If you were looking for the Holy Bible of the horror anthologies, consider yourself lucky, because you just found it! Cosmic horror, supernatural events, ghost stories, weird fiction, mystical fantasies, occult narratives, this book plunges you into dark domains and brings you face to face with surreal monstrosities. This collection of the greatest mysterious dark tales gathers together more than 100 authors and more than 1000 short stories (!), which makes it truly unique in its kind. Be aware that this book includes a big amount of stories that appear for the first time in digital print.
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Herbert George "H. G." Wells (September 21, 1866-August 13, 1946) was an English author, best known for his work in the "speculative fiction" genre. He was also a prolific writer in many other genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics, and social commentary.
Wells is sometimes called "The Father of Science Fiction," along with Jules Verne. The War of the Worlds was written in the age of British colonialism, and Wells came up with the idea for the story while he and his brother were imagining what might happen if someone came to colonize England the way England had other countries.
Nikolai Gogol was a Russian writer and dramatist. He was born in the Ukraine in 1809.
Hector Hugh Munro (1870 1916) was a British author best known by his pen name Saki.
Although he wrote two novels and several political sketches most notably The Westminster Alice, a parody authorized by Carroll's publishers it is his large output of satirical short stories for which he is remembered, and is still considered one of the masters of the genre.
Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name, Mark Twain, was born on November 30, 1835, in the tiny village of Florida, Missouri.
Writing grand tales about Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and the mighty Mississippi River, Mark Twain explored the American soul with wit, buoyancy, and a sharp eye for truth. He became nothing less than a national treasure.
Lafcadio Hearn (1850–1904) was instrumental in introducing Western readers to Japanese culture and literature. Raised in Dublin and a longtime resident of the United States, the writer, translator, and teacher adopted Japanese citizenship and served as Professor of English Literature at the Imperial University of Tokyo.
Despite his great impact on the literary world, Franz Kafka was a relatively "unknown" author during his life-time. He published relatively few of his works, and those were published in very limited runs, or in small literary journals.
Franz Kafka born in Prague, July 3, 1883, the son of Hermann and Julie Kafka. The oldest, he had three suriving younger sisters. Valli, Elli, and Ottla. His father was a self-made middle class Jewish merchant, who raised his children in the hopes of assimilating them into the mainstream society of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The official ruling language of the empire was German, so Franz attended German grammar school (Volksschule am Fleischmarkt), and later the German Gymnasium (Altstädter Deutsches Gymnasium). He finished his Doctorate of Law in Prague, studying at the German language University (Die deutsche Universität) there. He initially gained employment at a private insurance firm Assicurazioni Generali and then with the Arbeiter-Unfall-Versicherungs-Anstalt für das Königreichs Böhmen in Prag
His Job at the Worker's Accident Insurance provided him with a steady income and "regular" office hours, so that he could dedicate his evenings to writing. His diaries contain continuing accounts of his restlessness and sleeplessness as he would work all night writing, only to return to the office for the next day of work, throughly exhausted. Although he spoke and wrote Czech fluently throughout his life, his literary work was all completed in German.
He is known to have started writing at an early age, but all of his earliest attempts were later destroyed. His first pulished work came in 1907, and he continued to publish throughout the next seventeen years, but most of his works were published posthumously by his friend Max Brod.
A veteran of the American Civil War who fought at Shiloh and Chickamauga in the Union ranks, Bierce became one of America's best-known writers and journalists, admired for his insolent, entertaining and sometimes courageous columns.
In 1913 he set off for Mexico, then in the throes of revolution, and was never seen again. Ralph Steadman is the author of many illustrated books including Sigmund Freud, I Leonardo, The Big I Am, The Scar-Strangled Banner, Alice and Animal Farm. His most recent publication is the novel, Doodaaa.
William Wymark Jacobs (1863 1943) was a prolific short-story writer.
Known for his trademark wit even in the horror story 'The Monkey's Paw', for which he is best known Jacobs set most of his stories in the docks of East London, where he lived from a young age, as well as in Essex, where he moved in his middle age.
Henry James was born in New York in 1843 and was educated in Europe and America. He left Harvard Law School in 1863, after a year's attendance, to concentrate on writing, and from 1869 he began to make prolonged visits to Europe, eventually settling in England in 1876.
His literary output was prodigious and of the highest quality: more than ten outstanding novels, including The Portrait of a Lady and The American; countless novellas and short stories; as well as innumerable essays, letters, and other pieces of critical prose. Known by contemporary fellow novelists as 'the Master', James died in Kensington, London, in 1916.
Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann (1776–1822) replaced his third name, Wilhelm, with Amadeus in homage to Mozart. A towering figure of German Romanticism, Hoffmann was a composer, music critic, theater director, draftsman, and caricaturist as well as a writer. Although his stories challenged readers to free their minds from the conventions of reality, Hoffmann accepted the practical constraints of everyday life, training as a lawyer and serving as a judge.
William Wilkie Collins was born in London in 1824, the son of a successful and popular painter. On leaving school, he worked in the office of a tea merchant in the Strand before reading law as a student at Lincoln's Inn. However his real passion was for writing and, in 1850, he published his first novel, Antonina.
In 1851, the same year that he was called to the bar, he met and established a lifelong friendship with Charles Dickens. While Collins' fame rests on his best known works, The Woman in White and The Moonstone, he wrote over thirty books, as well as numerous short stories, articles and plays. He was a hugely popular writer in his lifetime. An unconventional individual, he never married but established long-term liaisons with two separate partners. He died in 1889.
Walter Scott was born in Edinburgh on 15 August 1777. He was educated in Edinburgh and called to the bar in 1792, succeeding his father as Writer to the Signet, then Clerk of Session. He published anonymous translations of German Romantic poetry from 1797, in which year he also married. In 1805 he published his first major work, a romantic poem called The Lay of the Last Minstrel, became a partner in a printing business, and several other long poems followed, including Marmion (1808) and The Lady of the Lake (1810) . These poems found acclaim and great popularity, but from 1814 and the publication of Waverley , Scott turned almost exclusively to novel-writing, albeit anonymously.
A hugely prolific period of writing produced over twenty-five novels, including Rob Roy (1817), The Heart of Midlothian (1818), The Bride of Lammermoor (1819), Kenilworth (1821) and Redgauntlet (1824) . Already sheriff-depute of Selkirkshire, Scott was created a baronet in 1820. The printing business in which Scott was a partner ran into financial difficulties in 1826, and Scott devoted his energies to work in order to repay the firm’s creditors, publishing many more novels, dramatic works, histories and a life of Napoleon Bonaparte. Sir Walter Scott died on 21 September 1832 at Abbotsford, the home he had built on the Scottish Borders.
Walter Scott was born in Edinburgh in 1771, educated at the High School and University there and admitted to the Scottish Bar in 1792. From 1799 until his death he was Sheriff of Selkirkshire, and from 1806 to 1830 he held a well-paid office as a principal clerk to the Court of Session in Edinburgh, the supreme Scottish civil court. From 1805, too, Scott was secretly an investor in, and increasingly controller of, the printing and publishing businesses of his associates, the Ballantyne brothers.
Willa Cather was born in Virginia in 1873 and moved to Nebraska, with its wide open plains and immigrant farming communities, at the age of nine.
This landscape would deeply affect her later writing. She attended university and became a journalist and teacher in Pittsburgh, and then a magazine editor in New York.
Her first major novel, O Pioneers!, appeared in 1913, and was followed by two more in her prairie trilogy: The Song of the Lark and My Antonia. She lived with the editor Edith Lewis for thirty-nine years until her death in 1947.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935) championed women's rights in her prolific fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. In addition to writing books, she produced a magazine of essays, fiction, opinion pieces, and poetry that spoke to women's issues and social reform: seven volumes of The Forerunner were produced, running from 1909 to 1916.
Edith Nesbit was an English author and poet who was born in 1858.
As well as writing for children, she wrote poems, plays and was also a political activist and co-founded the Fabian Society.
Her most famous works are The Railway Children and Five Children and It.
Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts, where he wrote the bulk of his masterful tales of American colonial history.
His career as a novelist began with The Scarlet Letter (1850) and also includes The house of the Seven Gables, The Blithedale Romance, and The Marble Faun.
John Buchan was born in Perth. His father was a minister of the Free Church of Scotland; and in 1876 the family moved to Fife where in order to attend the local school the small boy had to walk six miles a day. Later they moved again to the Gorbals in Glasgow and John Buchan went to Hutchesons' Grammar School, Glasgow University (by which time he was already publishing articles in periodicals) and Brasenose College, Oxford.
His years at Oxford - 'spent peacefully in an enclave like a monastery' - nevertheless opened up yet more horizons and he published five books and many articles, won several awards including the Newdigate Prize for poetry and gained a First. His career was equally diverse and successful after university and, despite ill-health and continual pain from a duodenal ulcer, he played a prominent part in public life as a barrister and Member of Parliament, in addition to being a writer, soldier and publisher. In 1907 he married Susan Grosvenor, and the marriage was supremely happy. They had one daughter and three sons. He was created Baron Tweedsmuir of Elsfield in 1935 and became the fifteenth Governor-General of Canada, a position he held until his death in 1940. 'I don't think I remember anyone,' wrote G. M. Trevelyan to his widow, 'whose death evoked a more enviable outburst of sorrow, love and admiration.'
John Buchan's first success as an author came with Prester John in 1910, followed by a series of adventure thrillers, or 'shockers' as he called them, all characterized by their authentically rendered backgrounds, romantic characters, their atmosphere of expectancy and world-wide conspiracies, and the author's own enthusiasm. There are three main heroes: Richard Hannay, whose adventures are collected in The Complete Richard Hannay; Dickson McCunn, the Glaswegian provision merchant with the soul of a romantic, who features in Huntingtower, Castle Gay and The House of the Four Winds; and Sir Edward Leithen, the lawyer who tells the story of John MacNab and Sick Heart River, John Buchan's final novel. In addition, John Buchan established a reputation as an historical biographer with such works as Montrose, Oliver Cromwell and Augustus.
Montague Rhodes James was born on 1 August 1862 near Bury St Edmunds, though he spent long periods of his later life in Suffolk, which provided the setting for many of his ghost stories. He studied at Eton and Kings College, Cambridge, where he was eventually elected Fellow, and then made Provost in 1905. In 1918 he became Provost of Eton.
He was a renowed medievalist and biblical scholar, and published works on palaeography, antiquarianism, bibliography and history, guides to Suffolk and Norfolk, as well as editing a collection of ghost stories by Sheridan Le Fanu.
However, he remains best known for his own ghost stories, which were published in several collections including Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (1904), A Thin Ghost and Other Stories (1919), A Warning to the Curious (1925) and a collected edition in 1931. M. R. James never married and died on 12 June 1936.
Virginia Woolf was born in London in 1882. After her father's death in 1904 Virginia and her sister, the painter Vanessa Bell, moved to Bloomsbury and became the centre of ‘The Bloomsbury Group’. This informal collective of artists and writers exerted a powerful influence over early twentieth-century British culture.
In 1912 Virginia married Leonard Woolf, a writer and social reformer. Three years later, her first novel The Voyage Out was published, followed by Night and Day (1919) and Jacob's Room (1922). Between 1925 and 1931 Virginia Woolf produced what are now regarded as her finest masterpieces, from Mrs Dalloway (1925) to The Waves (1931).
She also maintained an astonishing output of literary criticism, short fiction, journalism and biography. On 28 March 1941, a few months before the publication of her final novel, Between the Acts, Virginia Woolf committed suicide.
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell was born in London in 1810. Her mother, Eliza, the niece of the potter Josiah Wedgwood, died when she was a child. Much of her childhood was spent in Knutsford, Cheshire, a town she would later immortalize as Cranford.
In 1832 she married a Unitarian minister, William Gaskell, and they settled in Manchester. The industrial surroundings offered her inspiration for her writings and it was here that she wrote both Cranford (1853) and North and South (1855), as well as the first biography of Charlotte Brontë.
Her last novel, Wives and Daughters, said by many to be her most mature work, remained unfinished at the time of her death in 1865.
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He studied law but preferred writing and in 1881 was inspired by his stepson to write Treasure Island.
Other famous adventure stories followed including Kidnapped, as well as the famous collection of poems for children, A Child's Garden of Verses. Robert Louis Stevenson is buried on the island of Samoa.
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.
Washington Irving was born in 1783 in New York City. In addition to writing fiction, Irving studied law, worked for his family's business in England and wrote essays for periodicals.
Some of his most famous tales, including Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, were first published under the pseudonym Geoffrey Crayon.
Guy de Maupassant was born in Normandy in 1850. In addition to his six novels, which include Bel-Ami (1885) and Pierre et Jean (1888), he wrote hundreds of short stories, the most famous of which is 'Boule de suif'.
By the late 1870s, he began to develop the first signs of syphilis, and in 1891 he was committed to an asylum in Paris, having tried to commit suicide. He died there two years later.
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) is one of America's greatest and best-loved writers.
Known as the father of the detective story, Poe is perhaps most famous for his short stories particularly his shrewd mysteries and chilling, often grotesque tales of horror he was also an extremely accomplished poet and a tough literary critic.
Poe's life was not far removed from the drama of his fiction. Orphaned at a young age, he was raised by a foster family. As a young man, he developed problems with gambling, debts, and alcohol, and was even dismissed from the army.
His love life was marked by tragedy and heartbreak. Despite these difficulties, Poe produced many works now considered essential to the American literary canon.
Edith Wharton (1862-1937) was a brilliant, clever American writer known for such works as The House of Mirth and Ethan Frome. She became the first woman to win a Pulitzer when she was awarded the 1921 Prize for her novel The Age of Innocence.
A member of the New York elite, Wharton funnelled her experiences into vivid portrayals and critiques of high society, while deftly exposing the painful tension between personal desires and societal norms. Wharton died in Paris in 1937 at the age of 75, having written 85 short stories, 16 novels, 11 works of nonfiction, and 3 books of poetry.
Rudyard Kipling was born in India in 1865. After intermittently moving between India and England during his early life, he settled in the latter in 1889, published his novel The Light That Failed in 1891 and married Caroline (Carrie) Balestier the following year.
They returned to her home in Brattleboro, Vermont, where Kipling wrote the two Jungle Books and Captains Courageous.
He continued to write prolifically and was the first Englishman to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907 but his later years were darkened by the death of his son John at the Battle of Loos in 1915. He died in 1936.
Charles Dickens was born in 1812 and became the most popular novelist of the Victorian era.
A prolific writer, he published more than a dozen novels in his lifetime, including Oliver Twist, Great Expectations and Hard Times, most of which have been adapted many times over for radio, stage and screen.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh in 1859 and died in 1930. Within those years was crowded a variety of activity and creative work that made him an international figure and inspired the French to give him the epithet 'the good giant'.
He was the nephew of 'Dickie Doyle' the artist, and was educated at Stonyhurst, and later studied medicine at Edinburgh University, where the methods of diagnosis of one of the professors provided the idea for the methods of deduction used by Sherlock Holmes. He set up as a doctor at Southsea and it was while waiting for patients that he began to write.
His growing success as an author enabled him to give up his practice and turn his attention to other subjects. His greatest achievement was, of course, his creation of Sherlock Holmes, who soon attained international status and constantly distracted him from his other work; at one time Conan Doyle killed him but was obliged by public protest to restore him to life.
And in his creation of Dr Watson, Holmes's companion in adventure and chronicler, Conan Doyle produced not only a perfect foil for Holmes but also one of the most famous narrators in fiction.
O. Henry (1862-1910) had a short but colourful life. Born William Porter in Greensboro, North Carolina, he initially worked as a pharmacist before moving into journalism. In 1896 he was arrested for embezzling funds while working as a bookkeeper for a bank.
In a moment of madness, he absconded on his way to the courthouse before his trial and fled to Honduras for six months. He returned to face trial after learning that his wife was dying of tuberculosis and served three years in jail. While in prison, he adopted the pen name O. Henry, and after his release he found great fame and popularity as a short story writer.
Born in Dublin, Ireland, on November 8, 1847, Bram Stoker published his first literary work, The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland, a handbook in legal administration, in 1879.
Turning to fiction later in life, Stoker published his masterpiece, Dracula, in 1897. Deemed a classic horror novel not long after its release, Dracula has continued to garner acclaim for more than a century, inspiring the creation of hundreds of film, theatrical and literary adaptations.
In addition to Dracula, Stoker published more than a dozen novels before his death in 1912.
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