Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Spell of Algernon Blackwood

Seriously, I have no idea why it has taken me so long to start reading this guy.

Algernon Blackwood was a significant influence on H.P. Lovecraft, particularly Blackwood's story "The Willows", which I read yesterday, and which HPL wrote of in "Supernatural Horror in Literature:

"Here art and restraint in narrative reach their very highest development, and an impression of lasting poignancy is produced without a single strained passage or a single false note."

Hot damn, he sure knew what he was talking about. I think the overbearing presence of nature in Blackwood's story was what sucked me in immediately, taking into account my thesis argument about Poe and Lovecraft's employment of the natural world in uncanny fiction. It's wonderfully written, lulling the reader into a false sense of security on more than one occasion and then upsetting your whole sense of equilibrium with The Creepy.

Blackwood sure had a knack for writing the weird. More than one person has now told me he was a master of the ghost story. I can already see where they're coming from. Yes, please sir, can I have some more?