- Series: Penguin Classics
- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; 1st Ed. edition (September 27, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0143105590
- ISBN-13: 978-0143105596
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 21 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The White People and Other Weird Stories (Penguin Classics) Paperback – September 27, 2011
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"The pleasure of rediscovering these stories or experiencing them for the first time is sure to be amplified by the insightful foreword by filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) and the excellent introduction by S. T. Joshi." — Craig Smith
"As a selection of 'weird' short stories, The White People is a fine example of the precursor to what has become a popular subgenre of fantasy fiction, as well as a window on to the spiritual concerns of the Welsh author Arthur Machen (1863-1947): the veil separating the phenomenal world and the supernal realm is thin. While we may have forgotten the rituals, spells, charms and wards once used to commune with the spirits, the spirits have not forgotten us."— Times Literary Supplement
About the Author
Arthur Machen (Arthur Llewelyn Jones), a Welsh author of supernatural, fantasy, and horror fiction, was born on March 3, 1863. He grew up in Caerleon, Monmouthshire, and attended boarding school at Hereford Cathedral School. He moved to London in 1881 and worked as a journalist, children's tutor, and publisher's clerk, finding time to write at night. By 1894, Machen had his first major success. The Great God Pan was published by John Lane, and despite widespread criticism for its sexual and horrific content, it sold well and went into a second edition. In the 1920s Machen's work became immensely popular in the United States, but Machen experienced increasing poverty; he was saved in 1931 by receiving a Civil List pension from the British government. Arthur Machen died on March 30, 1947.
S. T. Joshi (b. 1958) is the author of such critical studies as The Modern Weird Tale (2001). His exhaustive biography, H. P. Lovecraft: A Life (1996), won the British Fantasy Award and the Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association.
Guillermo del Toro (b. 1964) is a Mexican director, producer, screenwriter, novelist and designer. He is most recognized for his Academy Award-winning films, Pan's Labyrinth and the Hellboy film franchise. He is an avid fan of weird fiction and fantasy writing and the genres heavily inspire his movies.
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Top customer reviews
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It's not for everyone.
especially if you aremore accustomed to the popular fiction today.
It's ironic, somewhat misleading, as in the theme is not quite what the reader is led to believe.
Two of the tales in this collection are very long ("A Fragment Of Life" and "The Terror") are both over 80 pages long, while "The Bowmen", "The Soldiers' Rest" and "Out Of The Earth" are all less than 10 pages long; the remaining tales are about 30 pages long.
I had a thought that Machen's writing would be quite horrific and gory, but found it to be hardly that at all. "The Inmost Light", which opens the collection, is the most similar to a HP Lovecraft story, in that it demonstrates the trap a scholar can fall into if his thirst for knowledge takes him where he should not tread; it is also a fascinating tale of near-Dickensian social horror. "Novel Of The Black Seal" is also a fascinating tale of eldritch magic, as Machen often wrote about the mysteries of the wilderness and the hidden society of godless elves and the beasts of nature. "Novel Of The White Powder" is a freakish tale of accidental horror, while "The Red Hand" is a supernatural detective tale in the vein of Edgar Allen Poe (and maybe Jorge Luis Borges).
The title story mystified me somewhat - less about any race of magic people than it is the pleasant rambling of a child discovering the magic of the forests. The concept is developed in a more concrete way in "A Fragment Of Life", which tells the tale of a young married couple as they feel the pull of hidden worlds, and also have these hidden worlds thrust into their lives through various circumstances; it also deals heavily with mundane daily matters, and rambles on pleasantly before it runs out of steam near the end. Ordinarily, an aimless tale like this would irritate me, but I somehow found it a wonderful read. "The Terror" is somewhat more concrete, talking about the investigation of mysterious deaths in rural Wales, set during wartime when media censorship is in place and all mysteries become even more mysterious. It has a massive body count, but there's little horror as each death is described posthumously.
Filling in the gaps are three short non-fiction prose pieces. "The Bowmen" is a fantasy tale of a battle in World War I, "The Soldiers' Rest" is an interesting tale of awakenings, while "Out Of The Earth" deals with the miracle of the Holy Grail.
Each tale also comes with explanatory notes, gathered at the end, to make sense of literary and biblical references, to place current events into context, or to explain local geography.
A fantastic collection lovingly presented! Check out Arthur Machen!!