales offers an unforgettable ride through strange and visionary realms.

"A stupendous, spellbinding reading experience waiting to be had." -Jonathan Lethem
 

About Peter Straub

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Peter Straub is one of America's foremost authors of supernatural and suspense fiction. He is the New York Times bestselling author of a dozen novels, including the horror classic Ghost Story and The Talisman, which he cowrote with Stephen King. His latest novel, Black House—also written with King—is a #1 New York Times bestseller. A past president of the Horror Writers of America and multiple award winner, he lives in New York City.
 
Published October 1, 2009 by Library of America. 750 pages
Genres: Horror, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for American Fantastic Tales

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Vast two-volume anthology of horror and supernatural fiction, precisely divided along lines drawn by the modern American experience.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of American Fantastic Tales:Terr...

BC Books

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Brown’s wife is named Faith and she goes missing but it could just as easily have been his own faith since the story wonders “had Goodman Brown fallen asleep in the forest and only dreamed a wild dream of a witch-meeting?” Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s ”The Yellow Wall Paper” is an engaging piece t...

Oct 28 2009 | Read Full Review of American Fantastic Tales:Terr...

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