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Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural: A Treasury of Spellbinding Tales Old and New Hardcover – May 1, 1985


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Marvin Kaye, award-winning author and anthologist, has compiled several collections of fantasy fiction, and has written many acclaimed fantasy novels. He is an associate professor of creative writing at New York University and the artistic director of the Open Book theatre company in New York. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 623 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (May 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385185499
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385185493
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.2 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By mellion108 VINE VOICE on May 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is an absolute treasure! Stoker, Lovecraft, Poe, Shelley, Asimov, Bierce, Tolkien are all here. You'll also find Richard Matheson, Tanith Lee, Sheridan LeFanu, Orson Scott Card (with one of the most disturbing, chilling tales I've ever read), Ogden Nash, Tennessee Williams, Jack London, Walt Whitman (is this high-school english class! ), Robert Bloch and more. Each selection comes with a little background note providing some info about the author, history about that particular story and recommendations for other related readings. This collection is fantastic; it doesn't disappoint. English class would have been infinitely more interesting with this kind of reading!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By S. Sroczynski on June 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The words I am about to write will not do justice to this anthology. If you are a fan of horror short stories, get this before you get anything else. None of the stories are bad, and many are terrfying and unforgettable. Theodore Sturgeon's "The Professor's Teddy Bear" is unique, grotesque, and it will stick with you for months. "His Unconquerable Enemy" has a gripping climax that will amaze you. "The Bottle Imp" is a grand tale of treachery, pain, and sacrifice. "Hop-Frog" is a Poe selection that is every bit as brilliant as his more famous works, and in traditional Poe fashion it is a tale of revenge. I could go on about every story in here but instead I will just very strongly recommend this to all fans of horror literature.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By K. Hill VINE VOICE on March 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Masterpieces" is correct. This book is hard to put down. Usually when reading a collection gathered on a mutual theme, the mind of the reader eventually numbs from the sameness of the stories. Not so with this anthology. Each story is unique, unpredictable, and well written. I enjoyed it greatly. I give it the highest praise possible here--5 stars.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Corey Cook on April 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I picked this book up at the thrift store for about thirty-five cents, expecting the usual collection of stories that I have probably read countless times before in other anthologies.While it did have the requisite Poe and Lovecraft, I was pleasantly surprised by the offbeat and rare pieces of work this book offered. Some standouts include "Graveyard Shift" by Richard Matheson (immeasurably better than the King story of the same name, "The Night Wire" by H.F. Arnold, and Orson Scott Card's "Eumenides In The Fourth Floor Lavatory". The roster also includes such authors as Dylan Thomas, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Theodore Sturgeon. All in all, a good collection with more than a few surprises.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Reader in Tokyo on March 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was published in 1985. It contained 53 works by as many writers. There were 47 short stories and 6 poems.

The editor said his basis for selection was stories that gave his jaded spine a chill. He tried to focus on the psychology of terror, the "cosmic fear of the unknown," rather than the gory and repugnant; on stories with an "icy insight into human nature," rather than blood. He avoided any tale that had been anthologized too often.

The pieces ranged from the 1770s to the 1980s, covering virtually every decade. Two-thirds of the works were from the 20th century. More than half of the writers were from the United States, with the rest from Great Britain, Ireland, Russia, France and Germany. The earliest writers included both those well known (Goethe, Mary Shelley, Hawthorne, Poe, Tennyson, Turgenev, Whitman), and lesser known (Bürger, Tieck, Courtois, Hearn).

From the 20th and late 19th centuries, there were contributions by prominent writers who wrote often on terror or the macabre (LeFanu, Bierce, Stoker, Maupassant, Stevenson, Saki, Crane, London, Lovecraft, Bloch, Sturgeon, Highsmith, Matheson) and prominent ones who didn't (Andreyev, Runyon, Tolkien, Ogden Nash, I. B. Singer, Tennessee Williams, Dylan Thomas, Asimov); most of the tales from the latter were hardly spine-chilling. Lesser-known writers for this period included W. C. Morrow, Ralph Adams Cram, Abraham Merritt, H. F. Arnold, John Dickson Carr, Jack Snow, Stanley Ellin, Ray Russell and Parke Godwin from the United States, A. M. Burrage and Robert Aickman from England, and Anatole Le Braz and Maurice Level from France.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Lovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on May 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The stories in "Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural" were selected by Fantasy/SF author, Marvin Kay, and are quite a unique, well-chosen mixture, although monsters such as gigantic snails and teddy-bears-gone-wrong dominate the first section of the book, which is titled "Fiends and Creatures." Robert Louis Stevenson's Bottle Imp makes a horrific showing, as do a couple of dragons, the Devil, and the Erl-King.

"Lovers and Other Monsters" is next, and as might be expected is over-run by vampires, including Sheridan LeFanu's "Carmilla."

"Acts of God and Other Horrors" is part science fiction/adventure ("The Pool of the Stone God" by A. Merritt), some literature (Dylan Thomas and Leonid Andreyev), and even a poem by Ogden Nash ("A Tale of the Thirteenth Floor").

Section IV, "The Beast Within" is introduced as showcasing two kinds of horror: "man's inhumanity to his own species and--perhaps even more dreadful--the power of the human mind to create a tailor-made Hell for its 'owner.'" Quite a few 19th Century American authors show up here, including Walt Whitman, Jack London, Stephen Crane, and (of course) Ambrose Bierce.

The final section "Ghosts and Miscellaneous Nightmares" has stories you might not have seen in other supernatural story collections, including Robert Aickman's "The Hospice" and Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Christmas Banquet."

Here is a sampling of my favorites:

"A Tale of the Thirteenth Floor" by Ogden Nash--This is a vigorous poem with a strong moral, something it might be fun to memorize, rather like Robert Service's "The Shooting of Dan McGrew." It starts "The hands of the clock were reaching high/In a old midtown hotel;/ I name no name, but its sordid fame/ Is table talk in Hell...
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